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RE: Training Log for a 2:30ish Boston Marathon 2018
I don't think you were actually apologizing, which is okay because principled disagreement is nothing for which to apologize. That's the whole point of threads like this, right? To have a thoughtful discussion of training principles.
My view is that since the marathon is almost exclusively an aerobic event, vo2max is not a direct limiting factor in performance. So the natural follow up question is, why would I emphasize something that is not a direct limiting factor on my performance in my goal race? I think your suggestion is that work at vo2max pace addresses indirect limiting factors, in this case "efficiency" which I think means the same things as what I think of as "running economy."
I have no qualms with that position. I just think that running economy can be addressed in a number of ways. First off, there is the 6 week block of vo2max work done in the early part of my cycle. Secondly, there are the races at the 5k to 10k distances during the last 12 weeks of the cycle that are functionally vo2max maintenance work. Third, strides are (or at least are supposed to be) a regular part of my warm up routine and those are a great influencer of running economy. Fourth, even threshold pace has some vo2max benefit, it is just not as efficient at improving vo2max as traditional intervals; and when you consider that much of the threshold pace work comes via cruise intervals (which, as practical matter, tend to run fast - somewhere faster than 15k pace sometimes), that vo2max maintenance benefit is even greater. Finally, getting in some hilly running also has a running economy benefit.
So I don't think that I ignore running economy at all, it is just not an emphasis during the last 12 weeks of my training cycle. So I don't think the indirect benefit of improved running economy justifies an emphasis on vo2max workouts in those last 12 weeks (especially given the emphasis earlier in the training cycle and the races throughout the cycle) since that indirect benefit can be achieved via other less stressful (strides, hill work) or as a secondary benefit of work that is more directly beneficial to the event (threshold intervals, hills again). Plus, if you take the thought to its logical end, the desire to work on running economy as a primary benefit would arguably result in some emphasis on shorter, faster reps (200s/400s at mile pace).
So that eliminates that indirect benefit for me. I've already talked about the lack of a need to throw in or respond to surges. Another indirect benefit would be increases in overall running fitness - I get that thought, but think the 6 week block early addresses it. You might also want the psychological benefit of running at a pace that makes your other work, particularly your race, feel more pedestrian. Interim races achieve that to some degree, as does the initial block; plus, threshold pace is about 15-20 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace, so I am getting a ton of work at a pace that should make marathon pace feel very manageable on race day.
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