Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lydiard Base Training

Last night, as I set the alarm for today, it struck me that there really are no easy days in this program. On Monday it's "oh no, a long run". On Tuesday "Oh no, a tempo run". On Wednesday "Oh no, a long run". On Thursday "Oh no, hill repeats". You get the picture. It can be tough to get used to this kind of constant pressure, but I know from previous training cycles that eventually you get used to it, both mentally and physically.

Strictly speaking, yesterday's run of 15 miles was not a long run, but until Monday this had been my longest run of the training cycle so far, and any loop across the hills surrounding Caragh Lake is tough. I felt especially tired early on and noticed that I started about 20 seconds per mile slower. I did get more into it as the run went on, and, after I had crossed the invisible 10 mile line, decided to push for a stronger finish. I always liked to finish my long runs faster, but up to now never had the legs to actually speed up; yesterday I wasn't exactly flying, but running the last 5 miles at an average pace of 7:26 was quite satisfying nevertheless. On the one hand, I don't want to overdo it, and running faster while you're still building mileage is a dangerous game; on the other hand I feel that a bit more pushing on my normal runs could give a few improvements in my racing times. Looking at the MacMillan calculator, I'm doing most of my training at too slow a pace compared to my racing times. However, I'm pretty sure MacMillan didn't have the elevation chart of the Caragh Lake loop in mind when he came up with the pace formulas.

And so for the hill repeats today. As usual, I did a few miles at tempo effort first, though the actual pace was closer to marathon pace. The legs have felt really tired the last few days since the weekend, and running faster than that doesn't seem to be on the cards. On Tuesday I had noticed a big drop in my HR. This has continued and I did wonder if that would still be the case on the hill repeats. Today I did 8x45 seconds, and interestingly enough the HR shot up to the usual 170+ at the top of the hill. Today I concentrated more on good form, especially lifting the knees and pumping the arms, but during the last one or two repeats I wasn't able to bring them up as high as before. At that stage it was definitely time to call it a day, which I did.

So, on to tomorrow - oh no, it's another long run!

The weather has been absolutely stunning for the last week. 28C/82F constitutes a formidable heat wave on these shores, but the general consensus is that anyone who moans about the heat should be summarily executed after the last 2 years of miserable rainy summers. Unfortunately, if the meteorologists are correct, today is the last one of the nice days. Maybe it's all for the better, nobody wants a drought, but boy was it nice to be running in the sunshine every single morning. Yesterday the sun rose just as I was leaving the house, and I felt rather privileged to witness it. I could have gotten used to this.
3 Jun
15 miles, 1:58:49, 7:55 pace, HR 147
last 5 miles @ 7:26
4 Jun
10.5 miles, 1:23:52, 7:59 pace, HR 150
incl. 3 miles @ 6:53, 8x45 secs hill sprints


  1. Its really important to run well within yourself in the early stages of base building, as you get fitter from all the aerobic work your paces will naturally improve!

  2. What I found got me injured was by increasing my distance and running too many of my runs at tempo pace. I think you can do speed work and increase your mileage as long as you are running most of the rest of your runs at a conservative pace.

    Great job with the long runs!

  3. Run how you feel. Slow is good. Keep up the good base building!

  4. Dare I say it!
    Maybe you should try running some of your runs without heart rate or g.p.s monitors, just go by feel and use your own internal computer!!!
    After all monitoring your pace day after day can be a bit self destructive mentally!

  5. Wow - 28C is definitely warm for your neck of the woods. Yes, we never complain either as we always have a couple of months of 10-12C days to get through.

    As long as you're recovering from day to day the regular "solid" sessions should do you good. Listen to the body though. If you're feeling particularly flat I wouldn't be forcing out a scheduled tempo run.

  6. Thanks Thomas, this is exactly what I needed, totally unexpected, I was looking for another 3 year wait. I can already feel the difference.

    you're doing great as always, wow a 15 mile run in base trianing, sounds like a tough program. but if anyone can do it you can Thomas.

  7. Funny, I say pretty much the exact same thing every morning! Just substitute in "swim" and "bike." Sigh.

    I don't know how you manage to do all you do BEFORE work! I think you are so right about the mental training.

    I know my training is making ME mental. :)