Thursday, January 26, 2006

If I'm Lucky, I Just Might Hit 60

Perhaps the build up has begun again? I sit here with two training days left in the week at 40 miles. This is a good sign. The January battle is on between the good guys of rest and injury prevention, and the evil doers of high mileage and promises of performance. The good guys have won the day these past 3 weeks, but it looks like the devilish lure of miles and miles will hook the unsuspecting runner very soon.

60 miles isn't much. Or isn't supposed to be. But when you squeak out 42, 32, & 38, bumping back up to 60 is info in the letter back to home. And the nice thing is, it's unintentional (meaning I didn't struggle to get here).

I had a nice run up since the Cape Cod Marathon culminating in 114 miles one week after 11 weeks of training. Unfortunately, accompanying the 114 miles was pain, misery, fatigue, and good dose of overtraining. I could barely get below 9:00 min/mile I was so tired and out of focus. It was a good experiment and worth doing in the sense that I learned a lot. After all, avoiding mistakes comes from experience and experience from making mistakes. Happy to be of service to my long term prospects, I gladly blunder into all sorts of mischief in order to gain experience or so it would seem. Coincidentally, I crashed at the exact time of year that I normally crash. Last year I claimed a quad injury. This year, overtraining. I'll have to check my long range planner, but I think I'm scheduled to have the flu next year.

So to overcome all of my malarky, I purchased a heart rate monitor. I was supposed to purchase new running shoes with the gift card but I was hoodwinked into buying the monitor instead. The typical case of bait & switch. Innocently, I clicked on shoes and I wound up buying an HRM instead. Being all alone in the vast expanse of the online store, I succumbed to lure of measuring my heart rate when I run instead of the taking the practical approach and re-equipping myself with new sneakers. Alas, buying sneakers with a gift card is sort of a letdown. I would have had to purchase new ones anyway. I wanted something I wouldn't have bought otherwise. (I've been working on this excuse, I hope you like it.) Not to worry though, a few more weeks of spaghetti dinners, and I'll have those new shoes in the bag.

Ok, back to the HRM. During a period of self diagnosis, I proclaimed my problem was not fully understanding the Lydiard plan. In the plan, he spells out mileage guidelines and with a sense of subtlety suggests the approximate time associated with the each workout. Well, after doing some simple math, I discovered just who dear Arthur was thinking about when he jotted down his suggestions. And it was not me.

Mr. Lydiard assumed his reader could easily pad out 10 miles in an hour and still smile at the end. I can run 9 miles in an hour on a good day. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that I had skipped a step in the Lydiard plan. I wasn't as fit as I should be to build up to his level of mileage. The reason? By running his mileage, I was on the course for almost 1.5 times the suggested times in his book and this led to my case of overtraining. And it was getting worse by the week as I my pace kept slowing due to fatigue. One other comment kept coming back to me: Lydiard's boys always ran at "strong aerobic efforts". This assured great aerobic development. Here was my problem. I was running in a manner that over-fatigued me personally at paces that were not accomplishing the goals I had set out to do.

Enter the HRM.

After some research into max heart rates, resting rates, and ranges etc. I have figured out at what level of effort I should be training given the day's goals. (My long range goal has not changed: namely build up my aerobic capacity for 2+ years.) Since my long range goal has not changed, the variable is the day to day workouts which are divided simply into easy / hard / easy / hard. Most work being done below the lactate threshold. So on any given day, I know what range (heart rate) I should be targeting in order to avoid running too fast or perhaps too slow. Because this effort is stronger than my last build up, which consisted mainly of shuffling and silent weeping, I am building up my "time in zone" in a methodical manner to avoid overtraining and injury. So far I am ok, but remember I decided to start this new project in January - not the best of months. Therefore, my last 3 weeks of mileage are not truly representative of the mileage I should be logging since there are several additional rest days embedded. However, I believe that is coming to an end.

And there lies my title for this post. I just might hit 60 this week. This week is a 50% of Lydiard's recommended time (in zone). When I hit 100%, I believe my mileage will be hovering around 80 - 90 miles per week. Perhaps more if I can sneak some easy supplemental in here & there. Over time, my mileage should increase as my pace per mile improves.

One final note on the heart rate monitor. It is fun! I had always thought is wasn't necessary - and it is not necessary. It doesn't tell you any more about how you're doing than someone slightly more intelligent than I could tell just by feel. (In fact, it's uncanny.) It doesn't make you faster and when you're slacking, it shows right there in numerical form. Oh, and busting up the hill? Waste of energy according to the monitor - but you knew that. But besides that, it's a lot of fun to match heart rates to particular efforts, and basically keep you company on a dark, lonely, freezing, slippery, windy, icy, (did I say dark?) morning.


Blogger Dallen said...

I agree that the HRM is mostly just another tool to keep the mind occupied. Occasionally useful, but mostly fun.

1/26/2006 11:48 PM  
Anonymous GH said...

To get more grip on Lydiard's paces Tinman offers this advice: 1/4th effort = 70% of 5k velocity
1/2th effort = 75% of 5k velocity
3/4th effort = 85% of 5k velocity (aka Aerobic Threshold)
7/8th effort = 95% of 5k velocity(just faster than LT)

5k velocity the pace that you could run on a 5k race on that given day, not a alltime PR

1/27/2006 8:34 AM  
Blogger E-Speed said...

Cool that you are taking the plan and adjusting it to your individual needs.

Hope that it brings the desired results!

1/27/2006 1:41 PM  
Blogger robtherunner said...

I hope the heart rate monitor helps out, or is at least fun to fool around with. I am glad to hear that a 60 mile week may be in your books by the end of the week. I am hoping that my first 60 mile week since the 2nd week of September is in the books after tomorrow as well.

1/27/2006 9:49 PM  
Blogger Love2Run said...

You don't need to be lucky, you just have to show up! We'll drag each other around the loop in no time at all ;-) cya

1/28/2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick said...

I like Mike's comment. You too are a funny pair. I love reading about all the miles you guys rack up and am sometimes envious but until I drop more pounds and get faster no way I could do that many miles. I'd be running for days straight to do

So have you named your HR. I like calling my forerunner Mr V. Almost makes it seem like I do have company on those long solo runs. Now that the replaced the HR part and its been working great I'm learning lots and actually seeing some improvement.

1/29/2006 2:07 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Hi Dawn, I haven't named the monitor (I never thought of it). Now that you bring it up, I guess I eventually will.

GH, Thanks for those percentages. I am using something I think is very similar:

1/4th = 70-75% maxHR
1/2th = 75 - 80% maxHR
3/4 th = 90% maxHR(Threshold)
Recovery 60 - 65% maxHR

1/29/2006 6:01 AM  

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