Saturday, January 24, 2009

The 11:39 Plan

Thanks all for your suggestions, encouragement, and stirring (Scott and wannabecoach), over the ruminations in my last post. It's time to type up my training plan for racing 3000 metres in 11:39.

Being a creature of habit — work, play, running with people, solitary runs in the bush — I've decided to go with a weekly plan. One of my sisters (the good-looking one with the American accent) gave me some books for Christmas. The one that I'm reading now is "Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach" by Brad Hudson. I'm not sure that I'll exactly follow one of Hudson's Adaptive Running plans, but there are some good ideas in the book that I hope to use, such as short hill sprints and peaking by increasing the amount of running at or near race-pace.

My weekly plan is also inspired by Constantina Tomescu-Dita's one-week plan which she repeats year-round with, according to Running Times, only slight variations for the season and distance from a goal race. As Canute and Mike have pointed out, consistency is one of my strong points, so I hope to retain that consistency and gradually tweak some of the training sessions. Following is a draft of my training plan, and I'm open to suggestions, even if you say "throw it in the bin and take up lawn bowls".

Monday - 16k with the Speedygeese (optional 4k at tempo or upper aerobic pace) - aerobic support
Tuesday - 10-12k from Calwell including steep hill sprints, and/or 'sprints' on the track (optional short easy run in the morning)
Wednesday - 14-16k flat, easy - aerobic support
Thursday - Short race (400, 800, 1500 or 3000), OR 10-12k at Calwell including drills
Friday - 12-16k easy (perhaps in two runs) - aerobic support
Saturday - Intervals at 3k race-pace (such as 3 x 1000 metres)
Sunday - 14-20k easy (perhaps in two runs) - aerobic support

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Goal Setting for Runners

I've procrastinated too long. I need to set some race goals for 2009, and they're in this post. Does anyone else have the same trouble with setting goals? Last year I decided on the singular goal of running 11:07 for 3000 metres. At the time of my aberrant goal-setting, I really thought I had a chance of running such a time. It didn't happen.

I've got to say it was much easier setting goals when I was new to running. 25 years ago the PBs came my way with relative ease. I'd just select a goal that was faster than my current PB and aim for that. The toughest challenge I set myself was to break 10 minutes for 3000 metres. At the beginning of 1987 my PB was 10:24. I wanted to run "9-something" for 3k. As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to race weekly on the track throughout the year. My sequence of times were: 10:27 (March 19), 10:18 (April 2), 10:16 (April 16), 10:09 (May 14), 10:15 (June 3 on grass) and 9:56.5 (June 11). Finally, after 5 months of hard training and racing, sub-10! That time remains my lifetime PB for 3000 metres.

I like racing the 3000. This year I've lowered my expectations, which goes against my nature to aim high — "It's better to shoot for the stars and miss, than aim at the gutter and hit". Bill commented last post that I should stop being so hard on myself. Thanks Bill — training and racing with a more relaxed attitude sounds like the way to go. This year I'm aiming at the moon — still high, but I believe the 2009 version of myself has more than half a chance of landing on the moon.

Here are my racing goals for 2009:
3000 metres in 11:39 (main goal), 400 in 71, 800 in 2:42, 1500 in 5:34 and 5000 metres in 20:40.

Friday, January 09, 2009

20 seconds

I raced the 1500 metres at the combined ACT Masters/Interclub meeting last night. The only redeeming feature of my race was the absence of a sagging third leg, which no doubt will humour Steve in snowy Tokyo, as he savours yet another schooner of Belgian Tripel beer. My salchows for the 4 laps — 93, 96, 96 (sag-free), 70 (last 300 metres). Charlie Eppes will tell you that adds up to 5:55.56. Just over 6:21 per mile pace for a measly 1500 metres.

There were three heats, and Gerard Ryan, the ACT M35 record-holder with 3:55.43, was his usual cheery self as he marshalled the competitors. "You can all run C-grade!" he enthused, counting the remaining 18 runners after A and B-grades had been allocated. I positioned myself towards the outside of the starting line, next to Spody. His acceleration was characteristically slow, and I thought the pace was about right as I followed Spody to the first bend. As we ran into the home straight, he overtook a couple of runners while I sat behind them into the brisk head-wind. I pretty much followed Geoff S for the rest of the race, before he blitzed the last lap with natural 400 metre speed.

I was disappointed with my time. I ran off into the bushland behind the stadium for a solitary warm-down. I was mad about the difference 20 seconds can make. That much faster and I'd have been glowing for days, pleased to begin a new year with an M50 PB. Instead, I was gloomier than John Howard on election night. When I finally returned I was lucky to see a number of geese running brilliant 400 metre races. It looked fun! I've decided to race at least one 400 before the track season is over. If I can get to within 15 seconds of Susan's sub-60 PB I'll be extremely happy! I still haven't formulated any goals for 2009. I have decided to give the 10,000 metre race next Thursday a miss, and run the 3000 instead. Until then, I'll whistle a happy tune while training, as I dream about finding my own style, and running fast races. I hope everyone has a great weekend!