Thursday, December 29, 2005

You Call That a Sprint?

He's not as cute at 3am. Well, really he is.

Lydiard speedwork/sharpening today, and I could certainly be sharper. Today called for 10-12 100 meter sprints every 200 meters. Since this meant less than two miles total on the track I ran a warm-up in Sabino Canyon then headed over to the rock-hard junior high track across the street from the canyon. If I have to run 3 miles or more on the track I drive to the high school, where the track is much more cushioned and easier on the old joints. Where I ran today the cement is clearly visible through the blacktop in several patches, especially arond the turns.

I cast a fairly long shadow today, and as I sprinted the straights 12 times I tried to keep an eye on my form. It's safe to say I'm no Jeremy Wariner, the U.S. 400 runner I watch over and over in slow-motion on my TIVO. Where he barely seems to touch the ground with each step, I still audibly crush the ground. The high knee-lift and gazelle-like follow-through of his strides are on my mind as I plod along. I am training to be a marathoner, but it's still no excuse.

I remember Alan Culpepper talking about training for the Olympic marathon when he was competing for the U.S. 10K championships. He said that training for the marathon wasn't really much different than training for the 10K. When I look at the strides of elite 10K runners, I don't see too much similarity between what I'm doing and what they're doing, short of putting one foot in front of the other. Most just seem much more "fluid" with their turnover. Form is a tricky thing, but it's linked to running economy, which is of great importance to a marathoner. Lydiard emphasizes high knee-lift during his hill phase, but also notes that on marathon day to not raise your knees any higher than necessary. Some might see this as a contradiction, but he notes that maintaining knee-lift throughout a longer race is almost impossible, so strengthening the muscles that raise the knees is a must. By starting the race with a lower knee-lift, hopefully a runner will be able to maintain it for a longer duration into the race. Think about doing leg-presses, where bringing your legs down to 90 degrees will mean fewer reps than only bringing them back half as far, or something like that.

It's a lot to think about, and I try not to get too hung up on it. Hopefully with enough running I'll keep getting more efficient, and eventually that shadow I follow alongside me at the track won't look like such a spaz.

Training: 8 miles, 56:04, 7:01 pace with 12x100 sprints every 200 meters


Alison said...

I'd like to know what Jeremy Wariner could run in an 800...

Mike said...

Thank goodness for the "edit" button. Brain fart on my part, but not as bad as misspelling "mileage" for two weeks straight. Thanks Alison.

Thomas Sørensen said...

Good to hear that you are still going strong. No sigh of the cough, or the adductor or the other small niggles? I am nursing a cold at the moment by running in the rain :-) Also it was very nice to hear about Finns great developemtn the other day. I predict that with his body's response to stimuli, he will beat your all time marathon PR by the time he turns 20, if he wants to. But he will never beat our Spartathlon PR :-)

Anonymous said...

Music every mile. Sounds annoying.

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tb1 said...

I also agonize over form and try to repeat phrases to myself over and over in order to maintain it. At my size (6'4", 200 lbs.) it is critical for me to maintain it.

As an aside, I met someone from near my neighborhood at the track during my workout that is slated to run a sub 2:40 or so. I mentioned your blog to him. He knows about Lydiard training but didn't indicate to me that he is currently using it. However he does train with a running club. I just found it interesting that I now "know" two individuals that appear to be equal in ability. It will be interesting to see how both of you finish. I actually have hope that I can finish under 4:00. Two weeks to go. Good Luck!!