Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Neither Fast Nor Relaxed

An email from the coach yesterday indicated he thought I might be ready to start getting a move on again. He prescribed a dose of 20x200, which is a workout I've never tried before. It was a staple of Lydiard's training, especially in the earlier schedules where it made a weekly appearance during the entire conditioning phase.

I went for a jog last evening to determine whether to do the workout this morning or to wait another day, and by the end of four easy miles at sunset the legs felt like they were just getting started. Wednesday would be the day.

The three reasons for the workout, straight from the coach:
1. Work on form-hips forward, run tall, good smooth pull-back with straight leg extension (not sitting in a bucket)
2. Work on relaxation at speed
3. Work on the internal reduction of 02 inside the muscle fibers so they become more efficient at pulling it across the cell wall.

Still trying to figure out that last one, so I focused on the first two. After a hilly 4 mile warm up I hit the Catalina Foothills High School track. The girls' soccer team was just starting some sort of conditioning practice towards the edge of the field, and they had thoughtfully piled all their crap in lanes 1 and 2. God forbid you should get your duffel bag damp. Soon enough they had splayed out in lanes 1-5 to do assorted crunches and ball-passing drills, so it was determined immediately which half of the track would be the recovery 200 (which of course was the half with the wind at my back). Again, you play on grass, why not do your drills on grass? Phil, help me out here.

Anyway, as you can imagine from the title of the post and my abnormally grouchy tone it didn't go so well today. I had in my mind the coach's formula that 20x200 would pretty much come out to an equivalent 10K time with an easily jogged recovery. The example he gave (which is pretty much me with my previous fitness levels) was a 200 at 34 seconds, plus a 68 seconds for a 200 jog times 20 equals 34 minutes.

As I hit the gas through the first turn I felt a bit rusty, and at 36 seconds the watch confirmed it. While I was able to get the second one down to 35 seconds, that was the only time I'd see those digits together for the whole workout. A sea of 36's and 37's followed, all with around 60-65 seconds of recovery, and when I dipped into 38 for a few beyond 10 I knew the end was near. I had stopped counting and instead waited for the sting in the legs to start materializing in the first 50 rather than the last 50 like the first few reps. With another 38 I thought I felt it, and with one last 38 the knockout was delivered. I stopped after a final 200 easy to see 25 minutes on the watch for 15x200's plus the recoveries.

The one mile jog back to the car was eternal, mostly because it was an uphill slog to get there, and I was thankful to have the run over with. All in all I guess it was a good re-introduction to the fast stuff, and I'm sure I'll get the step after a few weeks of workouts like this. I'm not where I was, but after the last seven days of training I can say with some confidence that I'm on the way up again. I just need to forget about that bit from the coach where this workout shows I'm back to running 10K's at 36 or 37 minutes.

Training: Today, 9 miles, w/15x200 with a 200 jog recovery. Most in the 36-37 range, with a few 38's just to tick me off a bit.
Yesterday pm., 4 miles easy around 7:30 pace


Omniscient said...

We did a similar workout in HS twice a year but the entire interval was on the minute which equated to walking to lane 8 and back to lane 1 before the clock started again. I distinctly remember hating this workout when we did it early in the year and remember breezing through it in the midst of the competition season. So, I understand your struggle completely. Anyways, you got a month before the Sun Run so all should be good.

Maybe it had something to do with your blood pH?

Mike said...

Your workout sounds a bit more like the 30-30's that Lucas has been doing. In other words, no fun at all.

I think most of the difficulty came from not really running strides or doing any legitimate form work since the marathon rather than pH levels, though I could certainly be wrong. I think the neurotransmitters are getting some interference from the muscles needed to run fast, as I really had to concentrate to keep good form. While this certainly wasn't a sharpening workout, I think that by doing more of this type of work that when the sharpeners really do come around again I'll see more benefit as the body will be ready for this sort of fast turnover.

Michael said...

Hang in there, it’ll get better from here on in (there is nothing like scraping the rust out).

Our coaches must be on the same wavelength re: workouts now as Friday afternoon Bruce has me doing: 2 sets of 15x 30"H/30"E with 90" rest btw sets (hard is about 3k effort). After your report today, I’ll be sure to do my efforts on the road where I won’t have a yardstick to be measured by.

Until later...

Omniscient said...

Yeah, the blood pH level discussion in one of those articles was starting to get good before the Shop got busy so I didn't find an opportunity to finishing reading it. I thought I would throw it out there for fun though.

See you at the run.

Mystery Coach said...

It is a good thing I didn't give 31 seconds and 62 seconds rest as an example ( for a 31 minute 10K runner) because Mike would be hanging up his shoes about now.

Even if Mike only did 8 reps in 40 seconds ( with 120 second rest) today and called it quits that would have been a full intensity workout.

One of the reasons the workout felt so hard was that calling on all the fibers to fire at the same time is something they have not done since the last speed workout.

The 200 are long enough to reduce the oxygen level in side the fiber to zero ( well almost zero) this causes puts a huge demand on the oxygen supply system ( heart, lungs, blood, and enzymes) to refill the empty fiber. They are not too long to produce a huge amount of lactate.

One final point that I always bring up: "Workouts show what condition you are in, they don't make you into that condition."

Eric said...

Maybe you shouldn't be doing tequila shooters after every repeat. I know that screws me up every time.

Seriously, this was good work. A wise man (guy?) from Arizona once told me, 'you have to start somewhere'. Speed comes around quickly, and the stuff that lets you run 33 minutes for 10k is already in your legs.

Everything is going to be just fine.

Phil said...

I can't explain why the girls were doing ball drills on the track ... doing drills on a perfectly flat surface is like training for a 50 mile trail race on a tread-mill. I can explain why they put all there gear in lanes 1 and 2 ... they're teenage girls and didn't want to get anything wet. My daughter would have been the first person to dump her bag down in front of you had she been there.

What a work out. My first reaction to seeing 20x200 was, "oh my god". After whining about my little 5x600 repeats yesterday, I was blown away by the prospect of running 20 repeats, even at 1/3 the distance.

Nice performance.

Homeslice said...

Keep in mind that those 'slow' 38s are equivalent to a 15:50 5k. String a few of those together and you're doing pretty good!