Guilty of being grey
There was a forum topic on CoolRunning Australia recently about altitude training. One response caught my eye. It was from V02, who attended an elite training camp at Falls Creek:
"Probably the single piece of advice that had the greatest influence over how I train was Nic's [Nic Bideau] view that most training sessions should be either 'white' (easy recovery runs) or 'black' (hard workouts designed to maximise a specific training effect). Most runners spend too much time doing 'grey' workouts, so they get sub-optimal training and sub-optimal recovery. After seeing how slowly Mottram did his easy runs, and how unbelievably hard he pushed his quality sessions, I was convinced of the wisdom of what Nic was saying and tried to apply this to my own training."
Guilty as charged! I'm a grey runner (or have been). My hard sessions have been wimpy and my recovery runs have been 'pushing it'. I'm fixing the second problem by using a heart-rate monitor. For 'white' runs, I try to keep my heart rate as low as possible – currently between 120 and 129 (73 to 78% of my 165 maximum). For me, this is a pace of around 6 minutes per kilometre – about 40% slower than my 5k race pace.
At the moment, my 'black' training consists of two types of sessions:
1) A long run of 2 hours 30 minutes or more including some hills.
2) Track sessions at Calwell or a track race. For the track sessions, I'm still following the plan I talked about in 'How to run faster'. Yesterday my 200s were under 40 seconds (39.1 average and maximum heart rate of 160). To me, this feels fast, but I'm sure I look like a Mack truck lumbering over the grass. In time I hope to look like a Falcon GT. There are plenty of quicker cars, but the GT is fast enough.