When You Have A System That Works: Mess With It

When you have a system that’s working why not mess with it?

 

One day hard followed by two days easy has been working well for me lately. In fact it seems to be the gold standard for progressing my running. This training block I’ve decided to mess with that. I’m not sure if it’s impatience, the drive to get more out of myself, or simply a bad tendency to fit in more. Is it a mistake, or will it raise my fitness to the next level?

 

The Format That Works

 

  1. Easy
  2. Easy
  3. VO2max Intervals
  4. Easy
  5. Easy
  6. Long Run
  7. Easy
  8. Easy
  9. Hill Repeats

New Format

 

  1. Easy
  2. Easy
  3. Anaerobic Threshold (Continuous) 10km
  4. Anaerobic Tolerance: 12 x 300-100m, 1min recovery
  5. Easy
  6. Long Run
  7. Easy
  8. Easy
  9. Anaerobic Threshold Intervals 4-6 x 2000m / 1000m float

 

In the new format, day 3 is not crazy hard. It would be better to think of this run as a medium effort. The continuous threshold run is still a solid effort. I’m hoping it doesn’t suck anything out of my legs for the following day. I often feel a bit quicker the day after some faster running, as long as it doesn’t leave my legs wasted. It may give me a little extra kick for the tolerance intervals.

 

The 300m tolerance intervals are meant to be at about 1500m race pace. That’s a speed I haven’t run at for a long time. That will leave me sore the next day.

 

Now I’ve I’ve added a little extra faster running and taken away an easy day. All before my long run. This is the day of truth. When training for ultra marathons you need to nail the long run. If this wrecks my long run it isn’t worth doing. On the other hand, if I can also hit my targets in the long run then I expect some big benefits.

 

First Time Through

 

The easy days were exactly as they should be…. easy.

 

The first key was the 10km at just under my anaerobic threshold. All on feel over an undulating course. The intensity felt right. I felt quite fast during the run. However, once I downloaded the data, turns out I was a lot slower than I felt or expected.

 

That dampened how good I was feeling about the run. Still I shouldn’t complain. It was only one aspect that wasn’t up to what I expected. I’ll be curious to see how the repeat of this run goes next week.

 

Anaerobic Tolerance

 

Next day I hit the athletics track. The goal was to run 12 x 300m at 1500m race pace with 1 rest in between. I got through 7 of them right on target. How good does it feel to run fast?

 

Repeat number 8 was where the concept of anaerobic tolerance explained itself. It hurt and it was slow. More important to keep the speed up here. The remaining 4 repeats were dropped down to 200m. I was just able to hold onto 1500m race pace in these.

 

Next day I was sore.

 

But the day after that… still sore.

 

Long Run

 

Hmm, not so sure how the long run will go. I’ll give a go anyway. So out I went. At first I wondered how the 40km would unfold. Luckily I see found myself caught up in the act of running. I allowed myself to relax and resist holding back. My running felt good. Even easier than my last few long runs. I definitely had sore spots, but they weren’t a problem.

 

This feeling good got me to 36km faster than I have been in so long. The drop off over the final 4km was quite brutal. I still finished 5 minutes quicker than last week’s 40km. This became the first run I’ve done that gives me confidence I can hit my race goals this year. Better than the doubts I’ve taken out of most key runs.

 

Maybe it was a good to take my training and mess with it.

 

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Sometimes there’s a mismatch between how you feel, what you expect and the outcome. 🤯 This morning’s #run was 10km at just under anaerobic threshold. All on feel over an undulating course. The intensity felt right. I felt quite fast during the run. However, once I downloaded the data, turns out I was a lot slower than I felt or expected. 🐌 That dampened how good I was feeling about the run. Still I shouldn’t complain. It was only one aspect that wasn’t up to what I expected. 🏃🏼 ______________________________ #anaerobic #threshold #temporun #at #10km #runningalive #expectations #runbeforework #melbournerunners #keeptraining #buildthehouse #anaerobicthreshold #morningrun #runnerclick #running_highlight #runnerscommunity #runnerschat #pursuitwithpurpose

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How do structure your training?

 

 

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me. Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down, Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

Hey there where ya goin’, not exactly knowin’, who says you have to call just one place home. He’s goin’ everywhere, B.J. McKay and his best friend Bear. He just keeps on movin’, ladies keep improvin’, every day is better than the last. New dreams and better scenes, and best of all I don’t pay property tax. Rollin’ down to Dallas, who’s providin’ my palace, off to New Orleans or who knows where. Places new and ladies, too, I’m B.J. McKay and this is my best friend Bear.

80 days around the world

80 days around the world, we’ll find a pot of gold just sitting where the rainbow’s ending. Time – we’ll fight against the time, and we’ll fly on the white wings of the wind. 80 days around the world, no we won’t say a word before the ship is really back. Round, round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world.

I never spend much time in school but I taught ladies plenty. It’s true I hire my body out for pay, hey hey. I’ve gotten burned over Cheryl Tiegs, blown up for Raquel Welch. But when I end up in the hay it’s only hay, hey hey. I might jump an open drawbridge, or Tarzan from a vine. ‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood look so fine.

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.

Ultra Marathon Training: Block 3 Weeks 9-12

The last 4 weeks of training was a bigger challenge than I anticipated. Well off target for quite a few sessions. I tried not to dwell on them too much. Took a little extra recovery. Tested myself in the last week. Surprisingly I still ended up pretty close to where I hoped to be. Now ready for training block 3.

 

Focus

 

Following the Training Plan Overview the focus is:

  1. Increase pace at Anaerobic Threshold
  2. Increase pace of long run.
  3. Small amount of anaerobic tolerance development

 

 

Increase Pace At Anaerobic Threshold

 

Anaerobic threshold training provides big improvements. I start to feel invincible and find the faster paces feel easier and easier. Anything powerful tends to come with strong side effects. Anaerobic threshold training has a big impact on me. I find it easy to over do. I get caught up in the feeling. So many times I have over shot the mark. It tends to give my immune system a hit and I am prone to getting sick. After a week or 2 of feeling fast, my legs tend to come crashing back down as if wrapped in concrete.

 

Trying to sort out how to get the benefit without the downside had me searching through my training logs. Looking back over the years there is a trend. Over training with anaerobic threshold work has been related to 2 main issues:

  1. Trying to extend anaerobic threshold work beyond 60 minutes in a session.
  2. Pushing the pace too high on continuous threshold training runs.

This training block I’ll avoid the above 2 ways of training.

  • I’ll save pushing the pace up for the interval runs.
  • Hold back a little on the continuous threshold runs.
  • Limit any session to well under 60 minutes.

 

Increase Pace Of The Long Run

 

The distance will be limited to 40km or 4 hours, whichever comes first. With how my long runs have unfolded over the last 2 months, it is clear increasing pace isn’t about going hard in the first half. Long runs of 40km are definitely not easy. Where will the improved speed come from?

 

Most of that pace will be from maintaining my form and pace all the way to the end. Avoiding the drop off in speed that has occurred in almost all long runs will be my priority. Just holding it together over the final 5km will bring my average pace back by about 20 sec per kilometre.

 

The secondary push up on pace will feel subtle. It involves attempting to relax and allow my body to open up. So far I’ve had to artificially slow down the first part of my long runs and it still feels quite restrained. I want to gradually release those restraints and let the legs find a more natural rhythm and pace. The risk is that pace is too fast for the full distance.

 

Small Amount Of Anaerobic Tolerance Development

 

There’s 2 reasons for this:

  1. Creating a stimulus to maintain or enhance the VO2max gains from the past 2 weeks.
  2. Be able to maintain run form in the closing stages of the races at the Emergency Services Game in a few weeks.

VO2max can be maintained with less than it takes to raise it. So a couple of sessions over the month that have me gasping for air should be enough. Hopefully it helps me with a little extra kick in my legs for the end of races.

 

Anaerobic tolerance training intervals track

 

The Template

 

A training week covers 9 days for me at the moment. There will be some variation to fit around the other areas of my life, but here’s the basic template I’ll be working from:

  1. Easy
  2. Easy
  3. Anaerobic Threshold (Continuous): 10km
  4. Anaerobic Tolerance: 12 x 300-100m, 1min recovery
  5. Easy
  6. Long Run 40km/ 4hours
  7. Easy
  8. Easy
  9. Anaerobic Threshold Intervals 4-6 x 2000m / 1000m float

 

I’m curious to see if the Anaerobic Threshold (Continuous) and Anaerobic Tolerance combination over days 3 and 4 will work for me. I think it will, but am open to adjustments if needed.

 

There is definitely a nice dose of faster running injected into the program. None of the fast running should feel forced. While there are physiological adaptations I’m going for, it is more important I develop the right feel in my running. Block 3 is about trying to develop that right feel in running faster.

 

 

The Power Of Easy Runs

Why is it so hard to get easy runs right?

 

Attention always goes to the high flyers. The threshold runs, the VO2max intervals, the long runs, the hill repeats, they hog the limelight. What about the easy run?

 

Is it too basic? Too run-of-the-mill? We do more of these easy runs than any other type.

 

Since it is the most common type of run we do, shouldn’t we pay it some respect?

 

The easy run is subtle, but it packs a massive amount of power. That power builds up over time when combined with consistency. It provides the support to launch your hard training. On a smaller scale, the easy run has the power to influence your next hard session. It can help you be ready for it, or it can take away from your performance.

 

I’ve made the mistakes on easy runs. The number one mistake is pushing too hard and fast. It is all too easy to go too hard. Over the years I’ve experimented with different approaches. I’ve let my ego get in the way plenty of times. Not everything has worked, but some has. Now I’m back to chasing some big and challenging goals. To reach them I have to get a lot right in my training. One of the biggest influences on this are the easy runs.

 

Time to share what works.

We do more easy runs than any other type of run

 

 

Setting The Base With Easy Runs

 

When a long way out from a race and trying to develop a simple to base fitness, most of the runs will fall in the easy category. At this time the easy runs are relatively harder than later in a training program. Because the key hard sessions are not crazy hard at the time, you can afford to allow the easy run speed to creep up a little.

 

My main focus is on run form. Making sure I am developing good technique. Focusing on a proper range of movement, some snap at the ankle and proper knee lift. While working on improving running form I find the intensity needs to be raised a bit until the form changes become more natural. Remember the body is inherently lazy and will take what it thinks is the easiest way in the moment. This doesn’t always mean it’s the best way in the long term.

 

To ensure the runs aren’t too hard, the best guide is that you are able to repeat the exact same run the next day without fatigue carrying over.

 

Increasing Workload With Easy Runs

 

After setting a grounding with some base training we start to push the key runs a bit harder. Yet we still want to keep increasing volume and the ability to handle more training. This is the time the easy runs start to become tricky. This is where we really have to pay attention to the effect of these runs. As we start including faster running in the training mix, it is often easy to inadvertantly run the easy runs too fast. It just starts to feel natural to run faster. During the run it doesn’t feel like it’s too much. Yet it encroaches on the your recovery. It adds a load you need to recover from, and it puts a hold on recovering from the harder runs. This tends to be subtle, but it accumulates and reduces your ability to extend your key runs.

 

This is the time to put your ego away. Drop the pace on your easy runs to what may feel ridiculously slow. To push up the workload, gradually add a little bit of distance to a couple of the easy runs each week.

 

 

Closing Down On The Race

 

As we get closer to race day the key runs tend to become harder and more specific. It becomes important to be fresh enough to hit your marks in the hard runs. As a result the easy should be even easier. Personally I find they vary a lot during this time. Completely dictated by how I am responding in the key hard sessions.

 

This is no longer the up the volume. Some of the runs will be very short, maybe just 30 minutes at a ridiculously slow jog. If there are a few days between extra hard runs, then in the middle I may move the pace up to something that feels quick for easy. Making sure it doesn’t take away from the next run.

 

 

Respect Easy Runs

 

I’ve kept clear of providing exact pacing guidelines. The speed of an easy run shouldn’t some preset arbitrary number. It be guided by the effect you are aiming for. Focusing some effort on taking notice of how you respond to the easy runs reaps a lot of returns. It is a great opportunity to develop a feel and understanding on how your body responds to training. This is part of the power of easy runs.

 

Power of easy runs beach running