Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7/29/08

7/29/08
10 miles, 1h09m, 6:56 pace, a little tired the last 3
Sleep: 7h, 8/10
Legs: 6/10
Temperature: 63 degrees

7/28 pm., 5 miles easy, around 7:15 pace

Might have overdone things a bit yesterday, as the last three miles this morning seemed to take forever. The legs were a bit stiff and a little sore, probably due to the two faster days in a row combined with a hard day on my feet and a second run last evening. When I put it all in one sentence like that it leaves little doubt.

The goal today was to run very easy, but the easy paces are definitely faster when the temperature is 20 degrees less than what I'm used to and the humidity is cut in half. Only counted 14 cats this morning, which is a bit lighter than other days. Many seem too friendly to be feral, and it's a real shame to see them in the same spots year after year.

Monday, July 28, 2008

7/28/08

7/28/08
14 miles, 1h30m, 6:26 pace
Sleep: 9h (including nap), 8/10
Legs: 9/10
Temperature: 60 and perfect

7/27/08
10 miles, 1h03m, 6:18 pace
Sleep: 7h, 6/10 (throwing up)
Legs: 9/10 huh?
Temperature: 60 and perfect

7/26 Zero

7/25/08
10 miles, 1h10m, 7:00 pace
Sleep: 7h, 8/10
Legs: 7/10
Temperature: 60 and perfect

7/24/08
5 miles, 36m, 7:05 pace
Sleep: 5h, 5/10
Legs: 7/10
Temperature: 60 and perfect
------------------------------------------------

Skunks, ducks and feral cats are the primary ingredients of the Truckee River path wildlife corridor, where I've been running for the past few days. I'm in Reno, Nevada, where I've been living out of a hotel/casino since Thursday night while working an art auction. It's been a bit more grunt work than I'm used to, but it seems I'm finally settling into things here.

One thing I've learned the hard way is to avoid eating in any of the casino restaurants. After a bad meal I found myself toilet hugging on Saturday night, which has happened to me before while in Reno. Thankfully, the job has moved to a nearby gallery, so I'm able to grab food away from the casinos on my bicycle commute. I'm parked at a muffin/bagel place now with free wifi that will most likely be my breakfast spot until I leave on Thursday.

Last week's training ended with a whimper as I settled in here. I only had time for 5 miles on Thursday, and a shouting and crying match between an infant, a toddler and an impatient mother/guardian in the room next door made for a rough night on Friday, which was the night before the auction. I was so tired when I woke that I decided to save my energy for the five hour auction, which was probably a good idea.

Since throwing up Saturday night the running has gone well, with a easy-feeling faster 10 miles yesterday and a nearly effortless up-tempo 14 this morning. Aside from just a touch of fatigue during the last mile this morning, the past two days have felt fantastic. Cool mornings with 60 degree temperatures have done wonders for my running morale, and it's good to see the paces coming down along with the temperature.

With luck I'll get back to a normal schedule here for my last four days in Reno, and if I can manage I'll work in some doubles. While the mornings here are nice, the afternoon-evenings are usually very windy with 90 degree temperatures. At least the humidity is low.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

7/23/08

7/23/08
16 miles, 1h51m, 6:58 pace
Resting HR: 40
Sleep: 7h, 7/10
Legs: 7/10 Pretty good all things considered
Temperature: 78 degrees and rain

7/22/08 pm., 5 easy miles on the treadmill around 7:40 pace

Nice run through some rain this morning with Lucas. The legs never really felt fantastic, but it was nice getting some miles in before I take off to Reno, Nevada for a week to work an art auction.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7/22/08

7/22/08
9 miles, 1h01m, 6:48 pace, 4 mile evaluation at 6:13(151HR), 6:22(152), 6:27(152), 6:29(151), 1:00 to 120HR
Resting HR: 46
Sleep: 5.5h, 5/10
Legs: 6/10
Temperature: 78 degrees, 70% humidity

7/21/08
10 miles, 1h10m, 7:03 pace
Sleep: 5.5h, 5/10
Legs: 6/10

7/21/08 pm., 5 miles around 7:45 pace on the treadmill

7/20/08
15.68 miles, 1h49m, 7:01 pace, felt great with lots left in the tank
Resting HR: 42
Sleep: 6.5h, 6/10
Legs: 8/10
Temperature: 73 degrees, 60% humidity

Last week:
Mo: 10, 5
Tu: 10 at 6:40 pace
We: 12 w/strides
Th: 16 mile (bonked on long run)
Fr: 10 easy
Sa: 10 at 6:24 pace
Su: 16
Total: 89 miles in 8 sessions

Fell off a bit from the previous week, mostly due to a bad bonk on my long run. Aside from that things went fairly well, though in general it seems like there's a bit of a sticking point that comes into play at somewhere between 90 and 100 miles per week. It either has to do with the stress of fitting in more doubles, the heat, or a combination of both along with me getting a bit lax on sleep and nutrition.

Speaking of sleep, due to some insomnia Sunday night and a concert last night I only ended up with a total of 11 hours over the past two nights. This made for a lackluster run yesterday and some crummy results for the four mile evaluation today. Listen to the song below and you might understand why I allowed Wolf Parade to steal half a night's sleep from me. Duncan turned me on to these guys, and my god they put on a good show.

Shine a Light - Wolf Parade

7/22........................7/8
Mile 1: 6:13 (151HR) 6:03 (150HR)
Mile 2: 6:22 (152HR) 6:14 (151HR)
Mile 3: 6:27 (152HR) 6:13 (151HR)
Mile 4: 6:29 (151HR) 6:12 (150HR)
60 sec to 120 HR.......42 sec to 120HR

Yes, this run definitely went in the wrong direction from the same workout a few weeks ago (the 7/8 run to the right). I'm tempted to just take this as a sign of how much I need to concentrate on getting enough rest at night, as aside from the bonk on the long run last week things seem to be improving across the board. What surprised me this morning was a resting heart rate of 46, which is about four beats above normal. I took it a few minutes later than normal (after the kids were up), but that still doesn't explain the rise. As for the run, it didn't feel especially stressful, but I could tell that I was running much slower at the same heart rate as two weeks ago. It was difficult to stay at a 150HR as whenever I didn't concentrate it went up to 152 or so.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

7/19/08

7/19/08
10 miles, 1h04m, 6:24 pace
Sleep: 6.5h, 6/10
Resting HR: 42
Legs: 7/10 Little fatigue at the end
Temperature: 80 degrees, 65% humidity

7/18/08
10 miles, 1h13m, 7:18 pace
Sleep: 7.5h, 8/10
Resting HR: 42
Legs: 7/10
Temperature: 80 degrees, 60% humidity

7/17/08
16 miles, 1h55m, 7:00 pace. Worst long run in memory
Sleep: 6.5h, 7/10
Legs: 0
Temperature: 84 degrees, 65% humidity

Not sure exactly what to attribute it to, but my planned 20 miler on Thursday found my body crying "Uncle" in a big way between mile 14 and 15. I was reduced to a slow jog, then a slower walk, then finally a full stop. The quads felt hollow and weak, and the hamstrings just stopped bringing the legs up behind me. I still had three miles of uphill and two flat miles to traverse, but I just could not force myself to run it all.

So I walked. I ran a bit, but I couldn't muster much better than 8 minute pace, so after about a half mile of jogging I'd go back to a walk. I even called from the customer service desk at the grocery store for a ride home once I'd run/walked a few miles and was a mile and a half from home. Initially the call was to let Kiera know I was all right after missing my arrival time, but I found myself asking for a ride as soon as I told her I was safe.

Some poor nutrition the two days prior plus an intensely hot and humid day are probably to blame, but I could have made it easier on myself and turned around after 8 miles of my out and back. This was when I started sensing trouble, but for some reason I went out the full 10 before turning around.

I emailed Mystery Coach in a panic, but of course he advised me to take it in stride. I think we've all run out of juice on a long run on occasion, though this was as bad as it's ever gotten for me.

Yesterday's easy 10 miles felt much better, and today's up-tempo run found me feeling pretty much like my old self. I vowed to not get ahead of my planned pace, so I backed off a bit during the second five miles of my 10 to make sure I stayed good to my word. The last mile found me feeling just a little pressure, but I think at that point I was just smelling the barn.

Tomorrow is a medium-long run with the gang, followed by a birthday breakfast courtesy of Kiera. Since I'm turning 37 maybe I'll finally change the "35" on my header.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7/16/08

7/16/08
12 miles, 1h22m, 6:56 pace, w/8x100 accelerate-sprint, 300 jog
Sleep: 7h, 8/10
Legs: 7/10 A bit tight
Temperature: 78 degrees, 60% humidity

Good run this morning. I felt strong during the accelerations I worked in at 9 miles, and overall I didn't feel taxed at any point. Still, I'm skipping the weekly evening run with the gang to gather my legs for tomorrow's long run. Since the last long run was on Sunday I think I need all the recovery I can muster.

It does seem like the paces are starting to come down a bit on the runs, which should be the norm while following Arthur Lydiard's training model, but I'm finding that they seem to go right up again if I pile on too many doubles or short-change my recovery. I'm still trying to strike the right balance, which is turning out to be a bit humbling when it means canning a planned double or shortening a run when the legs just aren't responding. I think a year or two ago I would have just plodded through and hoped my body would eventually come around, but I'm getting a few signs that this "softer" way is paying better dividends. So far the evaluation runs are showing steady improvement, and the up-tempo days are coming off without any hitches. The long runs are still the sticking point, though the past two weeks have gone a bit better.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7/15/08

7/15/08
10 miles, 1h6m, 6:40 pace
Sleep: 6.5h 7/10
Legs: 8/10
Temperature: 76 degrees, 75% humidity

pm., 5 miles on the treadmill around 7:40 pace

Mystery Coach had me down for 68 or 69 minutes for 10 miles, but I ended up going a bit faster after meeting up with a cyclist I knew for the second half of the run. It's been awhile since I've been "half-wheeled" (where a fellow cyclist feels a compulsion to keep his front wheel half a length in front of yours while riding side by side), but it happened today. Half-wheeling has the effect of gradually making the ride faster and faster as the fellow behind keeps drawing even, which in turn makes the half-wheeler speed up even more to keep his position. This is made more difficult when the guy getting half-wheeled (me) is running, and the guy ahead is wobbling his front wheel while trying to show me stock quotes on his iPhone to illustrate the points he's trying to make. I honestly don't think I could blame any motorist for targeting us while watching this carnival of events, but luckily no one tried.

The legs felt tired in the driveway before starting, but they got into the swing straight-away and felt light after about a mile.

Monday, July 14, 2008

7/14/08

7/14/08
10 miles, 1h12m, 7:13 pace
Sleep: 7h, 7/10
Legs: 6/10 Not feeling it today
Temperature: 75 degrees, 65% humidity

7/13/08
20 miles, 2h16m, 6:51 pace
Sleep: 6h, 6/10
Legs: 8/10 Uphills took a toll, otherwise fine
Temperature: 76 degrees, 75% humidity

Here's how the past week went down:
Mo: 10
Mo: 5
Tu: 12 (4 mile eval. in 6:03, 6:14, 6:13, 6:12),
Tu: 5
We: 10 (8x100 strides)
We: 5
Th: 12
Fr: 10
Sa: 10 at 6:20 pace
Su: 20
Total: 99 miles in 10 runs

Good week with an improved evaluation run, though in hindsight I probably stacked too many miles on Monday through Wednesday. As a result I cut Thursday's planned 16 to 12 and backed off the doubles in an effort to get right for Saturday's up-tempo run and Sunday's long run. This seemed to work well, as Saturday found me feeling the best I have in months, and Sunday didn't wear me out as much as last week. Having my pal Jason along for much of the 20 miles helped, even though he dropped me at the end. He's just plain cruel that way. I took solace in speeding up on my own for the last two miles, though I certainly didn't match his pace.

This week started with a rough 10 miles this morning. The humidity and bugs seemed to wear on me, and the legs felt a bit of fatigue. I'll start this week more conservatively, as I'm moving the long run up to Thursday to make my birthday run on Sunday a bit less of a grind.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

7/12/08

7/12/08
10 miles, 1h03m, 6:20 pace
Sleep: 6.5h, 9/10
Legs: 9/10 Oh yeah
Temperature: 76 degrees, 85% humidity, Sloshy out there

Neither bugs, nor sopping wet shoes and clothes, nor late bedtime could slow me down today. In fact, even with the faster pace guidelines I still found myself ahead of schedule and staying there throughout the run, despite my efforts to slow down.

Mystery Coach knocked the time for the 10 miler to 64 minutes, which put me at 6:24 pace instead of the 6:36 pace I've gotten used to over the past five weeks. I worked a bit during the first uphill mile to get to get on schedule, but from that point on the body seemed to want to bring it down to 6:10-6:13 pace. I fought it as best I could, but even with adding some hills to the second half of the route and coasting the last mile I still arrived ahead of schedule. I'm thinking it might be time to break out the heart rate monitor for these runs too, as I find it's easier for me to back off in beats per minute than it is to purposefully slow the pace. With the paces getting a bit quicker and closer to my maximum steady state it might also be useful to see what the heart rate is doing during the latter portions of these runs.

I could definitely feel the effects that a bit of extra recovery had on the run today. I just hope that I feel the same way for tomorrow's long run. Have a good weekend.

Friday, July 11, 2008

7/11/08

7/11/08
Training: 10 miles, 1h10m, 7:00 pace
Sleep: 9h 10/10 What??
Legs: 8/10 Felt good
Temperature: 72 degrees, humidity 80%

Easy run through some thick air this morning. It rained hard through the night, and I slept in until it pretty much stopped (which coincidentally was when the kids got up at 6). Resisted the temptation to run last evening and just took it easy, which I'm sure helped the legs this morning. Looking forward to a faster tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

7/10/08

7/10/08
Training: am., 12 miles, 1h25m, 7:13 pace
Sleep: 7h, 6/10 Woke feeling tired
Legs: 5/10 Did not have it
Temperature: 77 degrees, 50% humidity

7/9/08 pm., 5 miles at 7:21 pace, dragging

__________________________________

In the past I've found the difference between optimal and maximum training to be the two to five days of forced easy runs I endure after confusing the latter for the former. In other words, I tend to trudge right past what I can adapt to and proceed to fall off the cliff that marks my maximum. From there I slowly climb out again while running easy, shorter days, all the while cursing myself for making the same mistakes over and over.

Last evening's double found the legs stagnant and stiff, and it took some mental coaxing to knock out an easy five miles. This morning the motivation was low for the planned 16 miler, and even though I started slow I really felt ready to call it a day after ten miles or so. I spent mile 11 rationalizing the fatigue by recounting how I was coming off of four doubles in a row, including one after Sunday's long run, and in doing so I talked myself down from 16 to 12 miles.

I was feeling good about the schedule this week, but it seems that a double the day before either of the two longer runs per week is just too much at the moment. I would certainly have been better off canning the run last night and putting those miles at the end of this morning's run, which is something I'll remember for next week.

I'm hoping that by stopping early today I can recover quickly for the faster planned run on Saturday as well as the long run on Sunday. I'm still a bit frustrated about not grinding out the last 4 miles today, but if this keeps me from slowly climbing up from the bottom of another cliff it will be worth it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

7/9/08

7/9/08
Training: 10 miles, 1h07m, 6:47 pace
Sleep: 6h, 6/10 Kids
Legs: 7/10 Stiff waking up but better after the run
Temperature: 78 degrees, 50% humidity. Bug-free day

7/8/08 late morning, 5 miles on the treadmill at 8 minute pace

Still doing my best to stack doubles this week, though yesterday's second run on the treadmill seemed tough for 8 minute mile pace. This morning was the easier of the two scheduled up-tempo runs for the week, and while the pace didn't give me problems I was glad to not have to run too much further than 10 miles.

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting into the same groove I was in the week before our vacation (6/16-6/22), which I fell back out of after returning home and trying to make up missed miles and intensity. I think Mystery Coach is sensing this too with the help of the evaluation yesterday, as he's upped the pace on the other planned up-tempo run later this week. The faster runs seem to be coming along nicely, but I'd still like the longer runs to feel less taxing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

7/8/08

7/8/08
Training: am., 12 miles, 1h22m, 6:54, w/4 mile evaluation at 150HR in 6:03, 6:14, 6:13, 6:12, :42 second recovery to 120
Resting HR: 41
Sleep: 7h, 8/10
Legs: 7/10 Responded well to the workout but a bit stiff otherwise
Temperature: 78 degrees, 52% humidity (nice!)

Four miles of warm-up, then another 4 mile evaluation. Here's how it went down-
Mile 1: 6:03 (150HR)
Mile 2: 6:14 (151HR)
Mile 3: 6:13 (151HR)
Mile 4: 6:12 (150HR)
42 seconds to 120HR

I'm going to leave the evaluation of this to Mystery Coach in an effort to drag another post out of him. Mile 2 was a bit slower than last time, but I liked the even numbers for miles 2 through 4. I'm wondering a bit about the big gap between the first and second miles of each of my three evaluations, and thinking my warm-up might not be quite optimal. Typically I run three to four miles easy, finishing with one lap on the track to bring my heart rate to about 140BPM before starting the evaluation. Maybe some strides or accelerations would be better for getting the body ready, but perhaps staying consistent is more important as far as data collection goes.

Monday, July 07, 2008

7/7/08

7/7/08
Training: am., 10 miles, 1h11m, 7:09 pace
Sleep: 6.5h, 6/10
Legs: 7/10 Felt better as I got along
Temperature: 76 degrees, 76% humidity

pm., 5 miles, 37m, 7:27 pace

As I got into the car to drive to the gym for a short run on the treadmill I noticed it was only 90 degrees and overcast, so I did a real run outside instead. Both runs found me crawling at the beginning but feeling good for the last 1/3. Legs are a bit creaky from the long run yesterday, so I'll hopefully get some time for stretching and some core work tomorrow after the evaluation run.

It's the toughest time of the year to run around here, but each run brings me one run closer to fall.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

7/6/08

7/6/08
Training: 22 miles, 2h31m, 6:54 pace
Sleep: 6h, 6/10
Legs: 6/10
Temperature: 77 degrees, 70% humidity

pm., 5 miles on the treadmill at 7:50 pace

I have never had more bugs on me at one time than I did at 4:48 this morning. The monsoon storms have brought out the flying ants and gnats, and apparently the largest swarms hang out in the pre-dawn hours along Territory Road. They seem to focus on the eyes, ears, nose and mouth areas, and I don't enjoy them. After stopping to wipe off as many as I could I headed down Dog Poop Trail, only to be stopped in my tracks by no less than 15 javelina. These are nasty creatures with poor eyesight, and they didn't seem very interested in yielding the trail. Finally, after enough shouting and hand-clapping they moved on. As soon as I started up again I almost ran into number 16, who was lagging behind and seemed to be the oldest and largest of the bunch. It was just going to be that sort of run.

For a change of scenery I continued down into the city and ran on the Rillito River path in town for 5 miles before turning around to head back at 11 miles. Things went well until miles 16 to 20, which is the usual drag up through Gut-Check Alley. This four mile stretch of rolling uphill is still getting to me after four years of running it, yet I keep coming back.

I was happy to see a negative split on the run, as I was at 6:58 pace after the down and out before bringing it down to 6:54 cumulative after the back and up. The legs still aren't thrilled about the long runs, but I'm definitely feeling better a few hours afterwards. These still aren't smokin' paces by any means, but with the weather conditions I'm happy to just get the runs done. Starting at 4:30 this morning helped with the heat, though today was probably about as humid as it gets around here.

Here's how the week went down-
Mo: 8
Tu: 5
We: 12, 6
Th: 14
Fr: 10
Sa: 10 up-tempo
Su: 22, 5
Total: 92 miles in 9 sessions

Rough start to the week with Monday finding me sore and tired after making the mistake of cramming workouts and miles towards the end of last week. Tuesday I missed a morning session due to camping. The rest of the week went well, but I'd like to get the miles back up with some consistency for the rest of the conditioning build.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

7/5/08

7/5/08
Training: 10 miles, 1h05m, 6:32 pace
Sleep: 7h, 8/10
Legs: 8/10 Ready from the get-go
Temperature: 78 degrees

7/4/08
Training: 10 miles, 1h13m, 7:11 pace
Sleep: 6.5h, 6/10
Legs: 6/10 Surface soreness in quads and calf muscles

The legs ached a bit yesterday morning, so I tried to keep the pace mellow. I've been getting sore legs the day after longer runs, which is a bit of a bummer. This time it happened the day after only a 14 mile run, but I guess I either covered too many hills or I just ran through the heat too long. As a result I called off my planned double yesterday after needing (and taking) a short nap. Last week I put myself through the wringer a bit too much by stacking all the longer and harder runs at the end of the week (post vacation), so easing up yesterday before the quicker effort today and the long run tomorrow seemed wise.

Today's quicker run came off quite well, as I found myself on pace almost as soon as I left the driveway. I'm hoping I can say the same thing after tomorrow's long effort, as it's been some time since I've finished a long run with much left in reserve.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

7/3/08

7/3/08
Training: 14 miles, 1h39m, 7:08 pace, hills heat and humidity
Sleep: 7h, 8/10
Legs: 7/10
Temperature: 85 degrees

7/2/08 pm
Training: 6.2 miles in 43m
Group run in 104 degree temperatures, with one very flatulent runner (not me)

The runs are still a bit difficult beyond 1h20m or so, but I'm blaming the heat for most of it. Lucas biked up from town to run with me, and while I was originally planning for 15 or 16 miles, 14 seemed to be the point where we were both feeling a bit cooked by the sun and ready to stop, even though we got started at 5:30. The run the evening before definitely affected me, and as such I didn't feel any need to push the pace.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

7/2/08

7/2/08
Training: 12 miles, 1h26m, 7:10 pace
Resting HR: 44
Sleep: 5.5h, 5/10
Legs: 7/10, Dragging a bit

7/1/08
Training: 5 miles, 37m, 7:35 pace
Sleep: 5h, 2/10 Note to self: Remember the air mattress for camping next time
Legs: 7/10 Not bad for the treadmill

6/30/08
Training: 8 miles, 57m, 7:06 pace
Legs: 4/10 Ugh

Schedule your recovery or your body will schedule it for you. The dragging feeling of Sunday's long run turned into a palpable soreness in the legs on Monday. As a result I cut the run short to avoid any more damage. Monday night I took Haiden camping (see below), so I missed my morning run window. Since Kiera was taking a day and evening for herself I didn't have an opportunity for a run outside of an easy five miles on the treadmill at the gym before the childcare closed. The legs appreciated the break.
______________________________________________________________

I finally took Haiden on her first camping trip to Mt. Lemmon on Monday afternoon. We stopped and explored some lookouts along the way.

Haiden dug Rose Canyon Lake, which is at about 4000 feet and is stocked with trout in the spring and fall. The air was still quite warm at the campsites nearby here though, so we continued upward.

We found this spot at just over 8000 feet of elevation in Spencer Canyon. It was nice and cool here, and the grounds had plenty of boulders to scramble up and woods to explore. There was also quite a bit of shade, which is always a plus.



We did the usual campfire thing with dogs and s'mores, though Haiden gravitated towards the chocolate to the exception of most of the other foods, which was to be expected.

Sleeping was a bit of a challenge for me after I realized I'd forgotten to bring along the air mattress to sleep on (yes, we're soft like that). We did make it through the night, and while I was up with the sun, Haiden managed to actually sleep in.

I'll probably try this again with both kids in a few weeks. After that I imagine I'll sell the tent, memory-wipe the kids and pretend it never happened. "Camping, you say? Oh, we don't do that. Too much dirt and too many bugs. Ask your Grandma and Grandpa, I think they still have a camper parked in their backyard."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Review of June 28th evaluation

A number of questions have come up on what heart rate to use for evaluation runs. There are two ways you can come up with a number. If you race a 10K (or a race lasting between 30-60 minutes) wear a heart rate monitor and take the heart rate about 10 minutes from the finish (this will give you a rate that will be absent of any final push or sprint). Take 90% of that rate (for example 174 during the 10K time .9 equals 156.6 so I would use 156). If you prefer just take 85% speed of a recent 10K race and run at that pace and note your heartrate after running for 15-20 minutes (for example a 10K in 37 minutes is about 6:00 pace divided by .85 equals about 7 minute pace). These heart rates/paces are near your upper level for using your energy stores efficiently (somewhere between 90-97% of marathon race speed.) What you'll note is that your heartrate for these evaluations is not based on your maximum heart rate but your level of efficiency at running hard pace.

Ewen had an excellent question (one that should be answered by the reviews that will be posted about Mike's progress but I'll summarize below what to look for)

I'm doing base training (100k a week), and was wondering how do I know when I've "peaked" at my lowest possible average HR for a particular pace, and will upping the mileage to perhaps 120k achieve further improvement? Are the evaluation runs a good guide? When such a "peak" is reached, is that a good time to switch to the next phase of training? I'm not aiming for particular goal race, just a peak racing period of 4-6 weeks next summer.

First let's look at Mike's first two evaluations:

10 June 2008 28 June 2008

Mile 1: 6:15 (148HR) Mile 1: 6:02 (150HR)
Mile 2: 6:25 (151HR) Mile 2: 6:11 (151HR)
Mile 3: 6:28 (151HR) Mile 3: 6:15 (151HR)
Mile 4: 6:34 (150HR) Mile 4: 6:14 (151HR)

51 seconds to 120HR 45 seconds to 120HR


The first thing to look at is the difference between the first mile and the average of the last 3; 14 seconds June 10, then 11.3 seconds June 28. Why is this important? This gives use a good clue on what pathways the muscles are using. When you are in racing speed shape the system looks for the easiest pathway (anaerobic) first and the cardiovascular system lags (whether it is because of buffers in the muscle, early recruitment of certain fibers it doesn't matter the heart rate does not respond quickly to the load). In the base phase you are training your most efficient pathways and de-training your racing pathways. This will show up when the heart rate responds quickly during the first mile and looks more in line with other 3 miles. Now the preferred pathway is the efficient one, not only will your system go to the most efficient system first (aerobic) but also will preserve the reserves of the speed system.(anaerobic).

The second thing to look at is how quickly your system recovers, how quickly does that heartrate drop to a given level ( Mike uses 120 but any point that is 25-40 beats lower than your testing level is fine). This will give you an idea on how stressful the load is, as you become fitter the system will find the load easier and the recovery will be quicker.

When those two things stop changing and you still want to challenge your efficiency level adding miles to your long run can produce gains (as opposed to just adding mileage to everyday totals). The longer run will stimulate some of the harder to reach fibers to become even more efficient. Once you are about 7 weeks out from your peak racing season carefully adding speed work will enhance your racing speed without compromising the gained efficiency of the cardiovascular system.