Monday, March 16, 2009

Evaluating the eval

Last week Mike had a disappointing time trail over 3 miles and there was a fair amount of speculation on what was wrong. Any one of the suggestions could have been correct (they were all good opinions) but we didn't have any facts to back them up. This is where the weekend's eval run (4 miles at heart rate 150) gives some facts. When the time trial didn't turn out well I wrote to Mike to have him do the eval this weekend. I suspected 3 possibilities for the TT results;

1) Drop in steady state (not sure this is it)
2) Fatigue (most likely)
3) Need for some additional sharp stuff

Here are the results with one eval from the end of his base phase before New York and the last column adjusting the pace to standardize it on 150 beats per minute.

Mike Salkowski 150 150 150

Date 19-Aug 14-Mar 14-Mar

Mile 1 6:09 6:11 6:13.7

Mile 2 6:18 6:13 6:15.7
Mile 3 6:20 6:13 6:13.0
Mile 4 6:17 6:16 6:18.7

Average 6:16.0 6:13.3 6:15.3

Average last 3 6:18.3 6:14.0 6:15.8

hr<120 47.0

Diff 1 and Ave 9.3 3.0 2.1

Mike's base numbers look as good or better than at the end of his last build. It would indicate that he is in 16:20-16:25 5K shape now but still short of the 15:50-15:55 5K shape he was in last fall during his peak before the New York Marathon.

So most likely possibility number two; "fatigue" was the cause of the time trial results. This was also indicated by Mike's feelings as he started the trial ("I felt a bit sluggish from the get-go").

Since last spring Mike has been working on staying on the safe side of the recovery curve with good success. From a training perspective it makes the timing of the harder sharper work (needed to get to that sub 16 5K) more critical. Over that next 4-5 weeks that will be the goal with a careful watch on recovery.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


8 miles, w/2 miles at about 5:23 pace, 60 seconds rest, then 1 mile in 5:23
Sleep: 7h 7/10
Legs: 6/10
Weather: Perfect

Mental notes: Pfffft!
Rough one today for some reason. The workout called for a steady 3 mile run with the first two miles at 5:22 pace and the third mile at 5:21. I took the same three mile warm up with a few aggressive strides which served me well last week, but I felt a bit sluggish from the get-go once I started around the track. After 6 very even laps at 80 seconds (on pace) I started to really fatigue in the legs while the breathing increased. I rode it out to 8 laps, but fell two seconds behind during those two laps. I just didn't seem to have the last mile in me, but I decided to give it a go after 60 seconds of rest (not the plan, but needed). The first 800 after the rest found me on pace again, but then the last 800 found the legs starting to unravel a bit (losing their strength and drive), and I ended up at 5:22 (5:24 adjusted).

I thought it would go a bit better today, so I'm a little surprised. It feels like once I get loaded up with lactate it comes on fairly strong in the lungs, then migrates down to the legs. It's true I felt a bit better Saturday at a second or two faster per 400, but if I'd stretched it out to two miles then I'm wondering if I would have found myself in the same state.

I know I'm still under-sharpened for this spring, but I still sometimes get the nagging feeling that perhaps a decline in my maximum steady state is partly to blame for my struggles at 5K and 10K pace. I'm not suggesting I'm ready to head back into base training, but I have been thinking about whether bumping the mileage back up would help a bit with the steady state without sacrificing the quality I'm putting into the faster workouts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


6 miles, 40m, 6:52 pace
Sleep: 7h 7/10
Legs: 7/10
Weather: 50 degrees
Notes: In a rush today so I ended up cutting it short. One quick 600 towards the end.

8 miles, 55m, 6:53 pace
Notes: Easy run, a bit short on time

15 miles, 1h48m, 7:19 pace
Notes: Slow, very hilly run up into the canyon with Scott and Catlow. A bit dehydrated for the day.

8 miles, 53m, w/6 laps of 78's and 1x600 downhill stride
Sleep: 7h 7/10
Legs: 7/10
Weather: 55 degrees and perfect
Notes: Much easier than what was supposed to be the same workout on Tuesday (last post).

9 miles, 1h03m, 7:00 pace
Notes: Legs a bit too dead for downhill strides

6 miles, 43m, 7:12 pace

3/4/09 pm., 6.2 miles easy and slow

Pretty much the same schedule as last week:
Mo: 8 slow
Tu: 10 easy w/strides and downhill strides
We: 8 miles w/2 mile workout (too fast), then 6 easy in the evening
Th: 6 easy
Fr: 9 easy (tired)
Sa: 8 w/1.5 mile workout and strides
Su: 15 hilly and slow
Total: 70 miles in 8 sessions

Turns out the workout on Wednesday was supposed to be 6 laps at 79 seconds and not 76. I had the same workout slated for Saturday, and this time it went off without a hitch. I took a bit longer warm up this time, and added a few more (and longer) strides beforehand in an effort to get the lungs ready. Turns out six laps at 78 is much easier than six laps at 75 or 76, which bears remembering when I'm running the first mile of my next 5K on March 23.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


8 miles, 55m, w/1x1600 in 5:04 (2 min), 800 in 2:31 (1 min), 800 in 2:32
Sleep: 7h 6/10 (kids, sheesh)
Legs: 6/10
Weather: 62 degrees (yes, really)
Notes: Botched workout. Mystery Coach prescribed 6 laps of 76's, or the equivalent of 5:06 pace. The goal was to run fast and relaxed at 5K race pace, but unfortunately that became impossible after about 1000 meters. I started to get a bit hypoxic and crossed jumped right past the "comfortable" line. Rather than be forced to slow down dramatically for the last 800, I called an audible and finished 1600 on pace then took two minutes before running an 800 in 2:31. After a minute of rest I ran a final 800 in 2:32. Each 800 felt the same: Cool and relaxed for 400, then the breathing would increase dramatically for 200 followed by the legs stinging a bit and the lungs feeling it for the last 200.

I think we're starting to test the boundaries a bit after some good fitness gains during the past six weeks, and while I'm disappointed with how today went I think a few more sessions like this will help. I also think doing a very hilly 15 miler on Sunday following 8 miles around 6:03 pace on Saturday left me with some residual fatigue, which didn't help me today.

10 miles, 1h09m, 6:52 pace
Sleep: 8h 8/10
Legs: 7/10
Weather: Nice
Notes: Threw in 6x300 jog, 100 accelerate-sprints, plus 1x650m downhill stride

8 miles, 58m, 7:18 pace

15 miles, 1h44m, 6:59 pace
Notes: Hot, windy and hilly. Running up to the top of the road in Sabino Canyon seemed like a good idea when I started.