Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear England re: Olympics

Dear England,
Even without snow, our coastal mountains are whiter and straighter than your bottom row of teeth.
Feel free to comment on our Olympics when you can deliver this:

rather than this:

Jolly good.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Week 16

*Update: had someone named Loren from Beverly Hills download some content here. Loren is affiliated with the Grammy's, is a member of the Beverley Hills Bar Association and works in entertainment law. I don't know anything about copyright law and I'm in no hurry to find out. For now the content has been removed. *

About 8 1/2 weeks until race day. Lots of little things to take care of between now and then: book the plane tickets, get a new passport. You know, minor issues.
Training has been mixed. I've been training under the Daniels Elite marathon program. Daniels offers a 24 week training plan containing two quality days per week and supplemental easy/recovery mileage for the other days. Q1 day is usually a long run and Q2 is almost as long but has a stronger focus on interval/threshold type work. A typical Q1 long day would look something like this:

2 miles easy+
4 miles threshold +
10 miles easy +
4 miles threshold +
2 miles easy

for a total of 22 miles and 8 miles of quality effort. A Q2 day might not be much less mileage (maybe 17m) but with a higher proportion of quality work at threshold or interval pace.

In the body of the textbook, Daniels suggests that the percentage of weekly training at threshold or interval pace be capped so as to prevent over training and/or injury. For everyone except the elite/sub elite big mileage folks, the quality days listed above take a runner well above suggested weekly caps. For example, imagine a runner doing 50 miles as week. They would perform almost half their total weekly running on a single day with a full 20% of their weekly mileage coming as threshold work in a single session. It's not hard to imagine that runner getting smashed pretty quickly.
Daniels is a smart guy and a great coach and he understands that a healthy runner will get faster than an injured one so to get around the problem of athletes breaking themselves on distances and help the average runner train under the system, Daniels suggests that non-elite runners replace prescribed distances with time targets dependent on the pace. So, if the schedule calls for 1 mile of threshold running, a sub elite athlete could replace this with 5 minutes of threshold running. One mile of interval work equals 3 minutes etc. In this way, Daniels attempts to provide enough quality work without pushing the athlete beyond the suggested weekly quality caps and risking their health and ability to continue training.

So, our example above turns from 22 miles into something like this:

12 minutes easy +
20 minutes threshold +
60 minutes easy +
20 minutes threshold +
12 minutes easy

which for everyone but the elite will end up being quite a bit less than 22 miles.

I am most certainly sub elite. I have never run a 5 minute mile. I have never run a 100 mile week. I am certainly training using times not distances. Or am I?

Initially, that was my intention. But when I calculated total mileage based on timed running using my training paces, I didn't feel that the plan had me running far enough. Sure, the quality portion was appropriate but the total distance for long runs peaked at about 15-16 miles if I remember correctly. This didn't seem to me to be far enough and so I devised a compromise. A hybrid approach if you will. I would run all the prescribed easy pace miles as miles and substitute time goals for the quality work. That way, I would still run what I considered far enough on long days. So our example turned into something like this:

2 miles easy +
20 minutes threshold +
10 miles easy +
20 minutes threshold +
2 miles easy.

It's only about two miles less total mileage but the quality portion drops from 8 miles to about 6, a reduction of 25%
I had found a solution and for 6 weeks it worked brilliantly.

What is it about human beings that causes us to make the mistake of thinking that if a small amount of something is good, then a large amount of something must be even better?

You know where this is heading: Training is going well, I'm getting fitter, times are dropping, I'm not missing workouts or getting banged up. Of course the logical thing to do is switch it up.
If a little threshold running is good, then more must be better.

Next two weeks were great, hitting workouts feeling good.

Then, a little twinge in my calf, then some pain in my calf, then a little bit of grumpiness, then a lot of grumpiness, then some missed workouts, then a cold.

So, this week, I'm back to running by time. Kerrie wrote a great post this week about being patient. I wasn't and paid the price. Good news is the calf feels good, there is still lots of time until Boston and I'm confident that the training I am doing will get me to race day feeling fresh and healthy and ready to go.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week 14

The twinge in my calf turned into pain following last week's 22 miler so I shelled this week's second quality workout and moved around the other workouts to try and put as much time between runs as possible. Still managed 52 miles of mostly easy running against what should have been a 63 mile week. Legs feels better after an Epsom salt bath and a couple sessions with the stick. Easy 20 on tap tomorrow and I'll be running two out and backs on trail to give myself a chance to pull the chute if things flare up at all.
The rest of the week is easy running and a 10 mile tempo effort on Thursday.
Had a chance to preview some of the new music I picked up including the latest album by a group called Fanfarlo. They are from England and that's pretty well all I know about them. It took me a while to think of who it was they reminded me of but then I clued in: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, indie rock darlings circa 2005.
Three songs this week. One from Fanfarlo and a couple from C.Y.H.S.Y's self titled debut from 2005.