Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Long Runs Kissed Goodnight

I've had one low-key race since The Canberra Times 10k — a 4k handicap organised by the ACT Vets. I ran 18:56 on the not-so-easy course, made harder by an overly fast start. Regular weekly track racing commences on Thursday week and I intend to race events from the 800 to the 5000 metres. Can't wait!

My training will be geared towards racing a good 5000 (and road 5k). With that in mind I'm dropping the long runs from my training programme. I have a tendency to plod and shuffle on runs much longer than 60 minutes. Running with that technique doesn't help my goal of developing springy muscles and a springy stride. Very long runs (2 hours or more) just make me tired! I think replacing the traditional weekly long run with another speedy session will help my 5k goal.

I don't think I'll lose much in the way of aerobic endurance by running 'low' mileage. The 46:25 10k was preceded by 12 weeks averaging 58k (36 miles) per week. For the 2008 version of the same race (46:44) my average weekly mileage was 81k (50 miles) for the 12 weeks. So I'm relaxed about a low volume summer. I haven't decided what a typical training week would look like. Perhaps something like: Thursday race, Friday 10k, Saturday 10k, Sunday long intervals, Monday 10k, Tuesday short intevals/hills, Wednesday 10k. A rest day out of that when I feel I need one. The 10k runs would be at MAF heart-rate.

I was happy to see 37-year-old Paula Radcliffe (a runner who has a particularly springy stride) run a good marathon at Berlin recently (2:23:46), coincidentally on the same day that Patrick Makau ran an astonishing 2:03:38 to break the great Haile Gebrselassie's world record. There's a video of Paula racing to win the 2008 New York Marathon which brilliantly shows her springy stride breaking away from the flat-striding Ludmila Petrova at 22 miles. I'd love to run like Paula. Just a little.


Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Good video - proves your point.

10:25 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

well if the 10ks are solid enough & there's a recovery day somewhere you won't get exhausted any more and who knows - after you plateau doing that training eventually the odd long run can be re-included.

10:33 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Well Ewen I can teach you the nodding head style of Paula if you like:0]
You do seem to be running quite a lot better at the moment ,so long may your improvements keep coming.
Check out this for some training ideas.

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

Well Ewen I can teach you the nodding head style to go with the bouncy stride :0]
You do seem to by going quite well right now, so you look good for the summer.
Check out this link for some training ideas;

12:20 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

Cutting back on the volume and introducing more speed should certainly see you get faster, especially coming off a reasonably solid endurance base.

2:00 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Hi Ewen Do you put your improvement down to the MAF base builing as you seem to be going really well?
Check out this link for some speedy training ideas;

3:38 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

P.S. I can teach you the Paula Nodding head style to go with the springy stride!
Your soon by doing 5 min mile pace for your 5ks :0]

3:41 am  
Blogger Thomas said...

Sorry, but I disagree. Running less won't make you faster.

3:52 am  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Perhaps because I am old but if I work on the speed I don't do the long distance runs. Even if at the moment I don't have any short race in my plans.
Rugby World Cup. At last we change head coach, today against Ireland we followed a wrong defensive strategy.

3:55 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Geoff, good point. I'm going to be watchful for a plateau. Also, re exhaustion, the low mileage is fitting in better with my long work hours.

Grellan, yes I hope so. The tricky thing will be holding the endurance through a long track season.

Rick, I think the MAF base building helped a lot. The effort level at that HR range seems to strike just the right balance. Day-to-day recovery is good and running form isn't too far removed from race form (I can run with springiness). Thanks for the link - I'll check that out. And yes, I'm happy to hire you as my Paula form coach... start with the head and work your way down ;)

Thomas, you're right in one respect. If you run less volume at the same intensity you won't get faster. There are lots of examples of 'low volume' runners who do amazingly well... Sabra Harvey for instance. And my friend Kathy, who is close to breaking the Australian 3000m record for age-55 (her first 3k of the season was 11:17), and runs around 30 miles a week.

Stefano, 36 - 6! Thomas and Grellan will be cheering. I think Italy should employ YOU as their head coach!

9:50 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I think Thomas is missing the point of Arthur Lydiards training pyramid!
Build a massive base then raise the roof with anaerobic speed work!
Your on the right track Ewen and I wish you the very best this Summer, dam it will be winer here :0[

10:56 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Opps massive tyro error, should have read 'WINTER'!

10:57 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Given that your main goal is a sub 20min 5km, I think it's good to put greater emphasis on running shorter and sharper more of the time. The only slight variation I'd make to your proposed weekly schedule, is to make your Sat run 15km. What's +5km? :) It will just give you a titch more endurance and a titch more variation in routine run distance; both of which may benefit your 5km racing without making you overly tired. Just a suggestion ...

11:20 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Oh and yeah, Paula is my hero.

11:21 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Bob, meant to thank you for that first comment.

Rick, enjoy your winter base-building ;) It was back to winter here yesterday - about 10C, cold and rainy. Sunny for my arvo run today though :) Interesting quote on that Lydiard article you sent regarding his thoughts on shoes "If you want to be a good runner, you have got to have the spring of a ballet dancer. If you put your foot into these modern running shoes you can't move your foot and we lose all that speed and flexion in the arch."

Jog, thanks. Good suggestion - 15 to 16k for a Saturday run would be fine. I could 'warm-up' 3 or 4k before doing 'normal' 10k pace, then a warm-down jog.

1:50 pm  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Congrats on the race, you racing machine!

Sounds like a brilliant plan, you obviously have a great aerobic base so you're not going to lose anything and I can totally see you getting those springy legs you've been pining for (and have had recently!).

Very exciting to see you zero in more specifically towards shorter racing. I love learning through my friends. :)

3:23 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

A 15 km on sat would help Strewth out a bit for company & have you back in time for coffee. No need to nana nap in the arvo, great plan.

7:50 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Yes Ewen you could warm up 3km and cool down 3km with me on Sats and run a fast 10km in the middle on your own to make 16km:)Then meet for coffee and goss later - sounds like a plan! You can't give up our Sat morn runs altogether. That would be sad:(

11:12 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Oh and I have Paula's book you can borrow if you haven't read it. She's an inspiration:)

11:14 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

I agree with Rick - once the base is there you can cut back on the volume and concentrate on speed. My recent HM/15 mile PBs were on the back of 40 mile weeks following 6 months of base building. Took a while to get the spring back in my step. For shorter track races you'd get away with less.

Speaking of Paula, a bit of trivia - her physio, Gerard Hartmann, and I share the same great grandfather.

7:37 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Flo, thanks. I could use your aerobic base for 10k races! I enjoy racing (short races that is), so am looking forward to becoming a 'racing machine'.

2F, yes, less running means more coffee time ;)

Strewth, good plan. When I speed up after 3k tell Andy it's not because his jokes aren't funny. And yes, I'd like to read Paula's book... but have to finish The Slap, which Andy lent me 4 months ago!

Grellan, good Paula trivia! You're certainly running well, so must have the base/cut-back ratio correct. I think there's also something to 'lifetime mileage' regarding holding an aerobic base.

3:53 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Sorry didn't manage to spot you at the finish Ewen, but you are right that I was the guy that finished in 3.09 today.

Btw, do you know that Hadd has died? I know that his method has some influence on your training.

11:09 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Sorry to hear of Mr. Hadd's passing. I was reading thru the "Let's Run" message board and although I didn't know him, by what others were saying, he seemed like a top fella!

Damn that's too young to die!

Anyway, I'm going to agree with Thomas if for no other reason than nobody else will ;)

All the best for this racing season Ewen!

8:09 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Hi Sling. No, I didn't know that (about Hadd's passing). Have just been reading through that thread on Letsrun. Very sad news indeed and my condolences go out to his wife, family and friends.

Scott, yes, far too young.
And I like how you live on the edge like that - coming to Thomas's defence. He needs friends. Just don't say you're backing the Wallabies against the All-Blacks in the semi-final ;)

9:38 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Well done on your Melb 10km. Hope you enjoyed some nostalgic loops around the Tan while there as well. I know I did - just not 27 of them :) It was also good to catch up for lunch/coffee post my marathon run. My mum really enjoyed seeing you again. She said you are "lovely and kind". All true :)

8:41 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Liz. I enjoyed 3 laps Monday and 1 on Tuesday... well short of your 27 in a row! Yes, lunch was fun. Remind me to tell your mum one day that she's a great judge of character ;)

8:31 pm  

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