Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Battle for 8th Place

It ain't pretty. The often mentioned but seldom seen Lucas is in the middle. Check out our cool Running Shop singlets. Results are up here.

I hate to admit it, but I have to thank Sasha for lighting a fire under my butt this week. After going back and forth with him a bit, I spent some time looking at his workouts. While the whole "VO2 max" intervals aren't in the cards during Lydiard's conditioning phase, Sasha spends a great deal of his training time at marathon pace and tempo pace, which is perfectly acceptable and encouraged during my base-building. Arthur's boys ran most of their miles during this phase at 6 minute pace. This is impossible for me at this point, but there's no reason that I can't devote parts of three workouts a week to marathon and tempo pace. There's an old saying that a runner can only expect to run a marathon at the same pace as his 26 fastest miles of training in a week. While I doubt this is an absolute, I do feel that by now I should be acclimated to higher miles, and thus I did a second workout this week with some time at both marathon and tempo pace.

After another 4 easy miles last evening and a decent night's sleep, I left myself time for 10 miles before taking Haiden to school. I decided on a one mile warm-up, 4 miles of marathon pace, two miles easy (on the hilliest part of the route), 2 miles of tempo, then 1 mile cool-down. I like leaving the more difficult running to the end of the workout, when I'm thoughoughly warmed up and my heart-rate fluctuates the least. The first mile of marathon pace was easier this time around with a mile warm-up, but during mile 2 I had to stop for 10 seconds for a quick coughing fit and some hacking. The Garmin kept on timing, so I had to work hard to bring my cumulative interval pace down below six again. At 4 miles I backed off and saw that I had averaged 5:58 for the effort. I cruised for two miles through the hills and up dog-poop trail, then started the two miles of tempo pace. It took awhile for the lungs to relax, but I managed two miles at 5:42 before cooling down for a mile.

The half marathon does put these efforts into perspective, which is why I'm glad I did it in hindsight. It's easy to get complacent and get trapped into running easier paces day after day when building mileage. Eric has mentioned this happening to him during his build-up weeks, where he averaged well over 100 miles but didn't run much of it under 7 minute pace. Downeast Andrew had a similar lament after punching the clock with some high mileage weeks awhile back. Now that the miles themselves aren't taking as much of a toll, it's time to work on bumping up my threshold, or my maximum steady-state.

After toweling off it was time to take Haiden to school. She missed a day while sick, so when a cute little boy saw her back he said "Hi Haiden, I missed you!" Makes a father wonder...

Training: Today a.m., 10 miles, 1:05:05, 6:31 pace, 4 miles at 5:58, 2 miles at 5:42
Yesterday p.m., 4 miles, 30:40, 7:39 pace


tb1 said...

The running picture looks great.

Duncan Larkin said...

Interesting to see that infamous last name for #7. I hope the son doesn't have a penchant for EPO like the father. Anyway, I'm pleased to see the blogging olive branches extended from Arizona to Utah, but also enjoyed the fireworks. Fireworks make us better than emoticons and atta boys. Seriously, good to see your family is on the mend.

Scooter said...

I looked at the picture and looked again, and from what I see, it looks like you're about to make a heel strike. I don't know when this picture was taken, but hope it's late and your form was suffering. Are you a heel striker? (I trust you recognize that if you are, your workouts beat you up far more than necessary AND you likely require heavier shoes, which will hurt times.)

Mike said...

Thanks tb1. Rule # 1, when you see the camera, put your chin down, you'll look thinner! Duncan, the "H" factor has put a real damper on Tucson running. Still, can't blame the son for the sins of the father. Scooter, guilty as charged. I'm probably more of a heel-striker than ever with morton's neuroma on both feet. The neuroma is worse on the left foot, and consequently I chew up that heel faster. The right is a milder case, and I land a little closer to mid-foot. Too many years of cycling in too-tight cycling shoes have really messed my feet. I manage though, courtesey of metatarsal pads and spenco insoles every 3 months. bet, the Brooks Adrenaline is about 12oz before the insole. The pic was actually around mile 3, so that's about as good as I look!

Sasha Pachev said...


I saw that name too and wondered about the relationship. I would not be so quick to point an accusing finger at Eddy unless you saw him do it or have some other evidence that is better than a mere positive test reported in the media. A test could be wrong. My personal take on it is if a hard-working guy over 40 years old with a stable family, teenage children that are not getting into trouble, and no past reputation for lying says he did not do EPO you take his word and re-evaluate your testing methods. I highly suspect that it is possible to have out of range values for some parameters that are being used to test for EPO by training hard, resting well, and eating right.

Mike - do you have a way to get your VO2 Max tested? I would guess that yours would be quite a bit higher than Lucas' and Andre's. Yes, I know you saw through that. It is a polite way to tell a runner that he does not have a good form. I have the same problem, and unfortunately I do not quite know how to fix it. The only thing I know is that if I run downhill fast, things get better. I found that consciously trying to fix the form is mostly ineffective, at least in the heel/toe issue. I can force myself to run on my toes, but if I have to force it, I do not run any faster. One exception to this I've found is that focusing on relaxing the quad, and engaging the hamstring earlier helps me combat the onset of fatigue.

If you feel you need to heel strike, do it. When your body is ready to run on your toes, it will without you having to think. Just make it run fast, and it will figure out the best form.

Eric said...

There is a natural progression toward heel striking as distances increase from the sprints up through the marathon. You can google pictures of a bunch of world-class marathon runners and find heel strikers everywhere. Generally, the best form for an individual is considered to be what his body self-selects over a long period of training. There are small gains to be made by doing drills, etc., but it's really just a natural process.

I wouldn't recommend trying to force yourself to run on your toes. I tried this in high school. I was able to make the change in about a month, felt good for two weeks or so, and then got bilateral stress fractures in my fibulas, right on the outside of my knees. If you're not coming across toe striking naturally, you will get hurt trying to force it.

Also, toe striking is like braking. If your momentum is coming forward, but your toe is coming down first, the angle of impact is such that your foot is acting like a door stop. As a heel striker, at least your momentum is forced into taking advantage of the the ankle's leverage and rolling forward.

Cripes! It's 5:45. I have to get running.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Hey! I can finally get through to your page again! (I haven't been able to since last night).

I love the picture - you look so relaxed!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Okay, and then I go back and read all the comments re: your form. Well, then. I guess relaxed isn't what you are looking for? :)

(Can you tell I'm a newbie? Hint, hint, would love a post on form...:) )