Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Duplicate Copy

Today called for 7 miles at about 6 minute pace, or up to 6:10 or so if I felt too uncomfortable at 6 flat. This was an interesting workout, mostly due to the fact that I'm supposed to duplicate it tomorrow. The goal is to have two even efforts, so in the back of my mind as I cruised along I kept thinking, "Am I relaxed enough to do this tomorrow?". The answer most of the time was yes, though there was a point as I was rolling towards the end of the uphill section on mile 4 where the lungs had a different opinion. The strange thing was that after a few tough minutes where my average pace drifted up to 6:02 or so, things started to calm down again an and I began feeling better. The feet were a little noisier than usual, and it felt like I was clomping along more than I have been, but it wasn't too big of a deal. I do notice that when I finish the fifth mile of these efforts I'm usually fine for the rest of the run. I blame this in part on the body recognizing that most of the workout is over, and the brain realizing that I'll be able to finish the workout on pace if I just don't freak out about it.

All in all it was a good day, though the pace did feel a little tougher than I remember it feeling in the weeks leading up to the marathon. The thing is, it's not always a breeze, and it's not always the end of the world when something that should be very comfortable just isn't quite there. It's easy to have this perspective when you get to go out tomorrow and give it another shot.

Training: 9.6 miles, 1:00:28, 6:17 pace, w/7 miles at 6:00 pace


Thomas said...

I don't know if you've read "Lore of Running". The author thinks that your running capacity is guarded by a part in your brain ("central governor") that stops you from running too hard to damage yourself. Once you near the end of your run it gives you more leeway.

I have no idea how true that theory is, but it goes with what you've just said, that the end of the run feels easier.

Mike said...

Some crazy guy in North Dakota sent me the Noakes book awhile back. The great information in there seems endless. I think the "governor" phenomenon is a very interesting concept, though I've only really thought about it in regards to slowing down towards the end of the marathon, like in this article.

Maybe the secret is training the body (and the mind) well enough and often enough near goal pace/stress so that we don't feel stressed enough to slow down. Figuring out optimal training might be at the heart of it. Looks like in your case you've gotten the body about as ready as it could be for your first ultra. Good luck man.

Eric said...

Good article. I tend to agree with the central governor model. Of all the bonks I've experienced (all four of them), I never felt like I couldn't run anymore. It was always a 'brain' thing--I didn't *want* to run anymore.

I don't know how trainable that quality is. It's a very basic, systemic survival thing. I think it's good to know what it feels like for reference, but knowing how to avoid it consistently is probably the more useful skill.

I think there is something to what you're saying, Mike, in that the secret is hitting your mind (and body) with the goal pace often enough that it is satisifed it can deal with the stress.

That sounds a little bit like saying the mind has a mind of its own, but that could very well be true. Our brains don't trust us to operate our own major organs, so why would it give us the keys to the control room?

Ingo said...

What really sets mankind apart from other creatures is the possibility to disconnect will from brain (reason). In that respect we have a back door to the control room Eric mentioned. This has given us the greatest inventions like fire, wheel and the learjet. Only problem is the flipside of it. The downside is same as deep as the upside. And if we look closer, brilliancy and madness are very closely related. Same as PB's and bonking. Why am I writing this early in the morning anyway??