Monday, October 10, 2005

"Be patient...the times will come down"

One problem I have with the internet is sourcing. As I search and find articles and quotes by and about Arthur Lydiard, I don't do a good enough job of keeping track of who said what. I think the quote I use for the title of this post comes from Arthur directly, but it might be from Nobby. The words refer to dealing with some of the inevitable frustrations that come along with following any training program. For most non-elites like me, chasing time becomes a preoccupation. We want a personal best, we want to go over our set distances in less time, every time.

Today marks the first day of my hill phase, but the week started with another long run. I thought about how well last week's run went, and keeping a 6:46 pace was definitely in my head. Things started out well, I bought some new shoes last week so there was literally more spring in my stride, and after 4 miles I was already down to a 7 minute pace. At the 11 mile turnaround I was at 6:45, but I was definitely feeling a little worse than the previous week (being about 10 seconds under last week's pace for the first half probably contributed to this). With this in mind, I turned my Garmin watch away from me and decided to do the second half strictly by feel, knowing that three hill workouts this week will no doubt leave me hurting.

On the way back I started feeling a little better, and at about 18 miles I started thinking about another Lydiard quote in an interview where he talks about running long runs by time instead of distance. He began to favor minutes over miles when he noticed that runners who took closer to 3 hours to do 22 miles were getting more of an aerobic benefit than his elite runners who were running 22 miles in closer to two hours simply because they were out there on their feet longer. Lydiard also prescribed running by time to build mileage, because inevitably his runners would go a little farther each week in the same time, so they were building miles almost without realizing it.

Doing my long runs alone gives me time to think about things like this, whereas I'm forced to talk about the Red Sox or Supreme Court Justice nominees if I run with my lawyer friend Scott. Anyway, as I thought more about running by time, I realized that at my faster pace 22 miles was taking me about 2 hours and 28 minutes, which was ending my run some ten or more minutes faster than in previous weeks. With about 3/4 of a mile left, where I usually make a right and head into our monster subdivision, something strange happened...I skipped the turn. I decided to make it an even 24, running up into the hills a bit and past some of the nicer homes by Sabino Canyon. When I looped around and made it back home I couldn't believe my watch-24 miles in just under 2 hours and 41 minutes, a 6:42 pace and my fastest long training run ever.

The times have come down, Arthur was right about that. It was great to have a good day before this Wednesday, when I'll be staring up the face of a 1/2 mile dirt hill in Sabino Canyon. I hope Arhur is right about the next four weeks too.

One more note: Yvonne from New York, who writes the Personal Record blog in my sidebar ran an 8 minute best of 3hr30 minutes in Chicago this weekend, and I want to congratulate her on a race well run. She has a mileage chart up with her miles for her 3 marathons-guess which race had the most training miles? Visit her site to hear all about it.

Training: Sunday, 8 miles easy, with several hills, 1:01:30, 7:39 pace
Total miles for week 12 of conditioning: 104 in 8 sessions
Monday, 24 miles, 2:40:43, 6:42 pace, magic day


Yvonne said...

Hey Mike! Was it the mileage? Or was it more the flat course and perfect weather conditions? I did very little 'quality' workouts for Chicago. I really struggle with the quality versus quantity argument with running! I read this one women's blog - can't recall who right now, who runs 90 miles a week, but her PR for the marathon is "just" 3:36. I say there's something wrong with that. But I look forward to reading more about it all on your blog...

Thomas said...

Mike, your training routine is just awesome. It must be so tiring! I can't imagine ever being "pleasantly tired" after the kind of runs you're doing. Respect!

Flatman said...

Awesoome training run, Mike! Congrats on the "Magic" day...

Mike said...

Thanks Flatman, Thomas and Yvonne. "Pleasantly tired" is perhaps understating it sometimes. Nobby warned me in the Lydiard/Daniels thread to "let the times come to me" instead of chasing them, so I'll probably back off a little while I get used to the hills. Yvonne, you did the work, if you're the kind of runner that doesn't make excuses due to bad weather (which it seems you are), then you shouldn't give the weather undue credit when conditions go your way. You ran a great race.