Saturday, December 23, 2006

Too dark to see the dreary

The start of a 3 day weekend, I thought I'd be sleeping in. But no, I awoke at 3:40 and was wandering about the house as usual. I could hear the rain drip-dripping off the windows and the house was cool. A raw morning.

Reports were to expect freezing on the roads. They were right. Some parts of the course this morning had a layer of a slush & ice combination. Luckily, there weren't many of these spots and they were only a few feet long. So when I hit them in the dark, I was through the danger before I could lose my footing.

Scheduled workout: 10 miles medium paced progression run. Target paces: 7:27 - 6:20 [85% - 100% MP]. Purpose: Aerobic Resistance.

Results: 3 x 5k progression w/warmup & cooldown for 10.2 miles total.

I decided on the 3 x 5k progression using the target paces when I considered the weather. The 5k tempo course was calling my name so I thought I would try to incorporate it. The start and finish of the tempo course is about 2/10ths of a mile apart and the 5k split today seemed like a good division between 'progressions'.

Generally, on this type of progression run, I try to run each mile successfully faster - building up to the maximum pace in the final mile. Today this was not appealing and I can't say exactly why. So I opted for a 3 x 5k progression:

Lap ..... Target Pace....... Actual Pace ...... Time
5k.......... 7:27 ....................7:17................... 22:37
5k ......... 6:53................... 6:41................... 20:47
5k .........6:20.................... 6:14................... 19:23

Recovery between the 5k progressions were 2:25 & 2:48 respectively. Instead of increasing the pace with each successive mile, I tried to hit the pace squarely on the first mile and keep it steady. It worked out very well on #1 and #2. Lap #3, however, was a little more difficult. I went through the first mile too quickly. The headwind for mile 2 slowed me down so I hit the split just under the correct average. Unfortunately, this meant I ran the 2nd mile slower than the target pace. So I focused on the last mile and with the help of an obliging tailwind, brought it home it time.

The whole workout was in the dark. A little worried at first when I hit the slush but I got used to it quickly when I realized: A) where it was, and B) that it didn't pose a real hazard. The rain drizzled on and on and the wind blew slightly - just enough so you knew it was there. The temperature hovered just below 40F and the whole scene could only be described as dreary.

Except I couldn't really tell since it was dark. And this was a good thing. When I got home, showered, and warmed up with a hot cup of tea, I looked out onto lightening scene. Yuck! What an awful day for running! Drizzle, cold, slush, cars splashing. Just awful.  I know I would not have liked to have been just getting going just then, long weekend or no.

On dreary days, I recommend running before sunrise.

********************************************************

Well, another good day to report. Felt good. Quads are sore but not bad. Calves need to be stretched before each run now. Left foot sore afterward. Knees ok. Hamstrings slightly tightening if running too fast. Basically, the whole gambit grumbles a little. None of it is loud enough to do anything about besides some ibuprofen, ice, and rest between workouts. The engine is humming smoothly and the fatigue is hiding on me. Eye of the storm perhaps?

Today ends the week with 104.9 miles. My best week yet this cycle. The Parrott predictor dropped this week to 2:53:37 as my fastest 26.2 miles got a little bit faster. Friday's 18 miler was the biggest contributing factor to this week's drop. At 7:20 per mile it created a nice floor.

A little note on the Parrott predictor. As you know, the predictor adds up your fastest 26.2 miles of training during the week and claims this is a fair predictor of how fast you can run a marathon. For me, it has proven pretty close in the past. I like it because it fits in with a comment made in an article I read that basically said that Olympic marathoners run 25% of their workouts at or near MP. Reading Lydiard and Canova, you start to see this same philosophy come out if your weekly mileage is slightly more than 100 miles per week. This means that every week, you'll log about 20 - 30 miles at paces that are near percentages of goal pace. Thus the predictor becomes pretty accurate and can also give you an idea of how you are progressing towards your goal.

For me, I have yet to run anywhere near 26.2 miles per week at 6:20 per mile. This is because I can't (yet). My fast days currently add up to about 16 - 23 miles of faster pace running. (Tues, Thurs, Sat). The way my schedule reads, if I run two 'resistance' runs and one 'aerobic power' in a given week, I'll have 23 miles or so of faster running but at an average below race pace (resistance runs work up to MP but not beyond). On the weeks that have two 'power' runs but only one 'resistance' run my faster mileage drops to about 16 miles with an average pace closer to MP. The problem is the predictor needs another 10 miles - and it gets them from the volume miles.

As I get stronger, these volume miles will have better average paces and the Parrott predictor will fall. That is what happened this week when I scored 18 solid miles at 7:20 per mile. The predictor grabbed the missing 3 miles (2 resistance runs this week/1 power run) from that good workout keeping the prediction lower. Here is a look at my training since Wineglass:

Week........Miles.................. Parrott.................. Comment

10/1 .........26.2................... 2:57:03 ................ Wineglass marathon
10/8 ..........0.0..................... n/a ........................Rest week
10/15 ......56.0................... 3:29:20.................. Recovery week
10/22 ......52.2................... 3:44:01........................... " "
10/29 ......72.6................... 3:33:06 ..........................." "
11/5 ........61.2.................... 3:18:33........................... " "

********************************************

Start program

11/12 ......100.5................ 2:59:50................ Week 1 of program
11/19 ......102.0................ 2:56:16............................. #2
11/26 ......103.3................ 3:02:36............................. #3
12/3 .........85.1................. 3:10:17 ................ Busted 18 miler/took day off
12/10 ......101.4............... 3:34:04 ................ Deleted 'hard' days to recover
12/17 .......104.9.............. 2:53:37.............................. #6

The first thing you should notice - the numbers don't lie. Running hard 3 days per week produces Parrott predictions very close to my current marathon PR. Sort of a 'proof'. The validity of these numbers of course comes from reproducing the results with sustainable training week after week and (hopefully) with an improvement over time.

So I expect that the predictor should go up a little over the next few weeks as my body digests some of the rigors of faster volume training (thus possibly slowing my overall averages) and perhaps another drop in a few weeks once I get another bloom of capillaries/mitochondria/whatever.

Tomorrow: 21 miles w/Mike - slowly!

5 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

I feel for you running in the dark, it's quite an experience especially with the slush\ice. We only had rain here.

Nice post and insight into your training. It appears as though the program is marching right along on the right path. Keep up the good work!

12/23/2006 7:02 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Nice improv with the weather. Interesting thoughts on Parrott. Great insight!

12/23/2006 8:01 PM  
Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Enjoy your long run with Mike tomorrow. Run slowly? I bet I still couldn't keep up.

Merry Christmas!

12/23/2006 9:34 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Thoughtful post with loads of good information on your training, thanks for this. The few down weeks really fade into the background as you continue to consistently get in good miles as the months progress.

I'll give your predictor some thought, as I've been more focused on the average pace over all the miles of the week rather than the fastest 26.2. One benefit to your system is that it rewards you for running faster on your hard days rather than tempting you to run a little quicker on the easy ones.

12/23/2006 9:55 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks everyone. I used to use the predictor to keep checking to see if I could qualify for Boston. Now I use it as a training tool - to see how my running is coming along over the long term.

A cross check predictor is the average pace / average HR for the 10 mile Aerobic Resistance runs (the one requiring a steady pace). On these workouts lately, pace has averaged 6:30 - 6:32 with an HR that matches Wineglass' effort. Gives me a clue to how I'm doing and how far out I really am from my goal.

A 6:32 pace is 2:51:xx, my predictor says 2:53:xx. Pretty darn close! So if I was to run a marathon today, I would pace myself at 2:54:xx for the first 18 and then see if I could get below it or not with a little speed.

But I'm not running a marathon until May - so it will be interesting to see how the training develops - numerically that is! ha ha!

(As an aside, on the last 100 mile week leading up to Wineglass, Parrott was indicating 3:00:xx. I went through the half at 1:29:30. And the 'conservative' pacing, I think, really helped me out this time).

12/24/2006 5:15 AM  

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