Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Few Easy Miles in the Rain

Ran an out and back from home to the Park, the 6.7 mile loop to the top of the hill.  Because the pace was slow I didn't worry about my knee in the hills, figured it'd be fine.  The rain made the trail muddy and slick which kept me from picking up the pace on the downhills which was fine for today.

Training: today - 6.7 miles @ 8:15 pace
yesterday - lifting + core work.


Ron said...

hey Mike, saw your comment on the other Mike's blog and checked out your background. Pretty awesome. I'm sort of in the same boat as you, just started running after about a 10 year hiatus back in October. Galloway's book was also the first one I came to.

I've heard Daniels name thrown around a lot, but haven't had a chance to check out his book, could you possibly post something about what you think about his philosophy or general training perspective? I apologize if you have already, as I just found you're blog. Anyway just wanted to say hey to a fellow runner.

Mike said...

Hi Ron - thanks for checking out the blog. I believe there are a lot of guys like us nowadays - guys getting back into running after a long long time off. Hopefully these blogs can help to "better connect" guys like us so that we can learn from each other, keep ourselves motivated, etc to help us keep it going.

The Daniels book I'm referring to is called Daniels' Running Formula (2nd edition) I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of it.

I'm certainly no expert on his "philosophy", you'll certainly find guys here that know more about him than me - but generally speaking he breaks down training into 6 components:

1. Improve body's ability to transport blood and oxygen
2. Increase ability of running muscles to effectively use available oxygen
3. Increase lactate threshold such that it corresponds to a faster running speed
4. Increase aerobic capacity (VO2Max)
5. Increase Speed
6. Lower energy demand for running (running economy)

He then addresses each of these components by using different types of training at varying intensities (i.e running paces) at different times throughout the year (or season) to hopefully maximize performance.

So for example, Easy runs and Long Runs are mainly used to help the first 2 components, Threshold running (either in the form of Tempo Runs or Cruise Intervals) are used to address lactate threshold, Intervals are used for VO2Max, and Reps help w/ speed and running economy.

So the questions are - when to do what, how much, and what paces should you be going for each type of workout . . .

In regards to when and how much -

Daniels breaks the season down into 4 "Phases". The first phase is always Base Training. (Easy runs and Long Runs mostly) The second Phase is what he calls "Early quality". What you're doing here (and really what you're doing in Phases 3 and 4 as well) depend on what event(s) you're training for. The Third Phase is usually the toughest, and the 4th phase typically cuts the mileage back some and is meant to sharpen up your skills for your particular event. Regardless of what you're training for - the "when and how much" are described here. (You can see a bit more detail on this in my "Season Plan")

In regards to "pace" - Daniels uses something called VDOT which essentially is your "current running level" that supposedly takes all factors into consideration. (Your current running economy, VO2Max, etc) and you can approximate your VDOT simply by knowing your Current Best Time at just about any running event at a Mile length or longer. So say you know your current 5k time, 10k time, or 1-mile run - you can then look up your corresponding VDOT on one of the tables.

Based on the VDOT - all of the different training intensities (ie paces) are broken down for you. So for example if your Best Mile right now is say 5:32, that gives you a VDOT of 53 when you look it up on the table. For VDOT-53, your Easy running pace is about 8:09, your Threshold pace is about 6:32, your Interval pace is about 90 sec/400m, and your Rep pace is about 84 sec/400m. So an example Threshold workout might say "Run 5 miles at T-pace w/ 1-minute rests between miles" You just substitute your Threshold-pace from the table for T-pace.

Now what you WILL NOT FIND in Daniels' book (at least this book) are DETAILS on Base training - it's just pretty much easy runs, long runs w/ no info on how to structure a base program. Also, not much on HILLS.

Daniels substitutes Reps for Hills a lot and they are NOT the same. Reps are anaerobic and hills are not, so there is a difference.

What I find myself leaning towards right now is Daniels' for Phases 2-4, but I'm including a LONGER Base Phase up front followed by a HILLS Phase BEFORE hitting the Daniels stuff.

Daniels is very detailed and technical. . . but once you understand what he's saying, you pretty much throw all that away and just go run! (for as technical as it is - it's really not very complex once you get a good feel for what it all means) I read the book once through - then went back and re-read certain sections.

Again - I'm no expert on this stuff, but I do recommend you get a copy of the book as it's a great resource even if you decide to structure you're training program w/o using any of his materials.

Good Luck!

Ron said...

Wow, thanks for such a thorough explanation. I really like that he combines different running methods in order to evaluate fitness in a "vdot". I had never thought of it in that way before, although I had seen a variety of calculators out there to determine pace.

I agree with you still implementing hills. They are a definite strength builder for harder workouts, and as you said not anaerobic so you aren't putting as much stress on your body.

I will definitely pick up this book. I love to read about running, but I also like to know a little before I buy a book that I won't get a lot out of. It seems like this book would have a lot of technical info and since I have a pretty good knowledge of stuff I could probably apply it.

Sometimes I find the things I do in my own training end up being in books somewhere, or at least the reasons are explained. I find it's always good to find out methods through experimentation and not completely stick to a certain plan.

thanks for you're insight and giving a good overview of what I can look forward to in the book.

as always take it easy, and enjoy running.