Sunday, October 17, 2010

Steady Progress

One thing that occurred to me yesterday is that following the coach's advice will require more brain power than simply following a printed training schedule. His program does not say things like Monday 10 miles, Tuesday 6 miles, and so on. Instead I have to fill in quite a few blanks myself, under guidance of course. Make no mistake, that is a good thing, enabling us to adapt the training depending on how it is going. But this is still very new to me and will require some time until I get used to it.

Friday's run did not go quite as well as expected. The two previous steady runs on Monday and Wednesday had seemingly been going very well, but it seemed to catch up with me on Friday and at the halfway point I realised that the same pace that had been fine on the previous two runs was too fast this time and I had to ease the effort on the way home. Even so I still ended up with a higher average HR.

That very evening I just happened to receive an email from MC, stating amongst other things, that “the base phase is more about recovery than hammering yourself into shape“, which hit home because there was definitely a lack of recovery (even at that comparatively low mileage I'm doing). Another factor might have been that this run was on the undulating road alongside Caragh Lake. I had been avoiding that road because the hills (especially the downhills) tended to aggravate my achilles. While I did not feel any twinges during the run or immediately afterwards, the area did become sore later that day.

In view of all that, a very relaxed 5-mile run was the most that seemed advisable on Saturday. Luckily, there was no further reaction from my achilles and my legs seemed to thank me for it, because on Sunday things felt much, much better. I was aiming for the same pace as on Monday or Wednesday again (around 7:13), but when I checked the Garmin after the first miles I was already doing 7:11, so I dialled back the effort a bit. Or so I thought – when I looked again after 3 miles the average pace was down to 7:04 and I was doing 6:30 right there and then. Time to really scale back the effort! What followed was a rather relaxed run through Killorglin, feeling very good in absolutely perfect running conditions (autumn can be fantastic that way), and eventually coming back home, the average pace having eased back to 7:12. One week ago I would have had to strain to run that pace, today it felt positively easy and the HR confirmed that, though I think that the main reason for the progress I'm seeing is the continuing recovery from the Dingle Ultra rather than anything I'm doing in training - which brings me back to MC's point about the base phase being more about recovery.

15 Oct
9 miles, 1:06:42, 7:24 pace, HR 159
16 Oct
5 miles, 39:24, 7:52 pace, HR 147
17 Oct
10 miles, 1:12:01, 7:12 pace, HR 155


  1. keeping ahead of the recovery curve
    I remember following Lydiards original base training some years ago.
    I got over enthusiastic early on and hit amazing form after just 6 weeks!
    trouble was I had no where to go from there, only downhill :[
    I was asking By7 about his training and did he think most runners overtrained,Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

    Thanks for putting me right about your training.
    Do you think that a lot of runners overtrain and better results are obtained by never digging too deep and staying slightly undertrained?

    13 October, 2010 00:19 his reply was; by7 said...

    sometimes I feel that many "committed amateur" runners try to copy workouts of Pro runners but without putting it in a context...
    so they pushed their body too hard for what they can really recover and for what is really productive.
    In other terms, the marginal gain achieved by running huge mileage and huge workout one after the other very easily go lost in the lack of capacity of the body to take that much, together with other stress like work, family, etc...

    So it seems that to get in good shape there are either ways for a amateur runner:
    - or just run "easy with progression" every day at similar distance (let's say run 12k every day with progression, stride... but nothing tought), so that every day you can still recover
    - take the 2 big workouts way... only 2 big workouts every week (in distance and intensity) and then simply jog around the other days...

    probably anything in between does not really give us the way to recover...

    Lastly, If you read the blog of Andrew Lemoncello (life of a lemon), he is very detailed about his life and recovery, etc...
    after each run, a good nap..then massage, etc.. and he runs mostly on soft surfaces
    I mean... how can someone with my life style just think about performing half of his workouts ??

    13 October, 2010 16:18

  2. LINKS;

  3. The doing too much describes me Rick. I'm reading of a local guy who runs 1:08 for the half and 31:05 for 10K. He is 44 and does these times on running Monday to Friday onlt 10 a day @ 5 min a K pace. 20K on Sat @ 4 min pace and 30K with no watch on an undulating course on Sunday.

    If people are running those times on that training I/we need to rethink our training as we are all doing of late.

    Good luck with yours Thomas.

  4. Sorry Thomas, but the comments by Rick and Scott are more interesting than your post ;)

    Very important to keep an eye on the recovery, both after races/sessions and generally.

    The 44-year-old local guy Scott mentions has been blessed with some talent for running - there was a time I could have run that schedule (even the 20k @ 4:00), but no way would it have given me a 31:05.

    I'm a big believer in individualisation with training. Some runners need more, some less, some faster, some slower...

  5. I just wanted to keep this going, sorry for doing here but not much going on over at my place.

    I understand what Ewen is saying about "talent" but I'd like to know if this guy was once training doing long mileage and hard sessions but after 5 or 10 years of that he can cruise and still do good times, going to ask him when/if I can meet him one day.

    I do remember "Monas" saying he doesn't train even close to what he used to but can still put in some very fast times in races.

  6. Yes, Scott, that would be interesting. A bit like Monas with 15-odd years at 180-200k a week, and now running just as well for his age off 80-120k a week.

    I think Monas is doing pretty similar training to what he has in the past, but now mainly once a day and not so long on the long run. Monas claimed he wasn't talented either, but that's a crock of s#!t. He might have been ordinary as a boy over 400m and a mile but he has heaps of talent for running long distances fast.