Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Marc, Mark, & Mike

Running's been so bad lately that I crawled into my shell while I tried to work out my problems. One was energy which was solved quickly once the bug passed on, and the second was the right leg quad issue. This one took some time and left me feeling iffy about my conditioning, ability, you name it. A case of the nerves.

Marc had this same thing happen to him a few weeks ago when he got back from his injury. It was so easy to tell him to 'buck up' and 'don't worry'. Hmmm. He inquired today about how the weekend went. I replied:

The right leg just wouldn't cooperate and I had to take aggressive measures to get the pain to stop. Namely some more time off. Just as well. Last Friday I felt pretty good energy wise, but this morning I was raring to go. The only problem was the snow and ice. I wore my new spikes out there and they worked great. But I still had to bust my butt to get an average 8:00/mile for 10 miles. Man, I thought I was moving quicker than that.
So I'm at a reset point. I've taken my rest and regeneration and I'm anxious to get 'back at it'. However, I'm not at all convinced that my level of speed is appropriate given my recent downturn. Maybe I'm just scared. In any case, this leaves me no closer to choosing a marathon. I feel like I need another 8 weeks of base building to solidify my conditioning before I move to the marathon specific stuff. So what does this leave me? A fall marathon?
I don't have the blues but I've got the 'bahs!' real bad. I'm looking forward to coming up to your place.

Then I noticed Mark commented on my last post. He's the devil on my shoulder, reminding me of my bravado 12 weeks ago - accepting his challenge to run 2:45 (and not break down). I tried to reply to his comment via email but it didn't work. So I'll post it here:

Hey Mark - I'm still shooting for the stars here but struggling at the moment. I think I just conquered a major energy drop coupled with a right leg issue that just wouldn't go away. However, the indicators have only flickered near the goal pace so this puppy needs more base training. I'll be back up to my mileage addiction next week (this week being an intermediate build) after two weeks sliding down for repair. However, I was just telling Marc in Farmington, I've got to think a little about my speed. My last 'good' week was a little hard on me I think. Maybe too fast to sustain.
Sugarloaf got canceled so I'm a ship without a sail. Still working on base right now so I haven't even figured out what race I want to do. Being open ended does allow me to focus more clearly on my goal (2:45) but could be dangerous if I allow myself to remain in the base phase forever. For my next marathon I would like to be able to run my goal pace, so I'm a little reluctant just now to put a definite 'end date' to the training since it's a significant improvement from where I started. We will see. Holyoke again?

And then there's the recent depressing comment by Mike's mystery coach on his blog:

One other fad that has hindered development is the (too) "hard" (too) "easy" approach to training. I think you've seen this schedule; day 1: hard VO2 max intervals until you puke ( makes you mentally tough), day 2: long easy run for recovery ( got those miles in).

I may not run until I vomit, but I do run my easy days easy. I'm the 'get those miles in' runner trying to recover. Damn.


Blogger Thomas said...

I think the easy days the Mystery Coach criticised were something like the 5, 6 or maybe 8 miles at easy pace after each tough workout. Your "easy" days are 15 or 18 miles, aren't they? That's a different cattle of fish.

1/17/2007 4:26 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I was beginning to wonder if you died or something. Glad to see you posting again.

Most of the runners I follow in blogland have way more experience than I do. But one thing I've learned is that several different avenues can get you to your destination, just some more efficiently than others. You've obviously found a route that works very well for you overall based on your marathon time increases. Perhaps just needs a little tweaking, which I'm sure you'll figure out.

Good luck in the recovery.

1/17/2007 5:32 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

We'll drown our sorrows in some good Irish stout when you come down weekend after next. Speaking of which, bring a blanket or two. Pipes froze this morning.

1/17/2007 8:13 AM  
Blogger Mark I. said...

Sorry about the troubles, Andrew. I have faith in you and your approach. Keep going, Coach!

1/17/2007 11:56 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

energy, right leg, addiction, Sugarloaf, hmmm so much to comment on-

first two you probably figured out; addiction-if you can handle the miles, more power to you, I think I break down around 70+ . :)

that's a shame about Sugarloaf, and they just introduced prize money not too long ago.

how's focusing on half-marathon sound? maybe, crack your PR by five minutes

1/17/2007 7:11 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Memorial Day weekend in Burlington, VT? The Vermont City Marathon offers what I feel are a fast course and good weather conditions. I know a guy who followed Pfitzinger's 18 week plan (up to 70 mpw) and lowered his PR from 2:58 to 2:47 there in '04.

I actually disagree with Thomas and feel the coach had people like you in mind, 18 milers or not. I've been watching your program with great interest as you seem in most cases to be able to handle and recover from the faster stuff easier than the mid-week longer runs. I'm wondering if three weeks over 100 followed by one breakdown week at much lower mileage is more damaging to the psyche and body than week after week of 90 miles with more quality.

Obviously I'm influenced by what the coach is preaching, but when I look back to my logs during my 60-70 mile weeks of Pfitzinger when I was training to go sub-2:50 I had most of my long runs closer to 7 minute pace. I don't think at that point I could have done that while running 30 more miles per week.

1/17/2007 8:06 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I'm kind of thinking along the same lines as Mike. I've noticed that I'm capable of better quality training this time around sticking between 90-95 miles per week rather than the 100+ I was doing during the last build. It's only 5-10 miles, but what a difference.

However, I suspect that you will be gain enough strength from this build to handle an additional 5-10 miles during the next one, and probably at slightly faster paces.

1/18/2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger Love2Run said...

Personally, I'm all for easy days but what do I know? Seems to me that even the Kimbia athletes have easy, easy runs. Hope you find your way out of the blahs real soon.

1/18/2007 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

More random thoughts from the internets for you ... 15 mile runs, even at a slow pace, are not really recovery runs.

The Lydiardian ideal is that you're able to do a good amount of miles at a good pace every day of the week. If, for whatever reason, mental or physical, you can't do a good pace for a decent length run every day of the week, you at least want to be doing a good pace for a decent length run 4-6 days a week. To get best effect those 4-6 days should be clumped together in 2 or 3 back-to-back runs.

Ron Daws' books basically do this -- they make the Lydiardian 10 mile Mondays and Fridays doubles of 5/5 or 6/4 (and IIRC) a little slower.

You will be getting some benefit from running 100mpw at whatever pace that has to be done to get it done, and slowly letting the pace come down. But you might get quicker progress from approaching the question the other way. Your last marathon was 6:45 pace, so that establishes a baseline for your pace. How many miles could you do at an average of 7:15 or (if you want to feed the addiction) 7:30 pace? That's still faster than your Daniels' Running Formula easy pace, so you're not shuffling round by any means. 70-80 miles where you're averaging low-mid 7s might have more benefit than 100s averaging around 8:00.

Or, you could alternate weeks of each approach. Consistency and variety.

1/18/2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger fretless said...


i hope you are feeling back to 100% soon. injuries/energy stuff sucks, a lot.

if it makes you feel any better - your openness in posting about this stuff is hugely inspiring to portly snails like myself who run waay way less and way way slower than you, but still have a tendency to overdo it when we feel good - and then pay the price for the next week or two.

i guess it's stuff we all deal with, regardless of level. and i guess i, too, need to slow down a little. that is, as soon as i can run again. baaaah.

sincerely - thank you.


1/20/2007 10:28 AM  

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