Wednesday, June 11, 2008

6/10/2008 - The Mystery Coach review

Mike might be disappointed with this first evaluation run but has a very typical pattern and he is not as far down the rabbit hole as he thinks.

First a few explanations about the evaluation run, the HR level that I use is in a general range of 5-10 beats slower that you would find running at marathon pace. Why? Somewhere in that range is your maximum steady state. While the pace of the evaluation run has some value, it is the ability to maintain a pace at a consistent heart rate that is important at this stage. If we look at Mike's first eval you'll see 6:15 then a 10 second drop, then a 3 second drop, then a 6 second drop. Mike is having a hard time maintaining stability at a given heart rate, his system wants to still cheat by using inefficient pathways. The next ten weeks will have Mike staying away from those inefficient pathways (which can be fully redeveloped in about 7 weeks with the introduction of speed work).

What should you be looking for in eval runs during the base phase? First look for a very small drop off at the heart rate even if the average pace does not change. 6:25, 6:25, 6:25, 6:25 at the same HR would be a positive sign that the steady state pathways are developing. A second sign would be the HR returning to 120 (or what ever HR you pick as your recovery point) more quickly. The least important at this stage is running the evals faster, stability and recovery are the most important.


Mike said...

"Mike is having a hard time maintaining stability at a given heart rate, his system wants to still cheat by using inefficient pathways."

The body definitely wanted to run between 6:15 and 6:20 for all four once I got started, heart rate be damned, so I'm understanding what the coach is saying about my system "cheating" and tapping into the faster twitch fibers too early here.

I think one of my problems in the past has been taking my typical Saturday run during the early-middle part of the build, where I'm scheduled to run 6:15 or 6:20 pace, and running 6:05-6:10 because I think it's comfortable and I don't want to go any slower. In doing this, I can end up sabotaging the build by neglecting building up the more efficient pathways in favor of running faster paces once my adrenaline gets going.

I might have to break out the heart rate monitor for some of those "7 miles at x:xx pace runs just to ensure I'm keeping the heart rate steady along with the effort. It might make it easier to be patient this time around.

Ewen said...

Mike, I love the HRM for the easier runs just for that reason.

With the evaluation run HRs, is that the HR average for the split, or the max? Also, with the first mile, are you starting with an elevated HR, or from rest? Isn't the first mile always going to be quicker because you can run a bit faster for no 'cost' whilst the HR is climbing to the 150?

By the way, I think you need to take your iPod to the gym if you're to remain sane.

Mike said...

Good point on the HR monitor for easier runs Ewen, as the Garmin seems to have the opposite effect (tends to make me speed up too much).

The HR's were the average for each mile, and while I did run three miles to the track, I also stood on the infield for a minute or two trying to figure out how to track the averages on the monitor before I started the evaluation. This meant a fairly rested start, so it took the first 200 or so before I got the HR up to 150. I think it I'd just jumped into it directly from the warm up that the first mile would have been 6:20 or so.

I think I will bring the iPod to the gym, as apparently they play The Daily Show at 10am if you can snag a treadmill with a TV monitor mounted to it.

Anonymous said...

What %HRmax (or %HR reserve) is 150 for Mike? And do you suggest he do all his base-building mileage at this pace as he builds up? At what point would you say his system pathways are built up?

Ewen said...

Thanks Mike. I'll do one of these evaluation runs soon. There's a bit of a break after our warm-up run (for stretches and a walk to the track), so I think I'll run two laps prior to the first mile so I can be starting it at the target HR.