Are your hill sessions for strength development, aerobic development or both? They probably qualify as HIIT and hence according to the evidence supporting HIIT, provide a strong stimulus to aerobic development via brief bursts at anaerobic intensity
The hill sprints are for leg strength/neuromuscular development, not for aerobic development. Because of their short length and the full recovery they are mostly alactic, which is why I think they don't interfere with aerobic training. Having said that, I have heard that Lydiard's statement that aerobic development stops as soon as anaerobic training starts is not being backed up by physiological research, though I'm definitely not in a position to comment on that.
I think that Canova would argue that a runner who has already done many years of base-building, does not need to develop capillaries any further, so neither Lydiard nor Maffetone type base-building are necessary. Perhaps you now have a long enough training history to adopt parts of Canova’s approach – though I suppose Canova is really better for HM and M than for ultras.
That possibility did cross my mind, especially with me coming off a cycle that included running 126 miles in one go and running a very hilly 50 mile ultra purely for fun. I do think that my aerobic base is fairly formidable by now; I just hope that's not just wishful thinking.
The base training I'm doing now is at a higher intensity compared to what I would have done the previous two years. There are no killer workouts but I'm working a little bit harder each day.
One problem with Lydiard's training is that the schedules in his books often bears very little resemblance to the training his charges used to do. One reason is that elite runners train differently to the rest of us. Another one is that Lydiard constantly monitored the effect of training and changed it accordingly, something you cannot do when printing a schedule.
Anyway, he said that in base training you should train close but under your “steady state”. There are plenty of opinions what “steady state” is, some writers seem to think it's close to your lactate threshold, others disagree; however, that's not really my point. When I was being coached by Mystery Coach I was surprised by the mellow effort for virtually all training runs in base training. He responded that he did not know where my steady state was, but from my feedback he knew that I was remaining below and that was what counted most. We only went through one training cycle. I think that had we gone through more, he would have increased the training intensity in subsequent ones. In a way that's basically what I'm trying to do now.
I don't know if that will be my last ever shot at my marathon PB, so I'm prepared to take a few risks. But I'm not flying blind. I will still do the evaluation workouts and take that feedback into account; if I am overtraining I hope I will be able to spot that in time.
The last few days have gone fairly well and the training has definitely gone up by a notch or two. Thursday's 10 miles were steady, but I ran a much faster workout on Friday. The legs felt flat during the first two warm-up miles but then I was really surprised by how well I was moving with very little effort. Unfortunately, when I reached the halfway point I realised that I had been pushed along by a very nice tailwind and would now be paying the price on the homewards leg. Unsurprisingly the second half felt a lot harder. The average HR was too high for my liking; there is clearly a lot of work still to be done but then I remembered that I had run my last race only 4 weeks ago and then taken 10 days off, so I was back in training for less than 3 weeks and the figures clearly reflect this.
Saturday is our club's group run. I ran to the meeting point at a good clip (almost 7:00 pace), had 4 very relaxed miles with the group and went home faster again, but more relaxed this time (7:20-ish, which felt very easy).
I was back on the Caragh Lake loop on Sunday morning for my long run. The big climbs felt a lot harder than expected; I think I tend to lose leg strength very quickly if I don't keep running hills. But I was moving well on the rest of the loop, despite the windy and rainy conditions. The weather picked up during the second half of the run and so did my pace. I was happy enough with how the legs felt after the first 70+ miles week. Endurance has never been a problem. If I could add a little bit more speed, that would be great.
- 27 Sep
- 10 miles, 1:16:35, 7:39 pace, HR 148
- 28 Sep
- 10 miles, 1:11:24, 7:08 pace, HR 159
- 29 Sep
- 13.25 miles, 1:43:23, 7:48 pace, HR 146
4.6 miles @ 7:03 (HR 157), 4+ miles @ 9:12 (group run, HR 130), 4.6 miles @ 7:22 (HR 153)
- 30 Sep
- 15.15 miles, 1:55:24, 7:37 pace, HR 155