Sunday, September 21, 2008

Progression – 1980 to 2008

The lazy hazy days of summer are beckoning. I enjoyed a fragrant long run (and the company of other ACT Masters) around and over Mount Stromlo this morning. We covered 14 kilometres, at times savouring superb views of a distant city and lake — views that before the 2003 bushfires, were obscured by towering Radiata Pines.

I'm still plugging away with my training, confident in chipping some time from the M50 3000 metre PB. I'm not confident it will be a 51-second chip. A chunk of wood that size would require a massive axe, and a broad-shouldered swing — a swing that I fear is beyond my 2008 puny-muscled ability.

Nancy and Jason are devotees of spreadsheets, so I've compiled the one below for their (and other number-nerds') viewing pleasure. It follows on from 'Progression – 1992 to 2007', and shows my best track-race and half marathon performances for each year since I started running. From 1980 to 1982 I was blissfully unaware of the esoteric pleasure and elbow-bumping challenge of track racing. I can remember one road race from 1979. It was my first — the 9k Wagga Wagga City to Lake Fun Run, in which I placed 418th. Funnily enough, I conveniently fail to remember the time on the finish-line clock!

Year800m1500m3000m5000m10,000m1/2 M
20042:42.495:32.5912:23.020:54.942:20 (r)1:38:40
20032:40.75:28.712:02.721:48.1844:14 (r)1:42:39
20002:33.75:09.111:32.8-39:16 (r)1:37:39
19992:29.25:11.911:19.420:04.041:15 (r)1:36:55
19982:31.45:08.111:21.319:46 (r)41:09 (r)1:39:26
19972:24.64:58.910:53.7-38:51 (r)1:33:22
19962:27.94:59.410:34.218:58.439:33 (r)1:25:18
19952:19.84:56.410:31.818:36.538:17 (r)1:23:31
19932:22.24:49.110:16.417:59.839:39 (r)1:25:25
19922:20.24:50.99:56.918:17.537:57 (r)1:24:01
19902:20.54:52.010:27.617:51.036:55 (r)1:23:06
19892:18.34:40.210:0417:35.237:31 (r)1:21:47
19882:21.05:07 #9:56.617:37.436:25 (r)1:23:33
19872:18.54:48.99:56.517:5037:12 (r)1:24:58
19862:15.064:41.110:2718:0136:46 (r)1:22:15
19852:15.24:43.010:2418:3138:31 (r)1:25:55
1982----44:00 **-
1981----41:363:28:28 *
1980----36:35 (9k)-
(r) = 10k time run on a certified road course.
* Marathon. ** Canberra Times 9.6k. # Mile.


Blogger Runner Susan said...

Ewen, in 2006 I could have run a 1/2 M with you! That's the only year though. All your other years of 1/2 Ms are super fast. I bet you had malaria or were missing a leg in 2006.

11:57 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

Ewen, thanks for the compliment. I love numbers as much as you do. But you are wayyyy more organized than I am.

2:44 am  
Blogger Chad Sayban said...

That's some really intersting data. It looks like you have really stepped things up from the last couple of years. Nice!

7:02 am  
Blogger Jason said...

Very interesting. I like the ebbs and flows across the distances of the years.

I'd like to know what your commentary on the table is for when some times go against the trend. Training? Other factors?

8:15 am  
Anonymous Simlin said...

I think we need some graphs to make some sense of it all ;)

9:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wannabecoach said

Interesting. Your worst year (2006)coincides with you following some of my advice.

Seems I really am a wannabe.

The other years are impressive.

10:42 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

I noticed that there is hardly any difference between your half mara time in 1998 and that of all most ten years later.

That really makes me happy knowing that with good training one can hold old man time at bay.

Now if you had only used a decent moisturiser in those intervening years!

7:15 pm  
Blogger plu said...

Gee I wish I still had my 1980s data - that was a dummy spit tossing those logs.

Well done.


7:26 pm  
Blogger Phil said...

I think those 21 min 5Ks in 2008 are as impressive as the 17 min 5ks in 1988. I could barely roll off the couch in 1988 and can't do anything close to 21 this year.

You have an impressive racing history.

11:11 pm  
Blogger Tesso said...

Maybe you should spend less time on graphs and more time on training ;)

Well done in the 800m by the way.

Oh, and I'm still here, just too busy to blog ... did I say busy, I meant lazy.

8:49 am  
Blogger jojo said...

oh yeah- for the comp. if we just add it all up and work out an ave km pace-that really favours the longer distance runners as they could win by a min! how about we work out the min/km for each event separately-then average the four events
otherwise on 4 events, 4(1:10min)8(2:45min)15(5.75min)3(12min)-the average perkm is 3.8min/kms whilst my way the average is 3.54 min/km

9:37 am  
Blogger Love2Run said...

Wow, I love all those nice orderly numbers. But only 1 marathon so far?

10:18 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Susan, in 2006 I was being "Richie" to a young lady, so you could say I had a touch of bird flu.

Interesting questions Jason. '91 I was being coached by Speedygeoff, so a good year. '96 I started swimming and doing triathlons so the track running declined. '97-on I was more actively involved in helping coach a group of teenagers, so not that so focussed on my own running. 2006 was only partly due to following wannabe's advice (and not using moisturiser)... mid-year I was holidaying in the US and Canada for 5 weeks, and on return, suffered a calf injury.

Love2Run, I've finished 7 marathons - from 4:37 to 3:11, but I'm not suited to marathons and not that keen on them - especially now that they take an eternity to finish.

7:12 pm  
Anonymous cindylouwho said...

I apologize it is YOUR AREA, MATE!

7:59 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

Impressive and enduring record Ewen. What do you think was your best year?

7:09 am  
Blogger jen said...

Wow. I love it! I am a spreadsheet fan and that is a beauty. You are an amazing athlete with an impressive history. Good stuff!!

7:51 am  
Blogger trainingforsub3 said...

Ewen, Hello from the United States, Chicago IL to be precise.

One of your posts came up while I was doing a Hadd search on google. I noticed last year that you were making good results with his training program.

Are you still doing it? What is your opinion of his method?

I just did my 2400 tests for the first time today and am having a hard time finding experience runners with his training method. I would appreciate any info you care to share.


4:29 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Grellan, so far, '91 ('08s not over yet). In '91 there were 4 track PBs - 1500, 5000, 10k and 3k steeple. Also the half marathon. Pretty good times also in the 800 and 3000.

Hi Steve. I'm not doing Hadd right now. I'm transitioning to track racing - trying to get some speed/speed endurance.

I think it's a good method - as good as any for developing a solid aerobic base and raising the lactate threshold. Very suited for marathoners (Hadd's star pupil was a marathoner). I raced well off Hadd training - even though I wasn't doing the number of weekly hours that Hadd recommended. Or a long run for that matter.

One thing though, I'd introduce the 200/200 fartlek earlier into the program, or have some similar sort of regular dose of speed - even shorter sprints, strides, or short hill repeats. I found it took a long time to get my 'top end' speed back. This is probably more of a concern for older runners and 5k racers.

8:01 pm  
Blogger Rob said...

What an impressive list of numbers Ewen. I think you may have the code to the meaning of life imbedded in there somewhere.

8:33 pm  
Blogger iliketoast said...

Impressive how those times are hanging in there

2:49 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

The answer is 42... I'm not good with numbers but I'm sure they tell you what you want them to if you're a good statistician!

3:52 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

WOW interesting to read, I'm certainly a bit of a numbers nerd...almost 3 decades of excellent running in 800m,1500m,300m,5000m,10,000m and Half, plus the 7 marathons, thats quite an impressive longitudinal study that one, might have to try something like that myself, although Ive only got 20 years at most to play with, and nowhere near as good numbers. Graphs would be good too.

Sounds like Mount Stromlo was wonderful, keep plugging away, good things often come to those who persevere.

1:55 pm  
Anonymous said...


This is a great data set. Jason raised an interesting question about the ebbs and flows, but the thing that most strikes me about your data is the homogeneity of the change with age across distances. Comparing your best in 1997-98 with your best in 2007-2008 reveals that your percentage increase in race times over the decade is virtually identical (around 13.3%) for 1500m, 3K and 5K, and only a little more for the 800m (16.6%) and the half-marathon (18%). Maybe this reflects the fact that your recent training is oriented towards the 3K and 5, but when set against the tide of steady change, the ebbs and flows are fairly small ripples.

The real challenge for us ‘oldies’ is how to minimise the rate of change with age. I doubt that the answer is to train harder – because the most noticeable factor once you pass your mid-fifties is the slowing of recovery from hard sessions. So the answer must be to train smarter – but how? I think you are on the right lines with your suggestion to include more speed work in your modification of Hadd. But the loss of stride length while cadence is maintained with age suggests that it is not just lost of ability to get the legs moving quickly – the loss of power appears to reflect a greater loss of strength than speed. Do you do weight training?

The lovely picture of you trying to overtake Lily in the 3K is a perfect illustration of the fact that running is for all age groups. The competition with others is fun but the ‘serious’ competition is with yourself. Good luck with your quest for 11:07.


7:17 pm  
Blogger trainingforsub3 said...

Thanks for the tips on adding in a little speed earlier. I enjoy doing speed work and that is one thing that I will miss while building my base.

5:31 am  
Anonymous IHateToast said...

i totally kick your 3 km arse. and by "kicking your arse" i really mean "come in much further behind".

you should run slower. it's fun to watch the bottoms bounce.

9:36 am  
Blogger Dusty said...

Cool spreadsheet. That is so awesome to have all of those times recorded. This totally feeds my anal-retentive organizational freak ways.

9:50 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks again everyone for your comments - much appreciated.

IHateToast, now that I'm slower, I'm noticing more behinds. Dusty, anal-retentiveness can be useful when trying to make sense of one's training. I wish I'd had HR data from the 'old days'! Also, I'm glad there's at least one reader familiar with the lactic arms of the 800 metres :)

Canute, I totally agree that loss of power and 'spring' is a major problem for those of us born prior to the '70s. Along with inferior powers of recovery! I don't do weight training as such. I do some core-strength work and some drills. I'm intending to commence a program of more intense dynamic drills (hoping to gain some leg strength through that), also lunges, squats and pilates exercises for the legs. Our track season is yet to commence, so I think there's time for improvement in this area to make a difference.

Steve, with the speedwork during Hadd, I'd recommend not making it too anaerobic. So, with the 200/200s, the fast 200s at about 5-10k race pace... and short (sub 120m) strides, with full recoveries.

7:50 pm  
Blogger bill carter said...

Hi Ewen

That is so amazing that you have all that data to look at. I would really like to see how it matches up if you hadicap it by age. I would bet that it would say that you are an even better runner now than you ever were.

Best of luck with that pb 3000.

2:53 am  

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