Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Just when I was ready to make excuses...

I have every reason to stink up this 10 mile race on Saturday. I'm three weeks into my hill-phase so I'm pretty dead-legged, I was a little sick this week, the race comes towards the end of a 96 mile week, I'm just using it for "training"-the list goes on and on.

Then along comes Mark, ruining everything. I emailed Mark after reading some of his posts on the Lydiard/Daniels thread on letsrun.com, where he posts as Hotlanta Master. I've been trying to plan my "anaerobic phase", or what will follow my Lydiard hill phase, which will start the week after next. He mentioned the success he's had with running longer, marathon pace and faster time trials.

Turns out Mark is an amazing runner who just finished first in the masters category (and 9th overall) at the Portland Marathon on October 9, and he was the overall winner of the Atlanta marathon in 2002 with a 2:36 race, though I had to dig this up online since he's such a modest chap. He did mention, however, how surprised he was with his finish at the Peachtree 10K, where he ran a 34:13 an placed 6th in the masters division. This is where he ruins things. Mark had just finished ten solid weeks of high-mileage conditioning, and was coming off his first week of his hill-phase. This race was run in over 90% humidity, and he still ran about the same pace he had in years previous, in spite of no taper and a pretty serious workload. He also mentioned that the effort he had to expend seemed fairly moderate given the conditions.

Mark coaches runners for the Atlanta Track Club, and also works with high schoolers, and he train with a Lydiard-based approach. He got hooked on marathon pace runs and "progression runs" early, taking the advice of a coach when he was younger as well as following the words of Weldon Johnson, one of the founders of letsrun.com. Mark mentioned that when he started faithfully following the Lydiard method of building a large aerobic base, then hill training, he started to see his times drop even though he was (in his words) "past his physical prime" (not so sure about this myself).

So while his stellar performance while racing during his hill phase makes my excuses for possibly not being at my best seem feeble, the successes Mark has enjoyed inspire me to hopefully do the same. Athletes like Mark are proof that Lydiard's theories, thoughtfully and intelligently applied, offer concrete results. I'll definitely give it my best shot Saturday, I'll just hope my legs have it in them to get me to the line in a good time.

Training: 18 miles, 2:06:42, 7:02 pace. Felt pretty good overall, didn't look at the watch all day so I thought the pace would be around 7:20 or so. Nice surprise.

4 comments:

D said...

You've had quite the week Mike! Impressive that you were able to run those speeds during your last run despite the stomach issues you've been having!

By the way, I did read Zeke's post and it definitely made sense!

Andrew said...

Those surprises are nice. I have read that following the Lydiard program produces race efforts where you "couldn't go any faster but you could have kept going" before you get to the coordination phase where the speed let's loose. Good luck!

Zeke said...

Now what did I do?

Hey Mike, I think you're going to run fine this weekend. But keep in mind (I think you posted this too) what Lydiard says, something like "you'll be behind others early in the year, but once you "come right" you'll be kicking their ass." I'm paraphrasing.

I agree with Andrew too. You're probably going to feel strong as hell, but will also feel like you can't turn your legs over any faster.

Mike said...

Thanks all, the bug was mercifully short-lived, and for that I am grateful. I am surprised by how much easier the training seems after getting used to it. I really never imagined I would be capable of completing my current mileage, but starting by running slowly and doing doubles really helped. Glenn has advised me to go out slowly, since the legs probably won't come back once they're spent. I'll take that advice.