Sunday, February 06, 2011

Whispering sideways

There was a discussion on the radio last week about Word of the Year, and one that was mentioned during the conversation was "presenteeism" (the opposite of absenteeism). It's when the inconsiderate git working next to me on the railroad gang coughs and sneezes for a week, thereby passing on the gift of his cold. I've been suffering with this gift since last Sunday.

My gradual build-up of ego-free mileage has gone slightly sideways. Weeks of 90 and 94 kilometres have been followed by one of 72. I'll call it whispering sideways, in deference to Lorraine Moller's story in the November 2010 issue of Running Times: Becoming a Body Whisperer. Moller talks about running without a watch or heart-rate monitor and tuning into one's body. I'm still wearing the Polar, but don't feel the need to look at it constantly or check the split of every kilometre.

One of the aspects of the Maffetone training I'm doing that fascinates me is the table in the 'Want speed? Slow down!' document correlating pace at MAF heart-rate on the 5-mile MAF test with 5k race time. I'm running the MAF test on a 10k course which isn't dead flat. I call my MAF heart-rate 130 (35 beats below maximum HR) and on 25 January ran at a pace of 5:45 per km (9:15 per mile). According to Maffetone, that would put my potential 5k race time at 22:08. In late 2007 I was running a similar 10k course at a pace of 5:50 per km at a HR of 124, which would be roughly 5:34 per km (8:58 per mile) at HR 130. I raced a 5k at Stromlo two days later in 22:25, then two weeks later on the same course ran 20:54. This is my thinking as I patiently log the kilometres: When I can run 10k in 55:40 at an average HR of 130, I should be only a couple of races away from a 21-minute 5k.

MAF Test to 5k race time


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Solid mileage, that. Looks like progress is coming... and I imagine much of it is coming despite the challenge of running in what is probably some very warm weather for you guys this time of year.

2:33 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

One should point out that the week produced some of the most horrible running weather and only a masochist would have reached their weekly target. No such excuse this coming week though: weather perfect.

2:58 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Interesting aticle by Lorraine Moller, but I couldn't do that! I'm far too devoted to Mr G-armin; however, all my runs are silent, as she suggests, but solely because I'm always running alone!

As for Maffetone : all too complicated for my small brain to handle! I'd much rather just run and be done with it. Good information for those who can understand it though!

6:42 pm  
Blogger Andrew(ajh) said...

I'm a bit like Lucklegs and can't stick o complicated training plans, but your saying that training at 5:45 pace leads to 22:30 5k race times fills me with confidence

8:39 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Sweatykid, I think so. You're right about the weather challenge - the past week it's been 90 to 100F range with high humidity. We're all sweaty kids!

Speedygeoff, thanks for the forecast. I've no desire to become a masochist.

Luckylegs, sounds like Mr G-armin is your master and commander. Thankfully you're not talking to yourself on your silent runs ;)

Andrew, it's not complicated. Just do as much running as possible at Maximum Aerobic Function HR (around 80% of max HR) or less. It's not training at 5:45 pace that leads to a 22:30 5k if it's an effort to run at 5:45 pace (higher than 80% HR) - it's doing a lot of running at a good aerobic effort.

8:54 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

I'm with LL - just run, I say! However, loads of kms per week does seem to work. I'm so looking forward to having a week of cooler weather - much more runner friendly!Look after that cold!!

10:40 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Patience, mate, patience. It's not what you can do next week that counts. Keep building up until MC lets us know how not to destroy your aerobic conditioning during speed training.

1:16 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Where I work they don't believe in workers getting sick1
even with a doctors note you still get a 'welcome back' meeting with a grim faced manager:[
Marathon talk had the second part of the Ron Hill interview.
He talks about his marathon world record time and also winning Boston.
He said he never raced with a watch and just raced saying watches of that time were to heavy!
He was an amazingly strong character and makes most Brit runners of today look like wimps!
Hope your training will produce the 21 min 5k you want, fingers crossed :]

1:46 am  
Blogger Robert James Reese said...

I switched the display on my Garmin so that I can't see my pace anymore even if I wanted to mid-run. I like having the data when I get home, but I think the listening to your body piece is important.

1:47 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

All looks straightforward to me Ewen. As Thomas says the hardest part will be the patience bit. By the time you've reached the end of the base building phase you'll be chomping at the bit on the start line of your 21 minute 5k.

3:48 am  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

That whispering sideways type concept seems to be getting popular, and I think its got a very valid point very important for optimum performance...
awesome blog titles!
Not sure about this MAF stuff, but I think I understand the general hypothesis that a slow run at a low heart rate correlates to a faster run at a higher heart rate...I still think its important to do some high heart rate intervals if you want best improvement...some would disagree, but some would agree...

mileage is better than mine (not my strong point), and a easier week, is good periodisation now, and any losses wqould be either so negligible as not to matter, or due to periodisation you may actually benefit a lot from an easier week...but back to the salt mines in future weeks...
Hope your 21min 5k races are not far away. all the best with that...

4:35 am  
Blogger Bill Carter said...

Hi Ewen!

It is amazing how much I can learn after just a few minutes on your blog. It is just the greatest thing that you have spent so much time researching the science of running. As my goal is always to try (often times completely unsuccessfully) to get faster, I have been leaning on a lot of speed work and cutting my long runs down. I have noticed less soreness and quicker recoveries. Who knows? I have to guess that works for one person may be useless for another?
Take care and best of luck with your training!

4:56 am  
Blogger joe positive said...

just wanted to tell you that I love that phrase "whispering sideways." Beautiful.

11:25 am  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Love presenteeism, though it'd be nice if it didn't result in you being sick. Interesting stuff, your Maffetone adventure. I'd never have the patience for it, so I enjoy living vicariously through you. Exciting that it's working.

12:31 pm  
Blogger Dubs said...

very interesting... I think I'll look for that article. I feel like I've been running so slow and start to worry - so this looks interesting.

presentism... new word for me, I like it. I also like that I work from home and can stay away from everyone's germs!

2:29 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Interesting when L. Moller wrote...

"Neuroscientists conducting navigational studies, for example, have found that people stop forming and using their own cognitive maps once they regularly use GPS to find their way."

And I'm sure this "body whispering" is the way to go but all the same it really is hard sometimes to know if that knee pain or whatever is your body trying to tell you to slow down or your mind making it hurt knowing that you'll stop and go home to burgers and beer!

Still, going without the ipod on long runs is a very good idea! And for those that wear them in races, just stop, please.

6:17 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Strewth, I am just running... in the MAF HR zone. In fact, LL's programme is much more complicated than mine and needs a far superior command of mathematics ;)

Thomas, thanks. I have the patience of Job. Happy to keep building and follow MCs work with your preparation.

Rick, I remember Ron Hill - he invented the 'air-conditioned' singlet, which we need in these temps of 38C. I wonder what he thinks about the light weight Garmins we have these days?

Robert, yes, I'm pretty much the same. Like to have the data afterwards and do most running without looking at the monitor.

Grellan, thanks for that reassurance. There's quite a bit of base building to go.

Jonathon, I think Lydiard or Maffetone would say the high HR intervals put the "icing" on the cake. First you've got to bake a good cake. The trouble with frequent interval training (apart from it apparently damaging aerobic condition) is that it's very seductive. One gets a quick impression of improved speed.

Hi Bill! Thanks for that. It's true that individualisation and fine-tuning of any training system is important. I'll be interested to see how you go with the new approach.

JP, to hear such praise is heart-warming for an author. Even if it's only for the title of an obscure blog post ;)

Flo, next time my "mate" attends work with presenteeism I'm going home sick! Hope you have patience for my patience.

Dubs, it would be a nerve-wracking program to follow without the reassurance of the heart-rate monitor. At least it's telling you your aerobic condition is improving.

Scott, one of these days they'll have a Garmin that talks to you and tells you to go home to those beers when you've got a sore knee ;) Agree about the iPods in races!

8:19 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I am lucky, nobody can pass the cold or the flu to me because I have an office all for me.
Interesting post and I think that it is important to compare HR and speed to plan a race or a good performance.
I have both the Garmin and the chronometer (with the split and all the running stuff) but on the measured circuits I prefer the second so I don't spend my time checking the pace.

10:03 pm  
Blogger rinusrunning said...

I like the Lorraine Moller's story and belive that.
Slow makes fast and long slow trainings runs make you strong for the sort distains!.
You can run the 5 km in 21 minutes, run a marathon ;-).

6:47 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Black Knight, I envy your lack of chances to catch the Flu! I love the word "chronometer" - that's all we had in the old days.

Rinus, glad you enjoyed the story. I'd like to do 'close' to marathon training, but not run a marathon (this year)!

7:18 pm  

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