Sunday, November 04, 2012

Flying to a faster 5000

As I type this I'm listening to Scott and Kevin talking about Running in Japan. They ramble on a times (is that a Canadian thing?) but it's worth a listen. Scott recommended the Hosaka session of running fast downhill for a kilometre and jogging back up for the recovery. He does this six times. I could run such a session on the grass cross country course at Stromlo, using the first km of the 2000 metre loop. I ran there this morning with Geoff, Yelena, Andy and Joel — it was a perfect Spring day. As part of a 12k jog I ran 3 x 600 metres (200 of which is downhill), creaky at first but smoothing out to a last one at 4:15 per km pace.

On Thursday evening I raced another 5000 on the track. 22:17.48, so about a 54 second improvement on last time but less exceptional in terms of splits. The kms went: 4:24, 4:26, 4:30, 4:31 and 4:26. Average heart-rate was 149. I was really happy with the time, less so with the race. I didn't take my usual couple of easy days prior to the race — in fact, I've been returning my training to a more 'normal' volume (70k) this week. On Monday I ran hill loops and drills with the The Speedygeese; Tuesday my '17 hills' 10k course; Wednesday a steady 10k run. So to finish a 5000 just 47 seconds slower than my M50 PB took me to a happy place.

As a race though, it was rather sad. There were just five of us on the line, three of whom ran the 3000! Where are all the Masters track distance runners these days? So I came 2nd — running the whole thing pretty much as a solo time-trial. Lance was completing an easy 3k (he would run a PB the following evening of 9:54), but even so he was a little too quick. After 2 laps of 'sticking' I was by myself, running round and round and round. Craig was way up ahead on his way to a 20:27 PB. I want some competition (and fun)! To get this I'll switch to racing 3000s for a while — perhaps doing the earlier and more popular 6pm race.

Perfecting my 'both feet in the air' running style


Blogger Janene said...

Maybe it's because so many of us Masters runners fall apart and break that you don't see many running 5K on the track. If you keep knocking off that kind of time each 5K you'll be in M50 5K mode in no time!

9:09 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Six downhill 1ks? All right.

10:18 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

No worries Janene. I will be racing 5ks as soon as the 4 minutes ks return. Solo is not a worry.

10:20 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Awesome pic! Good job getting through running in no man's land like that. That's a tough way to race.

10:36 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

A tough way to run a good 5k time Ewen. Very encouraging splits. I wonder would competition have upset your flow and given rise to more erratic splits and a higher overall time?

4:25 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Good point J. I have a theory it's the Masters runners that train too much on the hard track who end up breaking.

Yes Speedygeoff. I'm up for it. If you can convince Yelena and Andy it's a good idea ;)

Lize, yeah, not a lot of fun. I'm a track tragic but races like tend to dull the enthusiasm for running round in circles.

Grellan, possibly. In the 5000 I ran in March I started too fast - probably could have got under 22 if not for that. My 'run by feel' ability has improved since then. In a big field I'd probably ignore my competition for the first 1 to 2k and race them from half distance.

3:34 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Only 5 running the 5000m? Going round and round quite alone I'd find terrifying, so rally a few more for Nov. 22, please!

9:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that originally Hosaka’s 1Km downhill repetitions were near the end of the 30Kms of training which he did daily while preparing for his amazing 60+ world record a few years ago. I assume he ran downhill at that stage in the day because he wanted to match the pace he had achieved in the morning 1Km repetitions on a flatter course.

I think the key principle of his training was very high volume including lots of Km’s faster than his marathon pace, even when tired. He was prepared to do whatever was necessary to allow him maintain a fast pace at the end of a long day. His training was super-human but I wonder whether more ordinary mortals might get some of the benefits of Hosaka’s approach by running a few down-hill Km’s faster than intended race pace at the end of a long training day.

4:36 am  
Blogger Thomas said...

I had a few races where I was all on my own, and I don't like it either, you don't get pushed properly that way (exception: the one race where I was out on my own - in front!).

Be careful with downhill strides. They are definitely beneficial, especially if you are after a good 5k time, but the injury risk is fairly high. On a grass slope you should probably be ok, but take care if you do them.

I find I run faster 5k times if I go out hard and hang on for dear life at the end. It's a painful way to run and the splits won't look anywhere near as nice, but my times are always better that way. Don't try that on any longer distances, though.

8:26 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Luckylegs, there will be more. But we don't want a 'fun run' crowd - that makes it hard if you're lapping too many slower runners (like young Anne, Ruth etc).

Canute, that's an interesting observation. Running downhill kms at the end of the day would be less stressful on the cardio-vascular system than flat kms. Yet neuromuscularly there's a benefit - more volume at or faster than marathon pace. I'm also wondering (for the 'normal' runner) if there would be a benefit from eccentric loading of the muscles (quads) from running downhill on grass for a significant distance?

8:29 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thomas, thanks. The course at Stromlo is quite soft and the downhill bits come in a couple of sections (it's not continuous downhill), so there'd be less risk I think. Yes, that's a good point too about racing fast 5ks. On one I peak for I'd like to go out a bit quicker and hang on. There's also the advantage (in a more populous race!) that you get caught up in racing a slightly faster group.

8:33 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

You are getting always faster thanks to the quality training.
Great pic.

9:09 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I echo Thomas's thoughts on running a fast 5k or even a 4 mile-5 mile race.
All my p.b.s came from pushing hard from the start and pushing deep into the pain barrier!
I 5K can never feel easy, otherwise your going too slow!
Nice photo Ewen you look just like Skippy the Kangaroo :0]

8:01 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Stefano. Hope you're back to regular running soon.

Rick, interesting... but maybe you would have run faster PBs with more even pacing ;) I came across this article in Running Times which says (for the 5k) running the first km 3 to 4% faster than goal pace is the best method. More than 6% faster for the first mile doesn't work!

6:17 pm  
Anonymous Karla said...

Love that pic!

9:42 am  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

What a fabulous photo! Too funny. Yay on the improvement, can't beat that with a stick (even if you did beat yourself a bit about the race). Great job!

10:35 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Yeah, it's a good one Karla. Props go to the photograhper though for the timing ;)

Flo, yes, but I'm seriously trying to improve my running style ;) Both feet in the air is supposed to be faster!

7:59 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

One of my short term goals (ie, from now til end March 2013) is to get over my end of long working day tiredness and get to some of the weekday afternoon sessions - ie, Speedy Geese or Spring Series or Vets Track or .... See you there .... one day ....

9:38 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

That's great Liz. They're all fun. See you there!

9:23 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Nice work in the 1hr track event last night :) See you for post run coffee and gossip tomorrow :)

9:28 pm  

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