Sunday, February 26, 2012

Improving a training week

Lucho used to have a list on his blog called 'The Rules of Joghard'. I don't remember all the rules. There was one that said: "There's a man called Canova." I do remember rules 1 and 2. Rule #1 - Family comes first. Rule #2 - Did you read #1, if not, read again. If I had list of rules about running, number 3 would be "Consistency produces great running." Which I guess is similar to the answer Steve Moneghetti gave when asked at a running camp about the best training session one could do. He replied "The 2 x 7 x 365."

I'm going to detail my training for the past week and include thoughts about how I might improve each day's running. Feel free to add your own ideas or suggestions in the comments section of this post.

Monday 20 February: 15k with the Speedygeese. A basic aerobic run. First 8k was at 5:40 per km (9:07 miles). How to improve: This could be a good day to run some strides at the end of the session.

Tuesday 21 February: 11k including a 5k club race in 23:17. Had a bit in reserve during this race, running a slight negative split. How to improve: Possibly a longer warm-up and some drills/strides prior to the race.

Wednesday 22 February: 10k easy run in 57:40. How to improve: Could run longer and easier — perhaps 12k at 6 minute kilometres (9:39 miles).

Thursday 23 February: 10k including a 1 mile race at the Vets' track meet in 7:51 and a 1200m race-walk in 7:19. The mile was a fairly easy effort, but I didn't feel up to racing hard. How to improve: Not sure, but I hadn't recovered sufficiently from Tuesday's race to race hard on Thursday.

Friday 24 February: 7k including a 3k tempo run on the grass track in 15:20. How to improve: This was a very good run as my average HR was only 136 and the track was soft. I think this run benefitted from the relatively easy Thursday. How to improve: Could possibly run a 4 or 5k tempo run.

Saturday 25 February: 16k long run at an easy pace. This run took 1 hour 45 minutes, so definitely 'long'. How to improve: Could possibly run longer (20k) or add some strides.

Sunday 26 February: 12k including a 6k race which I ran as an interval session of 1k easy, 1k hard, 1k easy, 1k hard, 1k easy, 1k hard. Didn't feel that fresh while running these. How to improve: Run a more structured interval or hill repeat session with some running drills during the warm-up.

Sprint Marathon Relay title=Finishing the Vets' Sprint Marathon Relay (like an Ekiden with 1k legs)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Racing 10,000 metres on the track

I'm not sure what it is, but there's something uniquely difficult about racing 25 laps of a 400 metre track. The ACT 10k Championships were held on Thursday evening. Although not my goal distance (that remains the 5k), I hoped to 'do well' and perhaps run close to my M50 PB of 44:54.57. Prior to the race I thought I was in good enough shape to do this, but it was not to be. My taper went okay (although in retrospect, perhaps it wasn't long enough) — I ran an easy 12.5k with the Speedygeese on Monday, an equally easy (and great feeling) 4k tempo run in the Summer Series on Tuesday, then a light 5k jog on Wednesday.

On Thursday I lined up with 28 other runners, all with the same goal: to run 25 laps of the track as fast as we could. Initially I followed Burkie, as his even-pacing is legendary and I thought he'd run around 45 minutes. Pete was running just behind, with Kelley and Mick ahead, while the fast-starting Bronwyn ran with Craig — these two quickly splitting away from our group. Following Burkie, I ran through the first k in 4:28 and the second in 4:28. Perfect! Or so I thought. I started losing contact with Burkie as we ran up the back straight to the 3k mark. 4:37 for that k — markedly slower. The rest of the race was pretty much a grind. Pete overtook just before the 5k mark (23:11) and ran a negative split, finishing in 45:59. I continued to fade, running the second half in 24:36, for a finish time of 47:46.96. Burkie finished just behind Pete in 46:07.

My average heart-rate for the race was 147 and it was lower in the second half than the first, which is unusual for a track race. For the same race in 2010 I ran 45:57 at an average heart-rate of 153. I'm slightly confused about this. I suspect my legs weren't fresh enough on Thursday evening to run at a speed that would have pushed my HR into a higher zone. Between now and my goal 5000 on 29 March I'll be running 'training' races pretty much weekly. I may turn some of those into extended training sessions as suggested by Sling in the comments on my last post.

HR data shows a poor second 5kHR data shows I couldn't maintain the effort beyond 3k

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Seeing through the fog of slow races

I've been on a 'running streak' that as of today has lasted 65 days. The idea came from Karla when I read via Twitter about the Runner's World challenge to run every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Must say that I'm enjoying my daily runs, but am sensible enough to run a very easy 4 or 5k day if I feel the need.

My weekly mileage is around 70 to 80 kilometres. I thought I'd mention a couple of recent races because I'm coming around to the view that I can't race at 100% effort every week (as a soon-to-be 55-year-old) and expect to race well. A recent article from Running Times about how aging runners train (Keeping the Fire of Youth) is worth reading.

On January 25 I raced a 3000 metres on the track in 12:59.93 (missing a season's best by 3/1000ths of a second!). My taper for this race was 1 day — an easy 5k on the day before the race. My average heart-rate for the race was 149. My legs didn't feel fresh enough to run at my 'normal' 3k racing heart-rate of 152 to 155. On Tuesday 31 January I raced 5k cross-country race on the grass course at Stromlo in 23:30. For this race I noted in my diary: "legs tired in warm-up; not much better in race." My average heart-rate for the race was 146. Last November I raced a 5k in 22:22 with an average heart-rate of 152. My number of heart-beats per km for the November race was 680 and for the recent race at Stromlo, 686 (on a harder course). What all these numbers tell me is that while I can 'train through' races (using them as a hard training session), I can't expect great results from these races. I could at age-45, but not at age-55.

Now, apart from a few foggy races, I'm happy with how my running is going. I've done a couple of runs on the grass track at Calwell and come up with similar numbers to those I recorded in 2007 (the year of some M50 PBs), so aerobically I'm feeling as fit as a Mallee bull. I think I'll target two races for proper tapers (3 to 4 days) — the 10,000m on 16 February and the 5000m on 29 March.

Stromlo Forest Park is a great place to run!
The lovely grass of Stromlo Forest Park [D Appleby photo]