Wednesday, September 12, 2007

For the Body, Not the Ego

Mystery Coach had a workout of 7x800 with 800 recoveries on the docket this morning, but due to a math error that caused me to warm up for too long and having to get back home in time for Kiera to run, I found myself with time for only 6 repeats.

I'm taking a bit of a different approach to these track sessions this time around. Instead of trying to kill each repeat and racing the watch, I'm focusing more on just getting the body to the right stress level. If it sounds like I'm wimping out, perhaps you're right. Still, I think one of the keys to me not peaking too early this time is to resist putting the "icing on the cake" too early, to borrow a phrase from Arthur.

It might be a good time to go back to what Mystery Coach wrote in his Arthur's Speed Work post about faster running: "Arthur constantly warned against running too much volume, too fast, too soon. By doing a small amount, not too fast at first you'll stimulate the greater number of holes without overwhelming the internal environment of the fiber. This is where he recommended 4 weeks of preliminary speed work at the bottom of the hill ( a little bit with long rest every 15 minutes). Only after this initial stimulation did he move on to greater volume but again not too fast to allow more time for the holes to develop to maximum. It was only then (after the fibers developed their maximum transfer and removal rate) that the very fastest coordination work was added. Now the fibers could handle the load of very fast running. Runners constantly ruin their good condition by doing too much too fast too soon. As you can see by running by feel with the above model in mind you can achieve the effect you want without forcing any of those "perfect" interval workouts upon yourself."

The last two sentences remind me of some of my interval sessions in the past. Often I found myself chasing faster and faster times, too soon before where I hoped to peak, and for what? Well, it sure looked good in the log. Unfortunately, I think it also contributed to bringing around a peak too soon, while at the same time putting more stress on my body than was needed during the last two months of training.

With this in mind I tackled the repeats with more focus on technique and tuning in to how my body felt, and less on the watch. 2:35, 2:35, 2:34, 2:33, 2:32, and 2:30 were the results. I was told by the coach to ease into the first 200, run 400 strong, then ease off a little for the last 200. I followed the advice as best I could, but by the fifth rep I seemed to feel more fatigue by easing a little at 600 so I just tried to maintain through the end of the last repeats.

Overall the intervals felt like I was running a hard 5K, and I took each of the full 800 recoveries without complaint. Fill it up, empty it out.

Training: 10 miles, 1:05:12, 6:31 pace, w/6x800 (800 recovery) in 2:35, 2:35, 2:34, 2:33, 2:32, 2:30


Eric said...

"For the body, not the ego"

I'd like to meet your ego sometime and beat it with a garden hose. It gets you in a lot of trouble.

"If it sounds like I'm wimping out, perhaps you're right."

Arghh, as Charlie Brown would say. You did the workout *correctly*. If that's wimping out, then strive for total wussiness my friend.

Nice work! Keep it up.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Great job with the track work. I'm just getting back to the track now and it's funny how quickly you start focusing on your form once you get on the track. I find it a great way to work on my fundimentals.

run the lydiard dream said...

i think arthur recommends not doing more than 5 k of efforts, so 6 x 800m is about right

run the lydiard dream said...

i use to do 5 x 1 mile,then i started to read about arthur lydiards system and cut down to 3 x mile. i seemed to get better results and ran my fastest 4 mile race for 2 years 22.32.
now i have started arthurs base training, and hope to get down to my best p.b. of 21.31 next summer.
i think at the end of the day you have to listen to your body and not blindly follow a training program,