|Average last 3||391.7||376.8||375.3||391.8||397.8||378.3|
|Diff 1 and Ave||23.7||14.8||12.3||14.3||20.3||9.3 |
|Average last 3||397.8||378.3|
|Diff 1 and Ave||20.3||9.3|
Eval runs give a number of important clues about your training and about your recovery from training. The first two numbers to look at to see if the base training has progressed effectively are the average of the last 3 miles then the difference between the first mile and the last 3 mile average pace. Mike's last 3 miles average pace improvement from his first eval to his last eval was 13.4 seconds per mile ( or almost 6 minutes per marathon) at the same level of effort.
The second number which I feel is a more important one is the difference between the first mile time and the average of the last three (see the line "Diff 1 and Ave"). Mike improved from 23.7 seconds to 9.3 seconds. Why is this number important? It gives a very strong indication of how quickly your system responds to a load. When ever you start a race or respond to a surge (or hill) the faster your system can go to the efficient pathways instead of using stored buffers the more of those buffers you have to use at the end of a race. Imagine two runners one with a very quick response (runner A) the other with a slow response (runner B). When they race a mile runner A's system immediately responds with energy from efficient pathways, runner B uses system buffers until the efficient pathways become engaged. They get to the last quarter mile runner A has not used his buffer system and can now sprint, runner B used much of his buffers until his system got up to speed and now can not sprint. This response speed also is important in racing marathons with surges or hills if you can immediately get to the efficient pathways you avoid using the buffer (which uses fuel inefficiently). You'll notice even if runner B had a much higher peak value (VO2) and if it does not respond quickly his buffer system will be used until it catches up. This concept is important to keep in mind when developing your speed work (Tomorrows post will explain this).
Back to Mike's evals you'll notice that he had two where he appears to be going backwards (22-Jul and 5-Aug). After the 8-Jul eval I moved Mike's fast ten miler up a notch (10-15 seconds per mile) that and combined with his travel cause him to be on the short end of his recovery. These eval runs showed how quicky you can mess up your good conditioning by going too fast too quickly and not recovering fully. Even backing off the paces it still took a couple of weeks to recover fully. One or two over the top workouts is all it takes. Mike is coming out of this build up with a much quicker reponding and more efficient system, one that with proper speedwork should continue to improve.