Friday, February 10, 2012

Fading speed .......

I'm quite perplexed by the fact that I covered 3000m in 12:50 at the end of last year and since then have been struggling to get close to 13:00. My iron levels are so much better now than they were back then. What gives? Furthermore, my base has increased and I am consistently doing some speed work without over doing it. I am also not experiencing any significant fatigue. These are all things that should point to better pace. Alas, something that is yet to be seen!

I have been very careful to keep my easy runs easy - making an effort to keep the average HR around 130 bpm (HR @ 75% HRmax or less). As I am at day #25 of my running streak and not experiencing any significant fatigue, I at least must be getting my easy runs right. Alas, the speed efforts aren't meeting expectations! I will add that we aren't talking unreasonable expectations. These are all based on what I achieved towards the end of 2011. When I showed up at the Boathouse for a XC run as part of the YCRC summer series, it was a rude shock to jog 2K and feel very sluggish and to have the posterior tibial nerve trapped in scar tissue (from that nasty 2010 injury) so that I had some neural pain. I debated if it was even worth doing the 5K XC run on bike paths. However, these runs have a major social component and once you are there, it's hard to not at least start the run. I lined up at the start and planned to just go with the flow, trying to go with the 6 min hard, 1 min easy approach, IF I didn't feel the need to stop. Once we got going, the neural pain subsided and I gave the session a go. My 6 min hard can't have been at a great pace, as I finished in 23:57, for a 4.9K distance. I will add that the effort felt hard, although the HR data do not support the RPE. Wed was an easy run around a local Gungahlin pond after work, keeping the HR around 130 bpm. On Thurday I thought I could shoot for 12:45 @ track in the 3000m. Given I had been feeling mostly good and had achieved 12:50 @ the end of November, this didn't seem unreasonable. Alas, I held the 4:15 pace until about 1000m to go and then the wheels just fell off. I slowed substantially in the 2nd last lap and then picked it up slightly in the last lap to finish in 13:07. It really was a case of just not being able to convince the body to hold on for that last 800m. Very frustrating indeed. I took it easy in the 5 lap spiral at the end, averaging around 4:30 pace, passed by many! Despite all of that, an easy hilly run today around Black Mountain felt good, no fatigue! I also again enjoyed the company of lots of butterflies! I remain perplexed and somewhat frustrated by running stats for 2012 so far!

Running around Black Mountain often brings you in contact with
lots of little black and orange butterflies

Latest Training:
Monday - Easy run around Black Mountain 8.8K
Tuesday - Warm up 2K, XC run 4.9K @ 23:57, 6 min hard, 1 min easy
Wednesday - Easy run around Yerrabri pond - 8K HRav 130 bpm
Thursday - Warm up 2K with 25 sec 100m run throughs x 4; 3000m @ 13:07; Cool down 3 K @ 6 min/K pace; 5 lap spiral @ 4:30min/K pace.
Friday - Easy run around Black Mountain 9K - day #25 of the running streak, a fabulous day for a lunch time run, body felt good.


  1. The good news is that you're not feeling the fatigue and appear to be running OK on your easy days.

    Perhaps you're slightly out of balance with the amount of hard and easy in the programme? How are you on the 80:20 formula? You ran a hard session today (Saturday), so we have something that looks like: Sunday long, Mon easy, Tues hard, Weds easy, Thurs hard, Fri easy, Sat hard, Sunday long.

    Three hard sessions per week with not enough aerobic running to support that, or conversely, too much running on the easy days if you were trying to peak. You're a little in no-man's land with the balance. So, as I see it there are two choices: Continue to build up the mileage and cut back to two (or one) hard sessions per week OR, continue with 3 hard sessions, reduce two of the easy days to 25-30 minutes and have the long day at 60 if you want race times to improve in the near future.

    The third option is to continue with 3 hard sessions AND build up the mileage but expect ordinary races for a while as you're doing this type of build-up.

  2. I tend to agrees with Ewen here. The aerobic/endurance base is not sufficient to support 3 hard sessions of training per week. Cut back one of them, up the long distance at easy pace. I think it's just get the balance right. Speed will come with the more solid base. It's not going to happen over night. But injury or getting sick is a possibility if the balance is not right. 80/20 sounds about right.

  3. ET and TF, thanks for the feedback :o).
    Based on my calculations - 12-14K of hard training/week meets the 20:80 mix. If you convert to time, then I am even closer to the 20:80 mix. If fatigue was an issue, I wouldn't be able to run each day and not feel tired! The easy days are really easy, so I don't think making them shorter will make much difference. I think once I get to 80K/week things may start to settle. Limiting the long run to just 1 hour doesn't leave much scope for base building! But yeah, should steer clear of running with hangovers ..... ich! :o)

  4. Running with a hangover is OK, but racing isn't ;)

    Yes, see how you go by keeping things the same for a few weeks. Even though you mightn't be fatigued, the recovery part of training needs to be individualised (to optimise results) just as much as the hard part. For example, Kenny Moore didn't run well until Bowerman put him on a hard/easy/easy programme while at the same time Steve Prefontaine was running hard/hard/easy.