Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hosaka for Ewen Average

Earlier this week my eyes lit up when I read Sling's latest blog post. It described the finer details of Yoshihisa Hosaka's unique and somewhat repetitive training, as told in the June edition of Running Times magazine...
"His training is as follows: AM: 2.5k warm-up, 5 x 1 km from 4:00/km to 3:20/km pace, 2.5k warm-down (10k total). PM: 12k (6:00 - 5:00/km pace), 5 x 1 km downhill from 3:40/km to 3:20/km pace, jogging uphill for recovery (22k total). Essentially, Hosaka does these two workouts every day, all year around, aka 32k per day in doubles (no long runs). He said intervals are the way to go for old runners since long runs are very taxing on the body. When asked about the lack of variety, he said that the marathon is all about running at constant effort, therefore a runner needs to train to manage that constant."

What does this mean for your humble blogger, an admitted fan of Hosaka? I'd like to report that I'm cruising down the highway logging just the hours that Hosaka runs (46 minutes for the first session, 1 hour 45 minutes for the second), but I'm not. I'm running about 34 minutes for my first run then a couple of hours later 1 hour 15 minutes for my second. I haven't even thought about attempting his twice-daily sessions of speedwork.

The times that Hosaka runs for the 5 x 1 km repeats are fairly moderate for a man who, as a 60-year-old, has run 2:36:30 for the marathon. His marathon race-pace is 3:42 per km, so for the morning repeats he starts at M-pace plus 8% and finishes with M-pace minus 10%. If I were to attempt such a session, and presuming as a 50-54 Master I could run 3:30 for the marathon, my interval goal times for the kilometres would be something like 5:23 down to 4:29, which seems feasible. What doesn't seem feasible is doing a similar thing for my second run and then repeating it day after day, week after week, month after month. Instead, I plan to keep running around 125 kilometres per week of Hosaka-Hadd, perhaps less for the third week, and eventually bring in a session of Hosaka-style speedwork to go with a weekly Cross Country Club race or High Noon track race. Stay tuned!

23 Comments:

Blogger Thomas said...

That's 224km/140 miles per week, every week. Most people would not be able to sustain mileage like that, never mind at his age!

If you can run that much and not get injured, you're bound to be a very good runner, no matter the actual training paces.

8:04 pm  
Blogger Chad in the AZ Desert said...

I agree with Thomas, that's an awful lot of mileage every week. As a peak before a big race, I can see it. But even Olympic marathon runners don't log that kind of mileage continuously.

5:46 am  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Yes, I agree. He is one of those super-humans, like Dean Karnazes, who simply do not get injured, no matter how much they run. For the rest of us, it's fun to read about them, and fun to wish we could do it, but it would be extremely foolish to actually try to do it.

12:23 pm  
OpenID canute1 said...

It is interesting that so much of Hosaka’s training appears likely to be in the mid-aerobic zone; also there is a huge amount of downhill running – I presume that this develops and sustains his resistance to eccentric damage. It is likely that he has developed the ability to tolerate this training load over many years and it would be unwise to try copy it.

5:40 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

It isn't so unusual to see people running 200 plus weeks here. There is a guy in my local running club, same age as me, that does it and he can run sub 2:30 for the marathon.

Yes, I suppose you must build up to it but mainly you have to have the time. I heard Bill Rodgers once say something like, "Nobody with a full time job is going to beat me in the marathon."

The guy I know runs to and from work. I reckon if you can get the free time it isn't so superhuman to run 2 decent sessions a day.

Of course we can't all do it or sustain the amount but I think a lot more of us could do it if we actually gave it a go!

I fully plan to try it before I retire from running. Let's just hope it isn't the month before ;)

8:05 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Another though. I/we could very well emulate Hosaka's mileage and still fall far short of his achievements. He has to be something special to hold a world record! Still we would surely be very good runners as Thomas said, above.

9:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Scott, I like your "go for it" attitude - perhaps retire from work first, then try it ;) Hosaka is obviously talented, but I'd say his greatest talent is durability rather than speed. If he were fast he'd be breaking the M60 WR for 1500m. We sometimes look at the end-point of something and see it as amazing - like Martin Fryer from Canberra who's just run 433 km in two days.

Runners often find a "comfort zone" in their training and tend to stay there. How does a runner get to the point of being able to run (in Hosaka's case) 224 km per week? When does it get difficult? Perhaps they begin with one run per day of 5k. Easy. They increase this by 1k per month until they are running 10k per day. After a few years they add an afternoon run of 4k. Harder. They increase this by 1k per month - in 18 months the afternoon run is now 22k. Difficult. Does this mean the runner would run 2:36:30 for the marathon? Maybe not. Maybe the "talent gap" would mean they'd "only" run 2:45 (if they survived the training). If they were 30 years old, maybe they'd run "only" 2:20.

What I find fascinating about Hosaka's training is the repetition. Each day is groundhog day. There are no rest days, let alone recovery runs or easy days. How does he recover? Most coaches will say that the gains of training are made during the recovery period. As Canute has mentioned, much of his training is in the mid-aerobic zone. There is nothing anaerobic - even the 3:20 kilometre wouldn't be that stressful for a man capable of 3:42s for a marathon. His training lasts for 2 1/2 hours per day - so obviously he recovers sufficiently during the other 21 1/2 hours of the day!

4:06 am  
Blogger rinus said...

A good marathon time and i can believe that.
Thanks for your ROPArun support and nice how you wright Dutch!.
Have a nice weekend.
Rinus.
www.rinusrunning.punt.nl

6:52 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Yes Ewen it is all very mysterious for me as well.

It reminds me a little of Emil Zatopek who was not the text book version of what a runner should look like, or train like or be, but he was successful just the same.

While many of us have made mistakes in training and our race performances have suffered because we didn't know enough, I'll assert that there are also many that limit themselves by knowing too much.

This is the feature of running that attracts so many. Sort of like how religion attracts so many divergent followers. They reckon one can believe based on "faith" or "facts" but believing is the main thing and either way you will go to heaven.

I like to consider myself "a man of science" rather than "a man of the cloth" but I can see that it doesn't have to be one or the other.

As far as running is concerned:

Science should be understood and followed (because it is the foundation of all knowledge) Still knowbody knows, within reason, what each of us is really capable of so we shouldn't be limited by it. A little blind/dumb faith can go a long way in this sport.

And besides what a guy like Hosaka can do today may well turn out to be "correct" scientifically in the future, well at least for him.

Anyway the point is (yes I do have one)we have a heart and mind so why not use them both.

7:18 am  
Anonymous Helen Hunt said...

I used to spend countless hours running, but since I moved to London, I gave it all up.

Should get back into it again soon.
Nice blog BTW :)

1:09 am  
Blogger Dusty said...

I used to put in around 120 miles per week (2 wkts per day) in college and broke my foot because of the stress. I also found I slept a lot.

I read the two workouts and my first thought was that is a lot of showering & laundry. haha!

I need to figure out what my 1K pace is and re-read. haha! silly American. haha!

11:39 am  
Blogger Stephen Lacey said...

My cat's breath smells like cat food.

Well, only because anything else I would have said has already been said. I'm sure that many of us could emulate Hosaka's training, if not his times, given enough consistency and time for gradual and steady adaptation and progression. And time in the day. And pairs of shorts and socks. And understanding SOs.

12:39 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

A traveler can get to his destination in many different ways!
If the Hosaka method works for you then thats cool!

12:20 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

5K TRAINING;
Check this out!
http://petemagill.blogspot.com/2009/02/peter-magill-event-training-5k-road.html

5:02 am  
Blogger Rob said...

My excuse is that I don't have the time, but if I did have the time I am sure I could find another excuse.

What is this 'comfort zone' you mentioned Ewen? I do seem to remember being in one once but I haven't been able to locate it again.

8:31 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

I used to have a comfort zone
where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork
were really more like jail.

I longed so much to do the things
I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone
and paced the same old floor.

I claimed to be so busy with
the things inside the zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special
of my own.

I couldn't let my life go by
just watching others win.
I took a breath; I stepped outside
and let the change begin.

I took a step and with new strength
I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye
and closed and locked the door.

If you're in a comfort zone,
afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners
were at one time filled with doubt.

A step or two and words of praise
can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile;
success is there for you!

9:22 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Speedygeoff, that's the most inspiring poem I've read since ‘The Second Coming’ by Yeats.

Rick, that's excellent advice about 5k training by Pete Magill. At the moment I remain fascinated by Hosaka-type training as I've never consistently done 'high' mileage before.

7:34 pm  
Blogger jojo said...

OI
DONT GET TOO FAST. how am i supposed to beat you over the 1500?(thats our comp race for summer isnt it?)
is our winter one 10km???5km?

9:19 pm  
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8:46 am  
Blogger Dusty said...

Thought about you with my 800 on Tuesday!

12:07 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Hi Ewen, here is the link to Hosaka's article from RT.

http://www.runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=16503

5:41 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Sling - I've added a link in my most recent post. I also have the 'paper' copy of Running Times!

11:20 am  
Blogger Robert Song said...

If the training that Hosaka does is only mid-aerobic and it is only for 2 and a half hours a day then it really isn't that much of a feat. In many places in the Third World people toil for 8 to 10 hours a day at aerobic levels just to survive.

For anybody who has trekked in Nepal, you will no doubt have been amazed at the performance of the Sherpas who carry enormous loads on their backs in high altitude, up and down incredibly steep mountains each and every day of their lives.

I agree with Scott that a lot of what we think we can do or can't do is in the mind.

We can all marvel at his records because we are so far from those times but it is quite possible that his training methods may be actually holding him back from reaching his full potential. Now that is a scarry thought.

I am sticking with Lydiard for the time being.

10:27 pm  

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