It's good to have such an experienced training partner. You're fortunate and will have much to learn from him.
About stride length. This is such a personal thing and not really something you should play around with. Most people's bodies are smart enough to figure out the most economical stride length. All you need is enough mileage and your body's innate instinct will find the optimal stride for you. I have altered the stride lengths of those with unnaturally long strides. Also middle-distance runners spend some time working on their stride mechanics. For a distance guy, just go long and let your body figure it out. Don't go round counting strides per minute. Do some training in the hills and that will help to make sure you have good strong legs.
(Just as an aside, some research was done on this in the lab and they found that most people require MORE OXYGEN (ie: perform badly) if you tell them to run with a longer OR a shorter stride than the one they are used to. So accept this is your stride. It might change naturally as you run more miles, but don't fool with it).
Of course use the 10-mile run as part of your 90 mins run, and do the second session of the week as the 10k-paced running. With a long Sunday and easy running on all other days (even 45-60 mins day) that is a tough enough week. Take one day off at least every 14 days (even one off per week is ok).
So a week might look like:
Sun: Very easy run up to 2hrs or longer
Tues: 90 mins including 10 mile at 5k + 40 secs pace
Wed: Easy 45 mins
Thurs: Easy 60 mins
Fri: Warm-up, 5 x 2k at 10k pace - cool-down
Sat: Easy 45-60 mins
I do remember you, and I look forward to hearing how you do on the 10k in a few weeks.
Note: always stay fresh, don't just keep hammering in the miles in the hope it will come out on raceday. You must be "fresh" for the session you have scheduled for any particular day. If you are not, drop it and jog easy until you feel fresh again. A running schedule is not the 10 Commandments.
Like Van (above) you might want to check the morning HR. I have about 4 years of daily graphs from one female runner. She never missed a morning. Come to think of it, she is racing tomorrow morning (Sunday).
Thanks so much for you input. I do have one more little question for you and then I'll try not to bother you too much for a while. I like the way a week might look in training. That's about indentical to what I'm doing. My question is this: I run an easy 4 miler (ie 30-32 mins) 2-3 mornings a week in addition to my afternoon runs. Is it good to be doing that or should I just back off the morning runs? Thanks
Hadd, I'm really excited about the idea of running long and slow. It sounds much more appealing than more hard intervals. I can't wait to see if I have good results after a few months. I've never run with a HR monitor, but I bought one today and am going to try it out tomorrow and I'll keep in mind what you've told be about what my HR should be.
I'm very grateful that someone has told me it's okay to "retire" from the team. I thought maybe I was just being arogant by thinking that the coach doesn't know what he's doing... but it's becoming more and more apparent that it's really not a good place for me to be.
"Was that right that you run 3 x 1 mile at 5k pace minus 25 secs mile?"
Well, I guess not exactly. The coach doesn't ask that we run 5k minus 25 secs; he doesn't give us any guidence as to what speed to run and that's kind-of just what I end up running, although, oops, I guess 25 seconds was exagerating a little. I run like: 6:00, 6:05, 6:15 (and after this I can barely run a mile cool down)and my 5k pace is about 6:25 (on xc courses). I've only run a total of 5 races though, so I'm not sure that my race time couldn't be better If I wasn't so beat up from practice.
Maybe after I build a base I'll be able to run xc next fall and not be really slow. :) I think I'll enjoy running much more after I'm off the "team".
Thanks for your help! You really have helped me sort things out.
Hadd this is the best thread going here on LetsRun, thanks again. I am 41 with a 202 max HR & a 38-44 resting HR. Two years ago I averaged about 190-191 in a 10K road race. Hope the information is helpful. In my past life, like 16 years ago, I ran 31:40 for 10K off of 6min/miles & an average, get this 32 miles average over 71 weeks with a high week of 65. The highest I ever ran was 76 miles in a week, ever, & the highest average over 13 weeks was 60 miles/week, in which I ran a 1:11:07 1/2 marathon. All of my running was fast & faster, 6 minute miles every day were the norm & it felt great. Hadd I am beat up now from the training or my age, BUT I want it back for at least another great season. How do I do it? Run at, let me guess, 153BpM what ever the pace & come back to talk to you in 4-6 months right? I have noticed that when I wear the damn HRM that my HR creeps up kinda after running what I thought was a easy pace. The other day I ran 8:04/mile for 5 miles & averaged between 165 & 172. Another run on the same 5 miler I ran 7:35/mile & averaged between 170-180. It just kills me that I used to feel like I was walking at 6min/mile pace now 8 minute pace feels the same, a real bummer. Am I running too fast, ya? Help me out if you are willing, & Thanks again.
lame & slow runner.
Some people find a short easy jog in the morning makes their legs "fresher" for the afternoon session, so you can try one of two things.
1. Do the dead easy 4-miler only on Tues and Fri (when you have more serious running that night)
2. Do the dead easy 4-miler on the easy days ONLY to help you recover.
At all times just keep them easy. If they ever become a chore, drop them. The overall week is good enough to help you to improve without them, but more EASY mileage is always a good thing.
Some other points to bear in mind.
1. If you go longer than 2hrs on a Sunday, either drop the following Tues hard, or push it back to Wed to get more time to reload the tank after the extra long run. You might make Tues and Fri into Wed and Sat that week. Or just skip the Tues hard and just substitute an easy run and go hard again on Fri.
2. Don't be afraid to break the Tues 10 mile run up into blocks of 20-30 mins with 2-3 mins jogging in between. To be quite honest, this pace should feel slightly more difficult than you are finding it, suggesting there is much more to come. Check the HR on this run, it should not really be climbing after 20 mins or so. You don't mention HR's, but you really don't want to see higher than 175 (if you have a max of 190+), or 165 if your max is more 185+. Try and not run by pace, but by effort. And the effort should not be climbing on this run.
3. In the week before your 10k race, have a mini taper. Do not run longer than 75-90 mins easy on the Sunday before, cut the Tues down to 8 x 400m @ 10k pace per mile minus 20 secs/mile (ie: 5.50m/m for a 6.10m/m 10k pace) with a 200m jog recovery. Jog 60 mins Wed. Thurs jog only 45 mins with 5 x 100m easy strides with 1 min easy jog recovery, and only 30 mins jog Fri or even day off.
Saturday race 10k. Have a satisfying performance.
Glad to hear you are getting motivated to train properly and looking more long-term. You have done well just to recognise intuitively (with little running experience) that something was not good for you and to start looking round for help and advice.
Put all thought of paces per mile, and races out of your mind and just settle down and do good work for some months. If you do it properly, in time the results will take care of themselves.
Remember, don't get too caught up in HR's. Don't be a slave to the monitor. It must feel dead easy, that it is very little effort to run. If you find it becoming tough, or "work", just slow down. If it's a chore, take a day off.
After a while, leave the HRm at home, by then you should know what "easy" feels like. Try and wean yourself off it eventually and just go on your body's feedback. Learn to listen and read the signals... they are all there.
Build up over time till a 90 mins run is "peanuts". Easy to do and not something to dread on the schedule. So easy that if I met you after 90 mins and told you to go another 30 mins you would have no problems continuing (and not be making rude signs at me !).
Talking of peanuts (and I'm going to be a bad name here soon, mentioning them so often), do nibble some nuts during the day. Great energy for long distance runners. Also some butter and maybe a bit of cream. Don't be thinking carbohydrates all the time. We need more fat than you think, and the good oils (olive oil etc) are not enough on their own.
Enjoy your training. Don't be shy to ask new questions as they crop up.
Hi Lame Runner,
The young "you" is a prime example of how most HS and college runners on here train. You should now understand that your weekly average was so low, because there was no way you could add in any more fast miles and still survive. I could relate a number of stories of guys just like you.
So, what to do? Well, as you can see, there is no way to go back to that kind of training. Now it's long and steady mileage and top it up with a modicum of hills and speedwork.
I always believe each run should be enjoyable and not a chore (having said that I have run up to a max of 137 mpw and don't recall "whistling a song" on too many of those runs). But miles and miles of sluggish training will damage anyone's motivation.
So, with you, let's do this:
A HR of 170+ is too hard (even though it is do-able). So just run at a max of steady 160 HR. As you can read in these (far too many) posts of mine, try and build up to alternating days of 90 mins and 60 mins. Take some weeks to do this and don't jump into it. Even build a Sunday up to 2 hrs+.
Now this pace at 160 HR should become fast(er) pretty quickly. When it does, drop the daily average HR to 155 and continue at 155... when THAT pace improves, drop the daily average to 150 and continue at 150. By then you should be running at 150 HR at the same speed that used to require 160 HR. So, do NOT keep hammering away at 160 HR all the time.
Now, once or twice per week, when you are have built up to where the 150-155 HR runs are at a reasonable pace, add in one or two runs per week at 160-165 HR. These might be in the form of 2 x 30 mins at 165 HR (one evening) and 60 mins straight at 160 HR another evening.
At all times control the effort and do not let the HR climb after the first 20 mins or so (meaning: after it has stabilised). The weather is pretty cool now, most places, and you should not have to contend with baking heat and high sweat rates.
So, run easy, run long, and 170 and 180 HR's are too high. In 3 months you should be a much improved runner. See you then.
In time you will get back to the fast and faster, but, as you should understand reading all these posts, the EFFORT (in terms of aerobic/anaerobic mix) required to run at those paces will be different than it used to be.
"the good oils (olive oil etc) are not enough on their own."
Really? Why is this the case? I'd happily eat more butter, but I didn't realize that it helped me with energy replacement more than olive oil does.
We may have to get Weldon and Robert to re-name this site as JK-HADD.com !
OK, old HRM was stone dead, so ordered a refundable semi-cheap one thru RRS. So today, going by feel and inviting two friends slow enough to hold me back to way past easy for first 1:40, went for long run. Clocked most miles at 7:45. Surprisingly, although easier on the breathing, it was almost awkwardly stiffening on the legs. Normal adjustment? After dropping them off, I ran 35 more minutes, joined by my 6th grade son on his bike at a little quicker pace. A bit longer than I had planned with a Thanksgiving fiver coming up Thursday, but I'm betting I will feel much more fresh tomorrow than I usually do after Sunday hammerfests.
If your athletes took Sat off before a long run (like myself this time), would you have them come back with a 60 and 45 or a 45 and 45 for Monday? This, of course, is assuming they are at 100 or so per week.
Thanks for an excellent thread...seems like there ought to be an archive for threads like this.
I coach kids from 11 - 18 years old and am wondering how you might adjust your advice for kids whose growth plates are still open and who are primarily "training" for events from 800m to 3200m.
Also, I am completely on board with the philosophy that to run well you must run; however, what is your philosophy towards stretching, mobility drills, plyrometrics, weight lifting, etc. for those who are young or only have time to train once per day?
just got back from my run of one hour @ 146-160HR per your suggestion, in 9:23/mile, wow. Don't laugh at how slow this is, how have I slipped this far? Getting old, injury prone & fat sucks. What happened to my ability to pound out the runs between 6:30 & 6-min/miles? It worked before, why won't it work now, why can't I absorb the training like I used to? Any answers?
I am going to stick with your advice & see what comes from this. I have no other choice. Thanks again from the Older, lamer & slower running project.
Excellent information Hadd (even more impressive is the manner in which you have posted it--clear and without ego)!
To lame and slow runner:
You might consider getting a ferritin test. Iron deficiency is highly prevalent among female runners and more prevalent among male runners than most would think.
Peanuts okay, but " butter and maybe a bit of cream" lol that was an unexpected bit of advice! I haven't touched either of those items in, well, ever. I thought they were definite "bad foods", destined only to clog arteries. Do people really need those sort-of fats?
My run went great today. I was only going to go 45min, but I felt fine so I ended up going 60min. 150-155 HR, 8:20/mile. No problems, felt surprisingly good.
Only question: How is heart rate affected by warm weather? I live in the sub-tropics (regretfully)and it was 83 and sunny when I was out running today. Does this elevate HR?
I second the Hadd.com suggestion. Hadd's posts are definitely the best thing on this website. I made all my equally training-ignorant running friends read this thread. Everyone liked the advice. We may have a cult of Hadd followers soon. So Hadd, know your posts are reaching and helping many people :)
I will let you know how I do on my 10K.
I have a question about long runs during the summer. I live in New Orleans, which is unbelievably hot and humid through the summer (usual morning temp is 80 with a dewpoint of 75). I'd like to run a decent 90 minutes, but it's impossible to do both length and quality. Should I:
1. Aim for 90 minutes slow
2. Try to get 60 minutes at a decent pace
3. Do two 45-minute runs
Thanks for any assistance
if I was to guess I would say NO your way off. Here is why, I've had blood work done in the past couple years showing hematocrits of 50.1(high) & 51.6(high) both scores would probably be flagged for EPO use don't you think? Also my hemoglobin readings were 17.3(high) & 17.2(high). My iron levels were 228(high) & 96(normal). No, I believe that I got a lot out of my body when I was younger off just pounding out hour runs & now I am an older, beat-up, lame and slow. I guess now If I want to run like I did when I was younger I have to back fill my aerobic capacity before I can go back to all of the hard LT/tempo runs I did before that my body seemed to thrive on before age 28. Funny thing I just ran hard back 15-20 years ago we never called it TEMPO, I guess that's just good marketing.
Appreciate the effort your putting into your responses. Some of your comments have me concerned about my easy runs. I am currently in a base building phase, I am 42 with a HRMax of around 182-184.
I'm running easy runs from 1.5 to 2.5 hours at a HR of 135-140 and the rate is staying the same right to the end of the run at a consistent pace. I'm feeling good after the runs and can happily run the next day without signs of fatigue.
But you say that you have a couple of older runners who are running their easy runs at 120-125. I'm wondering if I should be trying to drop the HR/pace?
Again, your time to respond is much appreciated.
Concerning butter/peanuts and saturated fats, there is a bit of a story. Let me keep it short.
When I was just beginning to study sport science, I was very fortunate to spend over a year in the company of some sport scientists from Eastern Europe. This was in the days just post-Perestroika. We had talks on many subjects (within language limitations), and one that came up was how they scoffed at the West's advice to almost completely reduce saturated fats in the diet. I often went to their lodgings and the table was rich with salad creams, creamy butter (on bread, on potatoes, on anything) and full fat cream desserts. I enjoyed these immensely and listened a lot.
Although doing high mileage at the time, I occasionally suffered on extra (2hr +) long runs at the end of a tough week. I would "bonk", hitting a mini wall. One particular long run was on the early Sunday morning after a Saturday night at my science friends' for dinner. It was effortless, and my wife and I went over it later with the bike. We knew we had run 3hrs, and calculated we had passed the full marathon somewhere around 2.50. We had talked the whole way.
I began experimenting and found that 50gms of peanuts (chewed until "milk" before swallowing) had a similar effect on me. As I moved into coaching I discovered that many men had a similar problem, although women less so. I soon got them onto the Saturday peanut routine (everybody eats them, some people are funny about eating butter). Soon, as well as having more endurance (being able to go further) a few of them began to notice a drop in aches and pains...
Now, I always like to know the WHY of a thing. Why does this work? Because I live in the home of olive oil. It is on just about every meal. And this particular Mediterranean diet is praised worldwide as one of the most healthy on the planet. Why did the peanuts work when the olive oil did not? As an aside, science always works like this for me: Have a problem. Find a solution. Figure out why the solution worked.
So, here are just a couple of pertinent papers from the research I have read over the intervening years.
Researchers at Univ of Buffalo, New York put runners on a low fat (16%) and medium fat (31%) diet. They also put other runners on a high fat (44% diet). All for 4 weeks.
Results: runners on the low fat diet ate 19% fewer calories than those on the other diets (did not wish to eat more). Body weight, body fat percent, VO2max and anaerobic power were not affected by level of dietary fat. (nobody got fatter or less fit).
Now the good stuff: endurance time increased from the low fat to medium fat diet by 14%. Those on the high fat diet even had reduced lactate levels (39%) after an endurance run (suggesting they had been relying more on burning fat in their aerobic system). Conclusion: runners on a low-fat diet consume fewer calories and have reduced endurance performance than on a medium or high fat diet.
(Full story here for those interested:
J Am Coll Nutr 2000 Feb;19(1):52-60
The effects of varying dietary fat on performance and metabolism in trained male and female runners.
Horvath PJ, Eagen CK, Fisher NM, Leddy JJ, Pendergast DR.
Department of Physical Therapy, University at Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.)
Now we have proved this over a number of years to our own satisfaction with my wife (2.36 marathoner). She runs best on a 30%+ fat diet. And loves almonds and peanuts.
But what about butter? Many of you will grab a handful of waistline fat and believe that you have enough already thanks, and don't need to eat more to run long. Wrong. For best energy, you want that fat stored in the muscle cells or available in the bloodstream. Think of it like a millionaire walking into a shop to buy something and finding no money in his pocket. No good telling the shopowner how much he has in the bank, he is unable to use it at this exact moment. The shopowner wants to see the money RIGHT NOW in his hand. Adipose fat (the stuff round your waistline) is not easy to access and use for running.
Another study in Louisiana State University found that after a 2-hr treadmill run (where DID they find rthe runners who volunteered for that?) the intramyocellular fat stores in women were replaced within 22hrs by a 35% fat diet. But were NOT replaced, even after 70hrs by a 10% fat diet. (so a longish run even 3 days later is gonna be tough). The fat stores had fallen by 25% during the 2-hr run.
But why butter and not vegetable oil?
Scientists in Paris, France fed Zucker rats a 30% fat diet over 11 weeks, with the fats coming from either soybean oil or butter (2 groups). Each group was further subdivided into obese and lean rats. So there were now 2 groups (1 fat, 1 skinny) being fed 30% butter, and another similar 2 groups being fed 30% soybean oil.
Body weight increased in fat (obese) rats and decreased in lean rats after butter feeding. BUT, the body weight gain in obese rats was due mainly to an increase of lean tissue. Body fat did not change. Resting metabolic (energy use) rate and the amount of fat burned after eating rose in obese rats. So if they ATE more, they BURNED more. The researchers concluded that this stopped the rats increasing fat accumulation in the long term. In the lean rats, butter feeding favoured (increased) fat burning by working muscles. They conclude by stating that this is an observation that deserves further investigation in terms of endurance and performance.
(Full story here for those interested:
Am J Clin Nutr 2002 Jan;75(1):21-30
Body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism in lean and obese Zucker rats fed soybean oil or butter.
Rolland V, Roseau S, Fromentin G, Nicolaidis S, Tome D, Even PC.
Laboratoire de Neurobiologie des Regulations, CNRS, Paris, France.)
Another recent thread on here was about one guy who "bonked" on a 17-miler. I told him to get on the peanuts, while others chimed in with suggestions of ice-cream which they had found important during their long mileage days.
A long post, but the short answer is don't go nuts (little pun, there. Lighten things up a bit), but do add in some butter, some almonds or peanuts, to your diet, even the odd ice-cream, especially before the long runs. Ahh, the simple pleasures of being a distance runner.
Last point for middle-distance runner: anaerobic power was not compromised by a medium fat diet. Meaning it won't stop you running or training fast.
Let me try and answer your recent queries briefly:
Yes, many runners find some stiffness when they begin to run slow. Your muscles are not used to creating energy this way and can take a week or two to adjust. Same with tendons and ligaments, not used to this movement pattern. I wouldn't worry. A Monday after a long Sunday can be 45 and 60, or just one easy 60 min run on Mon evening. You're not trying to hammer in more good stuff, just to recover to be able to run well again on the Tues.
I would not "coach" an 11-year old. I would just organise some energetic games, or do some kind of orienteering thing in the countryside (the thinking and searching cause them to pause every now and then). Young kids can have crazy high HR's, and do not build high lactate because their anaerobic systems are not fully developed, but that does not mean they can be pushed hard all the time. But I would encourage them to do some running below 170... maybe under 175 HR for the 15-year olds (this'll feel very easy to them) and I would not bother with HRM's for those younger. But always try and make it interesting. It requires more input from the coach than coaching adults. Kids will not appreciate long slow mileage. I have coached 15-year olds and up. I have about six at present between 15-18 years of age.
Concerning your points: Stretching, a little not much. Mobility drills, yes I believe in good form but keeping it relaxed and not anal?there is no "perfect" way to run. Plyometrics/jumping, no, but we do run aerobically in the hills. Weightlifting never, but we do some exercises with strong rubber bands.
You hematocrit and Hb readings suggest you have a low blood volume (not enough of the stuff and it's too thick), and you may even be slightly dehydrated on a semi-permanent basis. This would account for your high HR when running (your heart has to work like crazy to keep that stuff moving and get it where it's needed, cause there isn't enough of it). Training will increase the blood volume to some extent, but do try and drink more water (even 3-4 litres a day) and salt your food to retain the liquid. Be careful you are not too much of a caffeine drinker (in coffee or soft drinks) which would tend to make you urinate often. There are even some HydraFuel drinks from TwinLab (and other brands) you might want to consider, although I have never tried them. Try these suggestions, if no better in a week, contact me again. Be careful if you are running in warm weather and sweat a lot (not a BIG worry, but do drink on the run).
Always good to hear from a happy runner. Of course there is no need to eat butter and cream, but no need to religiously avoid it, either. (read the long post above on different fats). HR will obviously rise in warm weather (some of your blood gets diverted to the skin to try and get rid of some of the heat by sweating, also as you sweat too much, your blood volume drops meaning your heart has to pump more often). For all these reasons, race performances in hot and humid places are never as fast as in cool northern temperatures. So bear this in mind when you compare your own performances (in the sub-tropics) to someone in the north. You too would run faster there.
So 155 HR in hot weather will be a slower running pace than in cool weather. So, it may "creep" up a bit on the run. Allow this to a small extent. If the run is meant to be 155 for one hour, it is okay if it creeps up slowly to 160-162 (not higher) by the end (always assuming you still feel comfortable and able to talk ok).
Glad your friends are getting value out of this advice too. Gives you some company on your runs. Say "Hi" from me.
Let me just slightly correct one thing: long does not also have to be fast. It can be as slow as molasses. See some posts from Jason about the slow "speed" of top Japanese marathon runners. If you read this whole thread (a daunting prospect, I admit), then I explain exactly why this works. So, 90 mins can be slow, easy and talkative, and the decent pace run on another day can be broken up into blocks (like 3 x 20 mins at 10k-pace plus 60 secs mile: ie 7.00m/m for a guy who runs 10k at 6.00m/m pace). Jog a few mins in between. I have run in southern Georgia, and south east Asia, so I know what you mean.
My apologies if I caused you some concern. Everybody is an experiment of one, and you seem to be doing very well. Perhaps you could just drop the HR to drop 5bpm (130-135) on the longer runs. The guys I mentioned may never see 184 again. Maybe 178-180 only. These are only guidelines after all. The 120-125-130 works for them. Good luck with the training.
Whew! I must contact Weldon and get him to encourage JK to start posting again. And if anyone else with knowledge/experience would like to chip in some replies to the questions raised here, please be my guest.
Wow! Usually the morning after long runs (or most days period!) I wake up feeling beat up, groggy, and stiff. Today, after the grandma-easy 2:15 yesterday, I felt fresh and 70 minutes easy (with a bit of uptempo pace in middle) felt like a lark. I think I'm sold. HRM arrives tomorrow, so I'll get some readings.
I, too, would be curious to hear from JK, especially in regards to where upper-end aerobic work would fit in here. Many might recall Robert worried that Weldon was going too slowly during some of his runs a few seasons back...