Friday, April 07, 2006

I HADDly Know Ya'

A fellow named Rick posted this as a comment on yesterday's post-"I'm trying to break 2:40, pr of 2:44 in 2000. I've been running 100 mpw for 20 weeks of Lydiard base and combo of Hadd type heart rate training. Training for Gradma's Marathon eleven weeks out. I haven't switched over to the hill phase because I'm thinking I haven't got my 10 mile marathon heart rate down to marathon pace. I would like your input on if I should keep doing what I'm doing before switching or why switch at all until I get down to that marathon pace."

While I'm flattered that anyone would ask me for advice, especially since I've only fumbled through Lydiard training once, I am a little hesitant to comment. Lydiard and HADD training do have some similarites, especially at the beginning stages. Both methods focus on long, aerobic running for as long as possible before training the anaerobic system. I just read this document to try to get a handle on how HADD training differs, and one thing that stands out is what Rick said about waiting to get his 10 mile marathon heart rate down to marathon pace before getting into Lydiard's hill phase.

This is where Nobby might say "Don't pull on the plant too much to see if it has roots". There is only one day where performing at marathon pace is of the ultimate importance, whether you're following a 12 or 26 week program. While I like trying to spend a fair amount of time at marathon pace or faster, I know that what I consider that pace to be now will probably change by the time June comes around, hopefully for the better. The roots are there, I have 7 weeks of conditioning behind me to prove it, on top of the 12 conditioning weeks I did last fall. There will be plenty of time to test out (or find out) marathon pace in a Lydiard program during the last 8 weeks before the race. Varying longer time trials of 20K all the way up to a full marathon (if you choose) are geared towards pace judgement and realistic goal setting. Worrying too much about beating a certain time at this early point can be putting the cart before the horse. While I was definitely shooting to break 2:40 for the whole six months of preparation last time around, it didn't really come into focus and seem entirely possible until I was able to do runs of 11, 16, and 18 miles at 6-6:02 pace and not feel crushed during the last 8 weeks.

Also, if you're interested in following a whole Lydiard cycle for a June marathon, time constraints should force you into the hill phase now if you want to have any time left for the track/anaerobic phase and coordination phase, which is where all the training comes together. I'm in the middle of the hill phase now, and for the most part it is still focused on aerobic development, which should still fit into a HADD plan. Sure, hill exercises might get your heart rate a little high, but what's great about them is you can control the effort and heart rate simply by slowing down. The windsprints can be done several ways also, and they can be short enough to be over with before your heart rate increases too much.

The added benefits of shifting gears into a hill phase after 20 weeks at 100 miles is to build strength. I've found that lots and lots of miles without real intensity builds up endurance, but doesn't help much with strength. Hill exercises will help you maintain knee-lift late in the marathon, which will help you maintain good form longer. Steep hill running will also help you gain a more forceful stride, as you will learn to propel yourself more forward with each step as you straighten your leg at take-off (this naturally happens when running uphill but you can also cultivate it. These benefits should result in increased efficiency, which is what marathon training is all about.

So that's my long-winded advice, I guess I didn't hesitate that much. You can always email me from my profile too.

Oh, I ran today. Some of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners (my club) and a few fast guys from The Running Shop, including Lucas and more of our team for the cross-country race came into my neighborhood to run the Phoneline Trail at Sabino Canyon. I squeezed in about 4 1/2 by myself beforehand and ran home to make it an even 14. The weather here in Tucson is incredible these days, and a nice, steep run into the canyon was just what the doctor ordered. I'm still feeling good and actually looking forward to my long run this weekend.

Training: 14 miles, 1:48:48, 7:49 pace, including 9 miles in Sabino Canyon at a steady pace


Scott said...

One thing I wonder about Lydiard and HADDly is how much improvement comes from weight loss? Ie you are going to drop weight if you run 100mpw this will probably lead to a greater increase in your running than any other factor no? Maybe this is the key factor in these programs? Just a question. Just wondering how your weight has changed over the course of your program?

Keep running.


Mike said...

Good question for sure. I dropped a total of ten pounds (from 178 to 168) during my first six months of Lydiard training. I lost about 8 pounds in the first 16 weeks, then two more towards the end. People on argue endlessly about how a drop or increase in weight affects performance. While I can't quantify exactly how much of a factor weight is, it must come into play. I haven't really been watching my weight this time around, since just getting in the miles has been tough enough so far.

Anonymous said...

I think it is also important to distinguish between good weight and bad weight. Personally, I do not think it hurts to put on 5-6 pounds of muscle on core and legs. I think the strength increases efficiency, and for whatever reason I tend to get sick less often when i have a few more pounds on me (4-5).

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Phoneline, too cool. How far up did you go?

I'll be up there tomorrow - then heading back to Sabino basin, then down the road...Someday soon, I'll do the Bear-Sabino loop (haven't done it yet).

Eric said...

I'm surprised how little weight I have 'lost' since beginning high mileage. I went from 158 to 147 in the first four months, and haven't lost anything since.

I would have expected to continue losing throughout, but my appetite must have caught up with my running habit at some point.

One huge benefit is the lowering of impact on your legs. You're definitely more injury prone at the higher weight.

Sasha Pachev said...

I actually gain weight sometimes when I increase the mileage. Not much - just a couple of pounds - from 143 to 146 or so. However, when somebody that has consistently run no more than 40 miles a week gradually builds up to 80 or more, there will be an improvement using just about any training method, unless it is something extremely foolish, eg. 80 miles one day, and no running for the rest of the week. I think the loss of weight is a big factor, as well as musclar, cardiovascular, and biomechanical development. You learn to run by running. When you run, you become more like a runner and less like a sitter.

After you get there, then it is time to figure out what it is that makes your body tick.

Mike - are you taller than you look on the picture, do you have big bones, or is there any other reason for your weight to be that high? From the looks, which could be deceptive, I would have put you at about 150-155, no more.

Mike said...

Sasha, I'm 6'2" with large bones, the photo was taken from above so perhaps there's some foreshortening. My inseam is only 32" though, so I have a very long body/arms and short legs. I'll take 155 as a compliment though!

Rick said...


It's incredible that you would spend that much time answering my question. I can't thank you enough.