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.


Chad in the AZ Desert said...

That analysis seems to make a lot of sense given Mike's comments over the last couple of weeks. Is it important to know the cause of the fatigue (overtraining, illness, stess) or does it not matter for determining the right training?

Mystery Coach said...


Stress is cumulative and not all of it is bad but there is a limit on how much reserves you have to deal with it. Any thing that causes a change in your system could be called stress (that includes a lot of fun things).

Part of your ability to recover is based on how well it has been trained to recover. The Lydiard system uses the high mileage phase to enhance that, but getting back to your question it does not matter what causes the stress. What matters is when you get ahead of the recovery rate it greatly increases the time to recover because it disrupts your systems ability to recover. Speed training is very likely to cause those over training symptoms hence the reason Mike has cut back this past week on hard efforts.

Mike said...

I think the evaluation itself provided a bit of relief over doing a second speed session for the week (which is the usual Saturday endeavor).

I'm definitely suspecting fatigue and some sickness, as our son took ill and I missed quite a bit of sleep on Thursday and Friday nights. I missed a run on Sunday after feeling really off that morning, and I only got in 6 miles before pooping out on Monday

Ewen said...

Thanks Mystery Coach. Good to see Mike is pretty much on track for 5k/10k PBs in upcoming races.

Mike said...

Hey Mike, no posts in a while - hope all is well.


HEY MIKE1!! time for a up date... please!!!!

scottiedid said...

where are you mike?