Friday, October 03, 2008

The New Easy, Redux

Yesterday Michael asked, "Have you noticed that your recovery runs have been slower than in the past? Have you worked on making that so?"

The short answer to both questions is yes. Last summer I had a very hard time building miles and training volume during my conditioning for the Twin Cities marathon. During my first 11 weeks of base building I only averaged 83 miles a week, with weeks 9 through 11 at 77, 72 and 73 miles. In retrospect, I did most of these runs at 7 minute pace or faster, and as a result I either cut too many short or was too tired to add a second run when I needed to. I think in the end I just didn't build my conditioning up with enough miles to make the most of the specific training afterwards.

For New York I felt I needed to get back to higher volume, and when I started my conditioning phase in the heat of summer I took a cue from the three weeks of easy, watch-free running the coach forced on me before starting the training cycle. I'd come out of this forced off-season feeling very fresh, and running slow when I needed to (without the pressure of the watch) seemed to be a big part of it. Why mess with a good thing?

My first 11 weeks of training this time found me averaging 94 miles per week, including one week of 70 miles when I was sick and working away from home. I don't think I could have managed it without the slow five milers on the treadmill at the gym and several days a week at slower than 7 minute pace. I don't know whether it's an age thing or not, but it's just what seems to be working. It also seems to have the side benefit of making the workout days go smoother, which would stand to reason. I also think it makes me less of a crank to be around, but I guess Kiera would be the better judge of that.

10 miles, 1h09m, 6:53 pace
Sleep: 8h, 8/10
Legs: 7/10 Holding back at first, tight quads at the end
Weather: So nice I'd feel guilty posting it

16 miles, 1h49m, 6:53 pace
Sleep: 7,5h 7/10
Legs: 7/10 A little fatigue towards the end
Weather: Perfect

10/1/08 pm., 5 miles around 7:20 pace, 90 degrees


Anonymous said...

My gut feel is that now you are thus getting to, or getting back to, the real purpose of the Lydiard conditioning (i.e., 'building') phase. My gut feel is that over the passing of time, the Internet voices have distorted the intent of this crucial phase, by implying that the intensity in it needs to be cranked up, to counter all the "LSD naysayers", trying to justify the supposed superiority of Daniels, Pfitz, etc. which gloss over the crucial "base" period.

Is it not true that Lydiard claimed he could take a sedentary middle-aged man, and get him up to 100 miles a week within 10 weeks? In order to do that, volume has to take precedence over speed/intensity.

Ewen said...

That's good to hear Mike. I think you are on to a good thing this preparation.

I think it's true that we sometimes have to "work" at making the recovery runs sufficiently slow and easy so that they are in fact recovery runs.

Don't feel guilty about posting the weather. We're in a perfect time down here too - high teens to low 20s C and no humidity :)

by7 said...

about the "slower" easy days for recover, I can just say: HOLY WORDS !!