Saturday, April 18, 2009

Closing in on it

It's all about 76's and 77's, and 5:08's instead of 5:11's.

Yes, I'm still trying to limbo under 16 minutes for 5K, and tomorrow's Race for the Cure is my next shot. It's an arbitrary goal based on a near-by even number (16:06 is my P.R.), and with each passing year my two standard attempts (this race and the Tucson 5000 a month later) seem more and more daunting.

Still, this year seems to hold more promise, as I'm doing a better job of trying to nail the coach's paces instead of trying to surpass them. We've also spent more time going back and forth about recovery, and how as I,(ahem), mature, it seems that recovery seems to be of more importance.

Mystery Coach seems to following a Lydiard model of speed-work and sharpening, which started after spending some time on lower-end tempo runs to both build and measure my maximum steady state. This week has included lower-volume repeats of 200-400 meters within a few seconds either way of goal pace, which seems to be doing the job of getting the legs and brain used to the turnover, pace-monitoring and recognition, and the mental work involved in holding faster paces. Today was 6x200 at 36-37 seconds (400 recoveries), while earlier in the week it was 1x400, 2x200, 1x400, 2x200 (all with 400 recoveries) at faster than race pace.

Last week the volume was higher with a 6x800 workout at 2:35, again with 400 recoveries. We followed that a few days later with a 2400M time trial, which unfortunately found me at 5:11-5:12 pace and gasping. This would put me right at my current P.R., butthere was no way I could have held on for double the volume.

As usual, this put me in a bit of a funk for a few days, but after looking over both my sleep schedule and the volume of the workouts it doesn't seem as bad as the results indicate on their own. It's funny how a good week of running (like this week) can make the results of a single workout seem less important.

The plan for tomorrow will be a conservative start and a strong second half. While sub-16 might not be in the cards this time, I'd really like to run the third mile at 5:10 or better. My best on this course is 16:23, and I don't see any reason I shouldn't be able to equal or better that number.

Finally, best of luck to the Boston crowd on Monday.


Mike said...

Mike - do you ever do any repeats at about mile race pace? Perhaps an 8 to 10 x 400m session at 70-72 seconds w/ say a 90-second rest in between.

Reason I ask is that perhaps if you get used to going faster than 5k pace, then 77-second quarter pace won't seem as fast come race day.

Of course, I'm no training expert. Just throwing the idea out there. If your speed work is primarily at 5k pace, the repeats are obviously shorter than 5k, so maybe after a certain distance at that pace your body becomes accustomed to looking forward to the break?

Sort of like "over distance" training, doing some work at a faster pace might help the body feel more comfortable at 5k pace.

Anyway - best of luck w/ the 5k!!

Mike said...

I did a fair amount of preliminary speed-work that included 30 seconds to two minutes of faster running, probably somewhere between mile and 5K pace, and I do some strides during the week at faster paces too. Still, I see what you are saying.

Most of the shorter reps this week were faster than 5K pace too, with the 200's/400's earlier at 33-34 and 72-73. As far as extending that for longer workouts, I imagine we'll do some of that too. The problem seems to be the recovery from running sub-5 minute pace versus the positive effects on the neuro-muscular connections (and the benefits of getting used to faster running). Maybe Mystery Coach will explain it better.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Good luck tomorrow, Mike!


Hope you nail that p.b.and break through into the super fast 15 min category!

Thomas said...

Good luck, Mike!

Ewen said...

I hope you have a good race Mike and manage to hang onto the pace in the third mile.

I'm also wondering about why only two 5k races during the season? When I was at my best I found it took quite a few 5ks (and 3s) to get the PB down.

I'm just thinking that becoming accustomed with the event might be worthwhile, and maybe there's some benefit to that type of racing that can't be duplicated in training sessions.

by7 said...

a general question:

the usual "specific training" for peaking on 5k is something like 5x1000m or 4x1200 at race, with 1'30"/2'00" recovery.
It is not listed in your workouts... seems all shorter stuff.
Any comment ?

(good luck for the 5k 15.xx . I broke the 16.00 barrier almost by chance, while training for the marathon. I was there just to running hard and I did not even check the splits). I think you have the time in your legs, you must only remove your mental barriers and race relaxed