Friday, October 27, 2006

Why Not be Kind to Mike?

Three items are on my "to do" list for training this week.
1. Recover from race
2. Run first track workout since May
3. Back to back efforts on Saturday/Sunday

We'll see about number three starting tomorrow, and number two seemed to go off without too much trouble. It's number one that I've probably neglected a bit this week, which is a trap I often fall into. I'm not the only runner who has this fault, and it reminds me of a few passages in the Buddy Edelen book I just finished. In A Cold Clear Day the author Frank Murphy writes of the difficulties Buddy's coach Fred Wilt had in getting Edelen to rest or recover enough. This passage recounts some of the notations Fred left on Buddy's training logs, which he sent along by mail every few days.

"Fred knew what he was up against and he tried regularly to get Buddy to understand himself well enough to change: "the compulsion to run and restlessness comes from mental inferiority complex"; "here comes the old insecurity again"; "you are just now to the point where you could go too far"; "I cannot kill your spirit but you are your own worst enemy. Why not be kind to Buddy Edelen? Why kill him now?" Fred's protests illustrate the sharp edge in Buddy Edelen. The same motivations that made Buddy a good runner could also destroy him."

Now I'm not comparing myself to a runner anywhere near Edelen's caliber, but when I look at the results for my last two marathons I would be hard pressed to say I should have worked much harder in order to obtain better results. For someone with a history of averaging around 50-60 mile weeks the workload I tried to adapt to over the past year seems like plenty. Aside from pacing errors during the early portions of both races, I simply don't think I structured the workouts effectively enough for me to get the most out of them. More rest was probably one of the problems.

Downeast Andrew had a good comment about the effort level during the anaerobic phase for a marathoner under Arthur Lydiard's training and its effect on recovery and maintenance of endurance. "During this phase, the focus is on developing the anaerobic system so the "off" days should be done at a low intensity. However, I think a lot of Lydiard's runners did not run the marathon and therefore could sacrifice distance to gain greater recovery from the speed work. In our case, the opposite may be true. We may need to tone down the intensity at the track so we may maintain recovery running in the double digits."

What I'm finding in my own training now is that there doesn't really seem to be much of a difference in how I feel during the "off" days. I head out the door with ten miles or so in mind, but whether I keep it there or stretch it to 12 or 16 miles I tend to feel the same if I keep the paces moderate. The temptation of course when feeling this way is to push it and run these days faster to see where the fatigue develops, but "fatigue" shouldn't really be in the vocabulary on these off days so I'm trying to keep things fairly slow.

Speaking of slow, I did sneak in an easy four miles last evening. I wanted to check on the legs a bit more after the track workout Wednesday, and they seemed to be feeling fine. This morning I had ten scheduled but stretched it out to 12. I've been starting these slowly and today was no exception. By the time I was still feeling fresh and the pace kept coming down, so I think I'm on track to start the back to back workouts tomorrow. Have a good day.

Training: Today, 12 miles, 1:23:30, 6:58 pace
Yesterday pm., 4 miles, 29:55, 7:29 pace

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I came across your log while doing a search on Buddy Edelen. I read his biography a few years ago and was inspired by his work ethic. Such a tragic story... He could have easily been the 1960's inspiration that Shorter & Rogers were in the 70's I also was intrigued by the success of Lydiard's runners and tried to follow his training program some years ago but I buckled under the weight of the miles. I have been much more successful with the Daniels Formula - tempo runs = anerobic threshold runs... Lydiard was the father of it all. Even Ernst Van Aaken owes him a lot