Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Words to Live By

"Also top runners, marathon training, don't jog around, they run at a pace from 5 minutes, 15 sec. to 6 minutes per mile in their training runs."

"When training is to begin for middle and distance running, it is advisable for the athlete to think deeply about his event and try to understand what he is evdeavoring to acheive, so as to eliminate from his mind any confusion regarding various types of running and training, and go about his training with the confidence so necessary to become a champion. He is actually trying to develop sufficient stamina to maintain the necessary speed over the full distance attempted."

These quotes are from a 1970 book of training schedules by Arthur Lydiard, so kindly emailed to me by the mystery coach who has been helping me along. I wish I had added this to yesterday's post, as it definitely pertains to correct long run pacing and training paces in general. I think there really is some value in keeping the training paces up, as long as the body can recover between workouts. Evan kindly added a comment with a link to this great article by Kevin Beck that extols the values of training more often and faster. I especially liked his take on pace for recovery runs. "If you're in a period of training without immediate racing goals, you can run as fast as you want to every day as long as your rate of recovery, on the whole, outstrips your rate of breakdown."

I'm gradually coming around to believing that Arthur's boys were running much harder on a daily basis than I previously thought. It's probably a good thing, in hindsight, to figure this out a year into my serious training, as I might have actually done myself some damage if I had tried running my first weeks at higher mileage any faster than I did. All the times Nobby Hashizume said "be patient, the times will come down" are now starting to make sense, it's just taken longer than I realized it would.

Today was just a distance day for me, on the heels of a 2 mile time trial yesterday and a ten mile moderate/strong effort on Monday. I had in mind a day spent at 6:45 to 6:50 pace, but was genuinely surprised to find myself progressing down to an average 6:37 pace by the end of 16 miles. Only the last mile took any effort, and I attribute that to meeting up with a friend on the last mile. Trying to hold a conversation brought my breathing up in the last 5 minutes, but it was a nice way to end the run. Looking at this week and last week, and watching the speeds increase without any real rise in effort makes me think of the magic Eric experienced a few months back, where every few days I would check his blog and be amazed by how much faster he was running. I'm not there yet, but things are improving.

Training: 16 miles, 1:45:56, 6:37 pace


Phil said...

Mike .. "Arthur's boys" weren't raising a family, so I don't really think they were working any harder back then than you are today.

I went back through your training log to confirm that your average pace has improved dramatically over the past 6 months. Take a look at where you were in March of this year. I could have actually kept up with you for one day back then assuming I was running my race pace against your easy pace. Today, I'd need to use a motorcycle to keep up. The progression has been amazing. You are definitely running at a new level.

Marc said...

"be patient, the times will come down"

Patience is my worst enemy.

Good post on the subject of pace. My intellectual capacity for running science is rather limited. I tend to favor your "value in keeping the training paces up, as long as the body can recover between workouts" approach. I have read some of the stuff on the 'run slow to run fast approach' and even put it to practice this week on my long run with great immediate results (thatis, actually being able to finish the run feeling fresh and without bonking), but still prefer the 'train fast to run fast' approach that appeals to my need for simplicity. I mean, it just makes sense to my little brain.

My head is hurting just writing all this down.

Now, where's that ibuprofin?

But wait, this isn't all about me. You are really running well. I admire your dedication to seek out wisdom and put in the effort to achieve great things running wise. And you are, or will, or...well you know what I mean.

Scooter said...

The thing that my time with Arthur made clear was that even with focused training, progress occurs over about a five year period.

Meantime, those opening paragraphs are wonderful. They're clear, eloquent, and concise, just what good coaching should be. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.