To Hadd (or others with good input):
Hadd, I completely read the thread with the above title, and would like to follow the recommendations in it (cut back intensity and form an aerobic base). But I'm a newbie and still in that improving-rapidly-with-every-race stage. I feel that I might stop or slow this rapid improvement if I stop doing my once-a-week intervals. Although my times are not even close to bragable, I'd like to see where they bottom out. Basically, I've improved my 5k times by 2 minutes (from 23.30 to 21.30) in less than two months. Should I cut the intervals? Details below:
Male, 32 years. Quit smoking Jan 2002 and started trying to run. Struggled with shin splints for 8 months(!) until I decided to change my footstrike from heel-ball to ball-heel. After my poor calves adjusted to this the shin problem went away and I could start training. Training consisted of intervals (6x800 or 5x1000 @5k pace w/1:30 walking rest) once a week and the rest of the running slow (5k+2.00) My volume went from about 10mpw the 2 weeks before my first (23.30) 5k to about 25mpw for the 2 weeks before my most recent (21.30) one. Typical week was TUE-5x1000, WED-4mi, THU-6mi, SAT-4mi, SUN-8mi. No injuries, but sometimes sore for a day or two after the intervals. Resting HR is 46 (measured when waking). MaxHR is ?? - I got a reading of 177bpm in the 3rd K of my last race (watch malfunctioned at the finish), so I assume max is about 183? I've pegged my long runs to a 155bpm HR, and progression in pace has been: 12/15/02-9.50, 12/22/02-9.10, 1/12/03-8.50 (and hasn't moved from there).
My short-term goals are a 10K in 3 months, and my long term goals are a maraton in 14 months. I need a plan.
Thanks for any insight.
To Hadd (or others with good input):
just my advice- but dump the heart-rate monitor. I've found for myself at least that not only are they a pain in the ass to wear- but the readings can be inncacurate and misleading. If the weather is off, you may be working too hard for a certain heart rate, and this works the other way around too.
run by feel! Feel good? push the pace a little. Tired and weak? keep it easy and slow.
Keep up a weekly long run.
I disagree. An HR monitor is an excellent tool for a runner who does not have a large volume of experience to base feel on. The workout plan looks very sensible for where he's coming from. The plan does give some exposure to speed work while primarily allowing a steady increase in volume and aerobic base building. Keep up the good work!
An HRM is a very valuable tool as long as you understand what it is capable of telling you.
With your aims to run both 10k and marathon, you need to bump up the weekly mileage. For your first marathon, you should be aiming to run 70-90mpw in the last 3 months leading up to the race.
For now, don't measure all your runs in miles (of course you can estimate them, for diary purposes), but think in terms of time spent running:
You might aim to reach this level in the next month or so.
Sun: 75 mins easy
Tue: 5 x 1,000m
Wed: 45 mins easy
Thu: 60 mins
Fri: 45 mins easy
Sat: 60 mins
and here, in 3 months:
Sun: 1hr 45 mins easy
Tue: 75 mins
Wed: 45 mins easy
Thu: 60 mins easy
Fri: 75 mins
Sat 60 mins easy
They key to your build-up is pace/effort. If you have an HRmax of 183Â±, then your eventual marathon race effort will be around 165-168. Obviously, at the moment, the pace at that HR would be far too slow. So you must work at the HR's BELOW 165 to improve the running pace at each of them. For example: you give the pace at 155HR as 8.50m/m. In time, I would expect you to be able to run that pace with 130-135 HR, and by then 155 HR will be at least one minute per mile faster (maybe more). But only if you do this right.
So, 155 HR is actually quite high for you. And you are not yet running for long enough time to see a good improvement. Follow the time examples I have given: try and keep the HR at lower than 150 on the flat (allow it to climb on uphills, but bring it back down once you are on flat ground again). You are trying to run somewhere around 140-145-150. At first this might seems deathly slow, but just put in the time and the results will come. In Week A, you can run at 155 HR on Thurs and Sat.
The pace only feels slow at first because your legs cannot "grab" all the oxygen your heart is sending them. These easy paces and long distances will cause your leg muscles to improve, but it will take time (like growing your hair). Look for a slight change in 3 weeks, and a significant change in 6 weeks. You cannot rush this.
Ask any questions about this for now if you are not clear about some things, but really, just get out and do the work. Remember, you are always trying to push the HR DOWN. Trying to run the same pace with a lower and lower HR. So, when 145 HR becomes a reasonable pace (and it will), drop some days down to running at 140.
i think u need at least 2-3 years b4 u run ur 1st quality marathon
Thanks Hadd (and everybody else).
I will slow down and work on longer. I'll check back in a couple of months with what happened.
I noticed in the sample weeks you posted there is a day off. Do you feel it is necessary to take a day off a week and if so should it be the day after one does there long run? Would it be better to run 90-100 miles in 7 days, or 80-90 miles in 6 days?
A number of ways to answer your question:
All top runners (actually, anybody with smarts) will tell you that the most important thing in training is consistency. You cannot afford breaks due to injury or illness if you are going to reach your best. It's a snakes and ladders thing. So, you must dial/program some recovery time into your training, since it is every bit as important (in its own way) as the actual mileage.
Joe, up top, is a relative beginner, so this applies even more to him.
If you cannot get fit on six days a week training, you are not going to get fit on seven. There is no magic that happens only on the seventh day of the week. In the same vein, if you cannot get fit (show some evidence of talent, see the Viren thread for an example) on 70-80mpw, you are not magically going to develop some on 120mpw. Very high mileage might bring it out your talent MORE, but it better be there at lower mileage.
Moral: always maximise your ability at lower mileage before going higher and higher (just as the really top guys usually maximise their ability at 10k before opting for the marathon).
Paula Radcliffe takes (I think I read) every 8th day off. On the premise that she seems to know what she's doing...
I am a 35 year old male and I have been running for two years. Recently I have done two races 8k (29:07) and 10mile (1:03:12). I believe my 10 mile time should be faster and I don't have the endurance to do so. I run between 50-60 mpw right now and I have tried some of your prescribed workouts; 10 mile @ 5k+60 (which is 6:40 for me), this I have finished but it is tough. My long runs are between 1:45 and 2 hrs @ about 7:30-7:40. What do you suggest I do to increase my LT?
Just wondering if you could comment on my above question.
Sorry, must have missed you first time around.
Your 10m time is always going to be around 18-20 secs per mile slower than your 5m time (assuming similar terrain). Maybe a bit closer if you are really a long-distance dude. So, based on your 29.07/8km (5.51m/m), you should expect to be able to run (always approx) 61.50 for 10m. So, you are not a million miles away with 63.12.
Your long run pace of 7.30-7.40 seems in the right place (could maybe be a bit slower), but you give no further information about the rest of the week. Also, you give no indication of what 7.30 pace "costs" you. (Like saying that your HRmax is 177, and your long run of 7.30m/m is done at 130 HR. Such information would let me know more how to help).
It's possible that your long runs (and the other runs of the week) are not as "easy" as they should be.
Endurance comes from the legs, not from working at medium-high HR's. So you must always be careful to go slow enough (and long enough) that they are able to adapt properly. Pushing the pace in 5-milers and 6-milers, while fun, will not do much for your long term endurance ability.
5k+60 is actually quite a tough pace, and I am not surprised that you found a straight 10 miles at that pace to be a hard workout. This is yet more evidence that you are right when you say your endurance is not as it should be.
Tell me a little bit more about the rest of your week (including paces) and I will see if I can offer some advice.
Thanks for responding to my question. My max HR is 183 and my RHR is 46.
Here is what I did last week:
Mon - 8 miles (avg 7:40), this is my normal pace and it feels easy
Tues - 10 miles (avg 6:40), made it through the workout, was not labouring that much at end, alittle more difficult than should be
Wed - 7.5 miles (avg 7:40)
Thurs - off
Fri - 9 miles with 7 x 1:30 hard / 3:30 medium (hard @ 6:00m/m, easy @ 7:20 m/m)
Sat - 9.5 (avg 7:25), felt okay probably too fast though
Sun - 2 hours + 6 min run (avg 7:30), legs were hurting towards end of run, took along time to feel better after run
Right now I do not have a HR monitor to gauge my HR, I just run by feel. I hope this can help you to guide me in the right direction for training. Right now I am kind of lost. My main race distance's are 5k - 10k.
I tried a workout today and just wanted your opinion on it. It was an 8 mile run (avg. 6:40 m/m), but I went out slower and got faster throughtout, i.e. 1st mile - 7:16, last mile - 6:26. This felt alot better than trying to run 6:40 for every mile. Is this a good workout for me to increase my stamina? Please respond.
I haven't forgotten you, just was away for a couple of days. Thanks for bumping this, but I would have gone back and looked for the thread anyway.
First up, thanks for the info. It looks just like the training of many guys out there. You appear to have pushed the pace of each day up to where it is just about as fast as you can go that day, and still get the whole week's training done.
If you came to me for training, I would start right from the very beginning. You see, it's not a case of "I did the workout at the right pace (like, 10miles at 5k+60) so it must have been right for me..." but I did the workout at the right EFFORT level. It was never the point that you had to just survive the 5k+60, but that when you do it, it is not hard and you could go round again (although you don't).
I tend to guard against runners doing their sessions too hard (at first) by requesting they wear a HRM. I then know the intensities they should be working at. So while you have (helpfully) given me your normal training paces, I do not know the efforts involved in doing them. Up front they do seem a little hard (for you). I would have expected paces more like 7.50-8.00 (especially for the long run), while yours are more 7.25-7.40. I am confident that your "easy" runs are not as easy as they should be for you to improve.
Can you not borrow a HRM for one of your normal easy runs, and get an idea of what kind of pulse is involved? I am suspecting something like 150+, which is too high for daily training for you. Based on your HRmax, I would expect you to be running around 135-145 on your easy days, and never over 165 at any time of the week.
Note that to improve the aerobic ability of your legs, it is not necessary to run hard, or even medium hard. Easy is fine. In fact "easy" is best in your case. I recall reading a paper once in which they had taken the lactate of a number of normal runners after their normal daily runs. They found an average lactate of 4mM on what was meant to be any easy run. This will not mean much to you, but it showed (the authors concluded; and I cannot remember the reference of the paper) that most average runners were pushing the pace of these runs right up till just before the "uncomfortable" level. National-class and international-class runners would never dream of training at this intensely on a "normal" run. They would run MUCH easier.
So, I suspect this is what you have done here. You have found you can run these runs at this effort level and still get the whole week done (despite any aches, pains, etc associated with them?which you think is expected). But in actual fact, this overall intensity is too much/too hard/too often to cause optimal adaptation in your leg muscles over time.
1. Prove this to yourself by borrowing a HRM and doing a normal 8 mile run at 7.40. I expect you'll see the HR climb throughout the whole run to 150++ (instead of 135-145 as I advise). Within reason, you do not want to see your HR climb on an easy run. The HR after (say) 15 mins and at the end should be within approx 5 beats of each other (assuming flat terrain, no rise in ambient temp, no crazy dehydration, etc). If you cannot borrow an HRM, take yr pulse at your neck for 10 secs (multiply by 6) immediately on stopping.
2. Slow all easy runs down to 8.00m/m for six weeks. If they begin to feel too easy, do more miles, but don't increase the pace.
3. Drop the 10m at 6.40 as being too "hard" for you at this time. Substitute it with 60 mins at 7.20m/m (preferably 150-155HR) once per week.
I'm not happy with this, so let me come back to it and see if I can explain the background to my advice to "oasis" a bit better. It seems all I am telling him to do is slow down, and this might seem paradoxical since the whole point of training is to race faster. Fortunately, I have a similar case here I can use as an example.
(Aside: this is where offering coaching advice on a board falls down. You cannot encapsulate a training program into 200 words, and the guy goes off and does it with no other contact. So I offer this, and any other, advice on here with that in mind. I know how difficult it will be to put into practise without continuous input. There is no substitute for regular contact with a coach. And no, I am not angling for a job. I don't believe online coaching works without tremendous input from both sides. To do it well seems more difficult than coaching face to face. My advice to anybody, find a knowledgeable experienced friend/running partner/coach near home. It's okay to get 5% advice on here, maybe checking/confirming something someone else is telling you, but no board should ever be your only source of running/coaching advice.)
Anyway, I was approached two weeks ago by a 37-year old male who has a 1.25 half marathon PR after 3 years in the sport. Had played football until late 20s and then stopped all sport. Got motivated to start by buddies at work and here he was. Within two years he got a 1.25, but everything he had done since then was doing nothing for him, couldn't improve any more. Even his 10k times had stalled. He came to me, brought me his diaries and was convinced I was going to make him train "harder" (and so help him improve).
First day of training I made him run slower. A female 1.29 HM runner I coach was running at her M+20 pace. I got Nando to join her, just calling out his HR as they came round (this was done on the track, so I can observe them). While hers stayed steady at 155Â±, his began to climb to 165+. After 20 laps, I got him to jog a bit and then come talk to me. He was full of questions.
He would expect to beat the female by four minutes in a race, why was he running her pace? Wasn't this pace too slow? Shouldn't he be running faster than race pace? What about 400s and 600s? (He liked those sessions).
I got him to join her for another 20 laps, and at the end, it was obvious he was suffering a lot more than she was. To prove it to him, I also lactate tested both of them at the finish; her lactate was 1.8mM and his was over 4.0mM. His final HR was 172, while hers never climbed over 160. (Both have HRmaxes of 185-188).
So, over the next few sessions, I spent some time explaining to him what happens when we run. I was able to explain to him why she was "more comfortable" than him at M+20 (see lower HR and lower lactate), despite the fact that he could beat her in a race. I was able to explain that he was able to beat her in a race not because he was better trained, but that he was better endowed genetically. I also showed him that if he was as well trained as her, he would race much faster.
I explained that his HR was climbing because his legs were not as efficient as hers at "grabbing" the oxygen that was coming by in the bloodstream. So his heart had to pump more. That as his muscle fibres "tired", he had to recruit other, less well-trained fibres, which were even less capable of "grabbing oxygen", so the HR climbed even more.
That his lactate was higher showed that he was using a higher percentage of glycogen than she was (meaning he could not run as far as she at that pace), and that he was not breaking the glycogen down into energy aerobically. In short, his aerobic system was not well-trained.
This was a shock to him. He thought I was going to train him harder, not slower. Up till these last two weeks, he had been a disciple of the "no pain, no gain" school of training. I told him that while that had got him to his current level in a (relatively) short period of time, such training methods had pretty much maxed for him. To improve, he was simply going to have to train "better". More wisely.
I did give him some encouragement. The poorer he was now, the more potential he had to improve. In those two weeks, he spent some time warming up and cooling down with some of the other guys I coach, and seems to be happy. He is now getting down to training without a quibble. The first thing I did was make him run even slower than M+20; for now that's too hard. I have explained to him that we need to start from the ground up.
Thanks for your reply Hadd,
Your advice is great and I can really relate to the person you gave as an example. I sort of reached a level in races and actually got worse. Last July I did a 5k in 17.24, then in Sept did one in 17.55. Between these two races my training consisted of what I do now (pace of run's), tempo run's (way too hard, sometimes felt like a race) and intervals. I guess I felt like the way to improve was to work very hard. I felt that my easy run's were easy but the effort level must have been too hard (is this right?). I have used a HR monitor in the past but found them very inconistent, i.e. one day run 8 miles at 135 - 140 (7.45m/m), next day run 8 miles at 7.45m/m and HR 150. So I kind of gave up on it. Could you comment on the difference between a HR monitor and taking you HR yourself (15 sec x 4)?
I went for a run today (on treadmill, 1% incline, because the weather where I live was horrible today) and ran easier than I normally do. I decided to do this rather than test my existing easy run pace like you suggested. I took your advice and relized that my easy run's are too hard so no need to test that. I started out at 8.36m/m for 15 min. Took pulse and it was 104. I then ran for 60 min at 8.06m/m. Took pulse after 30 min, was 128 and at end, was 132. The treadmill had a HR monitor built in and I also checked it myself (counted 15 sec x 4). The run felt good but not real easy as a thought. I sometimes find it more difficult to run on a treadmill than outside. I will work on your advice for the next 6 weeks and than contact you. If you could please comment on my above run just to make sure I am at the right effort level.
Thanks for your help
Good. I am glad my concerns got thru and that you were able to pick up and relate to what I was trying to say.
Really, there is little difference between an HRM and taking your own pulse (15 x 4). It's just that some people (you included?) don't "believe" the HRM sometimes (usually when it is telling them something they don't want to know?like their HR is too high). It's hard to doubt your HR when you are taking it directly yourself. Of course, it is going to slow down real quick, so you need to get good and accurate at taking it. You seem to be doing well.
Your treadmill run was the right thing to do. And the "effort" level of 130Â± was spot on. Continue to do all easy runs at that HR for six weeks and then get back to me.
As you noted, you cannot go on perceptions (yet). You were classifying your runs as "easy" when they were anything but that to your heart. That's why you have to get the real objective data (the HR numbers) and not go on your subjective perceptions of what is happening.
Well done. Keep up the good work and let me know how it's going in six weeks.
Thanks again for taking the time to write your very, very useful commentary on this board.
So far you've answered individual questions that pertain to those who asked them. With this post, I'd like to ask you a few general questions that will give the majority of the runners on this board something to hold on to, something that they can use for themselves, as opposed to reading your previous answers to other people's questions and trying to figure out how they pertain to their running condition.
You're talking about developing the runner's aerobic system. As far as I understand, a runner starts at running at a certain effort level. Is it fair to say that this is 65%-75% of HR Max? Next, in a few months, after increasing the mileage, but not the effort level, the runner's leg muscles become more efficient at using oxygen, and he/she can run the same distance with a lower HR. My question is, Should the runner then, after becoming more efficient and dropping his exercise HR, increase the effort level to the starting HR? What I mean is, let's assume the runner was doing all initial running during the beginning weeks at 135 beats per minute, and now, a few months later, his HR during exercise was 125. Should he/she go back to 135 again? Is this process repeated again and again until the runner can run at the same starting HR (say 135 bpm), but at a much faster speed (so although this is still easy running, the pace is fast)?
And how lond will it take before introducing some anaerobic exercises? Can they hurt the development of the aerobic system? And finally, in general terms, what's the effort level for anaerobic exercises?
Hadd, thanks again for helping us become better runners. I hope you'll have the time to answer my questions.
Good luck to you with your coaching!!!