Thursday, April 20, 2006

No More Underdog

14 easy miles this morning after 6 last evening with the folks from The Running Shop. The top-outside of my right quadricep still feels a little strained, and I could definitely notice it on the uphills on the second half of my run this morning. While I struggled to run slowly (recovery pace) at the beginning, it became much easier to do so after 10 miles. I just didn't have too much spring in my step, but with another easy and shorter day tomorrow hopefully I'll feel good for the 5K this Saturday.

On my run I started thinking about my first Lydiard training build last fall, and how different things are this time around. It was much more dramatic to go from averaging around 50 miles a week to close to double that for 26 weeks. It was ambitious to try and knock 8 minutes off my marathon best. It was cool to finally win a race outright for the first time, and to see my times drop across almost all of the distances I race. I really did transform myself, not in an Oprah or movie-of-the-week way but in terms of how much effort and discipline I was willing to devote to a sport I love. Arthur Lydiard's training methods made it possible, but I did the work.

So now comes the sequel. The characters are familiar, the plot is a retread. After averaging close to 90 miles a week for the last build, I just can't up and double the workload anymore. It's lunacy to think I can shave another 8 minutes from the marathon in one go. I also have 17 weeks instead of 26, which complicates things further.

So it's time for refinement. Three years is still the plan, and I'm not even a third of the way there. Lorraine Moller, who coaches theWings of Mercury track club in Colorado refers to this as the "art of training" or coaching. I need to really focus now on just how each workout will lead towards my ultimate goal-incremental and continued improvements in speed, endurance, and efficiency. These will lead to lower times. Yes, I'm a training geek, but I prefer to call myself a student of the sport. My homework this week and throughout the remaining 6 weeks of training will be to figure out how to use Lydiard's principles and schedules to my best advantage, while still managing to be a decent husband and father.

It is tougher this time, mainly because things are shifting from just training harder (inevitable the first go-around with Lydiard training) to training smarter. And "smarter" is tough for a guy who can't even twist the cap on straight on the gallon of milk in the fridge.

Training: Today, 14 miles, 1:43:56, 7:27 pace. Felt easy at first, labored a little towards the end.
Yesterday pm., 6 miles, 42 minutes with The Running Shop gang. Felt very good.


Duncan Larkin said...

Mike, recall too that you are training to run into ever-increasing realms of difficulty, time-wise. Personally, it's all atomic to me, the closer I get to my immediate goal (2:29 or 5:43 miles), the closer I am to splitting the atom. The closer I get to splitting the atom, the more dire the consequences and the more work required to move things along at ever-decreasing scales. I use to wield 70 miles a week and a 5k race for speed to chop 5 minutes here annd 10 minutes there. Now I wield 120 miles a week with track workouts just to get me 2 or so measly minutes. Now that's marathoning.

The Wife said...

Hope your sequel doesn't jump the shark.

He's right about the milk cap. Don't even think he's kidding.

Mike said...

Hardy-har-har Kiera. Duncan, I hear you. I actually miss the days when I could do a 16, 18 and 22 miler each week and just fill in the other days with however much running I could manage. These days require tools with much more precision than I'm used to dealing with, all for the smaller gains you mention. So far it looks like you're handling it well. Still wish I was doing VCM instead of San Diego, but them's the breaks.

Sasha Pachev said...

About the milk cap. Is that under normal circumstances, or just after the run? Do you have a significantly below-average manual dexterity?

The reason I am asking is because I do. It takes me about 3 times as long to unscrew a screw as it does just about any other man I know, and about 1.5 times or so longer than my wife.

I also have had a lazy right eye from an early age, which I believe has something to do with it. And an overall natural tendency towards clumziness, which I believe affects my running form. On the other hand, the guys that can train less and still beat me do not seem to have this problem. I have suspected for a while that if you have a hard with general coordination, your economy suffers a lot. But I do not have enough data to be fully convinced. And I do not yet know how to solve the coordination problem getting in the way of running economy.

The Wife said...

Mike's only problem is that he's a lefty. Well, that, and he loses interest in menial tasks far too quickly for sufficient follow-through.