Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Further or Faster??

Well duh...both of course.

The problem with trying to get in 100 miles, or close to it in single runs is the duration of each run. In my case I'm going at least 12 miles for six days of the week or so, which seems to take between 80 and 90 minutes. When 90 minutes constitutes a "short" day, it means a lot of time out on the road.

Arthur Lydiard found that 100 miles per week seemed to be the ideal number for his runners, but they were averaging 6 minute pace. His time-based schedule of 60, 90, 60, 90, 60, 120, and 90 minutes over the course of a week works out to 8.5 hours of training. Of course his runners also did a second run on most days at an easy pace, which probably brought their weekly totals closer to 160 miles, but lets forget that for a minute.

It takes me a bit over 12 hours to hit 100 miles in a week, which is a fair amount of time. While an "easy" day of 60 minutes seems easy to stomach, 80-90 starts to drag on occasion. I also sometimes think that I would be able to run closer to my "maximum steady state" on these shorter runs if the distance was a little less. I know today I was thinking about surviving the last four miles while I was running the first eight, probably due to neglecting to eat enough complex carbohydrates yesterday. I did run the last mile at marathon pace though, which brought my average pace down to 7:11 after spending most of the run around 7:20 or so.

One solution is to run more doubles, but I honestly believe that longer single runs promote more aerobic development. Also, trying to squeeze in a second run before dinner is next to impossible, especially when the temperature is a crippling 102 or so.

For the time being I'll continue putting in the longer runs, trusting what Lydiard has said about the conditioning phase. "The times will come down on their own, almost without you realizing it." Sounds good about now.

12 miles, 1:26:31, 7:11 pace, with last mile at 6:00 pace


Mark said...

I have been thinking about Lydiard's method also compared to the time I am submitting to--10-11 hours for 70-80 and will creep to 12 hours when I hit 100.

Short day is currently 60 minutes for me, actually a minimum unless I feel crappy.

Next, will be doubles to achieve 100 we will see--What's new and exciting is I did my second Lactate Threshold Workout and am happy with the improvement. I kind of wonder about the upper end, 180HR, ever do these?

Austin said...

Apropos of nothing, I stumbled across your blog a couple of weeks ago, and was impressed enough to go back to the beginning and read the whole darn thing, all the way through. You write well.

I'm really impressed by your ability to consistently get up at ungodly hours to run, despite whatever monkey wrenches life has thrown in the works. In fact, your consistency in general is worthy of note; I'm inspired to increase my own.

I do have a question: when you start the blog you're already several weeks into your initial Lydiard build-up, and you never comment much on what you'd been doing before in terms of weekly running, beyond saying it was about fifty miles per week. I'm trying to increase my mileage from an anemic thirty-five or so per week to roughly double that, and I'm curious how you made the transistion to 7 days of running per week and much higher mileage. Did you just dive in? Was it a much more gradual thing? I'm not in anything close to your class of runner, but I'd like to improve from where I am, preferably without incurring a permanent injury....

Anyway, many thanks for a consistently interesting, well-written blog. I've been inspired to think a lot more about why I choose to run what I run, and that's priceless.

Greg said...

So does this mean that you no longer are making concessions to the Lydiard philosophy?

For me, I've found that 9 runs a week works for me. It forces me to still log big mileage at least twice a week, but still gives me a relatively manageable distance on most other days.

Plus, I think running twice a day a couple of times a week adds a certain degree of toughness to the schedule. Of course that's completely unscientific and very subjective.

Matt said...

Running 100 on singles may be what Lydiard found worked best for his athletes. As you say, 100 miles at 6 minute pace translates into less time training than what you're putting in.

However, you already note that "100 in singles" isn't the same for everybody. Renato Canova (the Italian Coach) has mentioned a number of times the need to differentiate between the "external" (that is in this case, the mileage) load, and the "internal" (i.e. effort required) load.

You certainly are following the training principles of one of the most respected (read: THE most respected) coaches of all time. However, perhaps you could benefit from taking into consideration the "internal" load when planning your miles. Perhaps a little doubling would help you absorb and recover from the training.

Mike said...

Mark, I haven't done much of the true LT work, and I'm in the middle of evaluating some tables a coach sent me regarding this, specifically the Peter Janssen tables a coach sent me. If I go by this, "steady state" runs during conditioning for a 2:39 marathoner puts the fastest effort at 5:45, which for me is probably around 155-160 heart rate. More on this later.

Austin, check out my log and scroll down to the bottom to see my pre-Lydiard days, it goes back to January of 2005. I stepped it up very rapidly, but slowed WAY down for the first month or so. I pretty much stretched out the singles and longer runs until I hit 70, started to work in a few doubles, then stretched things some more. Everyone's different though.

Greg, I don't think I'll ever stop making concessions, it's just inevitable with a job and family. I like 9 runs too, and they do make you tough. I like Lydiard's quote that a second run daily "sends a message" to the body.

Matt, you're right about the importance of differentiating between the different "loads" of time versus effort. For some reason this logic doesn't work very well on a wife and two kids when I come home after being away for 7+ hours at work along with the 2 hours of running in the morning. "Just hold dinner and keep taking care of the kids honey, I'll be back in 45 minutes" seldom cuts it, though I have a once a week evening run scheduled. The older you get, the more recovery becomes a family affair.

Zeke said...

Well, just think about us slower runners. It takes me 14+ hours to get 100.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Well, technically, you don't want to run further, because you log your runs by miles, not time. (farther = distance, further = time)
~courtesy of Angie's inner grammer geek

anyway, good luck on your quest :)

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric said...

Technically, you are incorrect, Angie. There is no such distinction between the two words. Farther is indeed defined as a comparative measure of distance, and the commonly accepted definition of further is as an abstract comparative measurement (time, space, distance, etc.). In terms of measuring distance, there is a semantic difference between the two words.

Mike is an excellent writer. I haven't seen him make a common grammatical or spelling mistake yet. He's still perfect. He could stand to keep his chin down in pictures more often, but his grammar is spot on.

Mike said...

Nice to know you've got my back Eric. Lately I've been blogging while watching Haiden and Finn. Kiera is at the gym, and I'm usually trying to eat breakfast and get Haiden dressed for school while posting mileage. I definitely have some problems with dependent/independent clauses and whether to use a hyphen, colon or semicolon.

Angie, as always your grammar is above reproach, even while surfing on a vicodin prescription.

Eric said...

Yes, I'm sure you're thrilled to know that when the chips are down in a word fight, I'll be right there swinging away.

And as long as I am word fighting, I should point out that further/farther isn't even a question of correct grammar, it's a question of meaning. Grammar is syntax and structure. Meaning is usage. Grammar is a relatively inflexible set of rules, and meaning can be very fluid and is subject to change. Dictionaries are published annually to reflect changes in language and meaning, grammar books are not.

I'm hungry.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Okay, Eric, I cry "uncle." However, I still stand by what I said; I do believe that in Mike's case, since he is so insistent upon logging his runs as miles, farther would have been the correct terminology (or, yes, meaning).
~courtesy of Angie's humbled inner grammar geek

Eric said...

No crying in a word fight! =) Farther is more common, and 'reads' better to most people because it is more common in speech. Like I said, it's a minor semantic difference.

Kind of like the difference between Mike's regular weeks and his recovery weeks. Zing!