Friday, November 02, 2007

Frequency and Duration

Mystery Coach emailed a new schedule last evening and cautioned me against worrying about the higher than usual mileage totals at the ends of several weeks. The plan arrived just as I was comparing a few of the different fatigue models for running. The old school model of muscle acidosis tells of ever-increasing levels of lactate in the working muscles eventually choking off their ability to forcefully contract with excess hydrogen ions. Then there's the competing theory of the central nervous system essentially shutting down the activation of muscle fibers when it senses damage will eventually be done after running what it feels is either too long, too fast (or a combination of both). Daniels, Lydiard and countless others seem to favor the former, while Tim Noakes and more recently Matt Fitzgerald (who penned the "Brain Training for Runners" book I just read) seem to favor the "central governor theory" of the latter (Running Times article by Fitzgerald here). Jason Karp just wrote a nice article describing both theories in the December Running Times issue.

Regardless of the differences in these two models, proponents of both theories use the same two words with regularity when describing optimal methods of combating late-race fatigue: Frequency and duration. Looks like I'm in for a bit of both.

Training: 12 miles, 1:26:00, 7:10 pace, w/3x 30 second steep hill sprints (full recoveries) and 8x100 accelerations/strides, 300 jogs

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