Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Getting Tough

Form on the track, guts on the road.

Today it was guts, and I think I'm a bit soft in that category. Come to think of it, I'm not so great on the form either, though hopefully both will come in time. I learned a bit about the body during my second 5K time trial since the marathon: once the wheels start shaking I still have a mile in me before they rattle off the frame.

Tough night last night as our daugther simply would not stay in bed between 2:30 and 3:30. My wife and I took two turns apiece playing bouncer, and when the coffee maker started dripping at 5:30 I felt like I'd just gone to bed. Our son Finn awoke as I poured a mug, and I spent the next hour feeding him breakfast and trying to keep him quiet so the wife and daughter could get a bit more rest. By the time everyone was up and fed it was almost 7:30 and my insides were feeling jumpy. At first I thought it was the coffee, but after it didn't go away with a piece of toast I figured out that it was nerves over the 5K. I was hoping to hold 5:30 pace for the effort, though last week running two 5:36's and one 5:32 had me feeling quite grim.

Four miles of warm up and a change of shoes found me starting from the same point on my one mile course as last week. The course has a rise of about 80 feet, and I think by starting at the mid-point of the gentle incline I have the most success. With a beep of the watch I was off and running, and with my heart up in my throat I passed mile one in 5:28 or so. Mile two found me struggling about 800 meters in, and I was surprised to hit about 5:29 after rounding the last turn and crossing the start point. Mile three started again with about 400 meters of uphill, and I found myself feeling quite cooked. The heart was really thumping and the legs started to get that lactic acid ache. When I finally rounded the second turn and started heading downhill I was amazed to still be at 5:29. This is where the wheels started rattling and the spit started to fly. Any feelings of trying to run relaxed and smooth vanished as I grunted my way to the finish. Mile three passed in 5:29 and the last .1 seemed to take forever. 17:00.

The heart was at 168 immediately following, then 132 a minute after and 120 a minute later. I was actually pleased to see the higher number for the effort, as I take it to mean the body is finally opening itself up to these tougher efforts.

Training: 8 miles, 53:20, 6:39 pace, w/5K time trial in 17:00, 5:29 pace
Yesterday pm., 4 miles at a blistering 8 minute pace while pushing both kids in the stroller.

11 comments:

Eric said...

Nice TT, Mike. The recovery was pretty quick as well.

How do you differentiate the effort of these trials versus a race effort? If a time trial at 17-flat feels like this, how can you turn around and run a 16:20 on the same course with a race number pinned on and a few more people around? I'm not sure I understand what a time trial is supposed to be for.

Mystery Coach said...

If I had to put one word to Arthur Lydiard system it would be "evaluation". Debates run on and on whether you should run at such and such pace or such and such distance often leave the athlete's present condition out of the equation ( often a future goal is used as the bases for the workouts). Arthur always could evaluate better than any other coach on what an athlete needed at any point in their training cycle. If there is anything that a coach or an athlete should take from it his system it should be that fact.

When Mike ran his evaluation trail ( I try to stay away from the phrase "time trial" ). Even though he had a goal of running an even 5:30 pace (17:06) the important thing to observe was how quickly he recovered and whether the pace felt fast. From that information we'll adjust his training to include more rest, more speed or more steady pace work. My initial impression ( I haven't heard from Mike ) is that his ability to relax at speed still needs work. It usually takes five to six weeks to develop the ability to relax at a new speed level. After that lighter sharper work will hold it for a long while.

Mike said...

Eric, the difference between an effort like this and a race for me has as much to do with the week's training leading up to it as it does in the actual execution. I try to go into these evaluations from regular training (I don't save up by going super easy or tapering). Because of that I certainly run a bit slower and feel less smooth. I also was told to hold 5:30 pace, which feels like a much different challenge than going as fast as possible and sprinting at the end.

Make no mistake, this was a tough workout, but the effort felt like 90% of a race effort at the very worst parts. I found myself wishing these were three mile repeats with rest in-between each time I crossed the mile mark.

The biggest difference between an effort like this and a race is how I feel immediately after, and how I feel a half an hour later. The heart rate finished higher last week (which I take as a good sign), but the beats per minute plunged down fairly quickly. While eating breakfast afterwards my legs felt like it was just an ordinary run. After a race I'm seriously seeing stars, and after walking to a stop I have to force myself to do any sort of cool-down. I feel completely empty. If I ever sound like this after an evaluation run I'll know I've either gone too hard or I seriously need to add more recovery.

Mike said...

Also, my take from this workout goes along with what the coach mentions about me not being able to relax at speed. While doing this workout I was reminded of this workout of 3x1 mile and 2x800 on November 7. "Miles of 5:16, 5:15 and 5:11 followed, with a recovery of 2 minutes after the first one and 2:30 after the second. I simply could not believe how good and fresh I felt, even with the shorter recoveries. I even joined Lucas for two 800's in 2:30 and 2:27, and both felt worlds better than any of the 800's I ran on Sunday though the last one filled up the legs enough to call it a day."

That workout a month before the marathon found me running in that fast and relaxed groove. I know it when it comes on, and after being able to hold the pace today it probably won't be too long until I feel this way again.

Lawrence said...

Nice evaluation run.....

Mark said...

that's excellent work, considering running one myself as mystery coach says that present condition is important

I like the use of recovery HR monitoring. I take that is while milling about and not continual running, right?

Mike said...

Definitely milling around Mark. I pretty much step off the road and walk around in the dirt for the two minutes, then finish it off with a cool-down. I have a heart rate monitor somewhere but the battery in the transmitter is dead. The old fashioned way works well enough, I just take 30 seconds worth for each of the three readings.

eric said...

Thanks for defining the evaluation versus the time trial. I always thought a time trial was more like a race effort without the kick, a 7/8 effort as Lydiard defined it.

Marc said...

I love this stuff. Great conversation and discussion.

Dusty said...

Sweet time trial! Congrats at staying with your goal! I forgot what 5:30 feels like - do you get wind burn? hee hee!

Dusty said...

whoops - just saw mystery coach's comment. Let me revise...

Sweet evaluation! :) I learn so much on these blogs!