Friday, September 5, 2008

Age Grading

I really enjoy using the Age Grading Calculators.  I find the information very useful.  Obviously you can determine what event is currently your best, but it also gives you some solid information as to what your current strengths and weaknesses are.  That information can then be used to tailor your training a bit, as gains can be made more quickly in your weak areas then they can in your strong areas, provided that you are training appropriately for those weak areas.

For example, my recent time trial in the 600m of 1:36.7 during a workout grades out to about 79.3.  Meaning that if I had on spikes and ran it as a race - getting down to at least 1:35.6 - I'd grade out to just over 80.  Looking at equivalent times for the 800m and mile that would be 2:12.9, and 4:54.2 respectively.   I'm fairly confident that I couldn't run a 4:54 mile now, and in fact I don't think that at the present time I could break 5-minutes.  I just don't have the endurance at this point.  However, I believe I'd have a pretty good shot at hitting that 800m time.  

If I go the other way, the 400m equivalent is 57.7, and the 200m equivalent is 26 flat.  I don't think I could hit either of those times.  I don't have enough pure speed right now.  

So the info tells me a few things.  #1 I seriously need to improve my endurance.  (of course, this has been known to me for a while)  Being able to workout at the gym during my injury kept my speed up but obviously my endurance has faded.  Now entering my base phase, my program is really focusing on improving my endurance, so this should help bring my 1500m and mile times closer to the grade.  Additionally, the improved endurance will help my 600m and 800m times as well.

#2 is really the more interesting point - my "true" speed is low - because I can age grade better in the 600m/800m then I can in the 200m/400m.  That 200m speed specifically is a concern.  Unfortunately, the 200m was never a great event for me, but being that the 100m was my best event, I'm hoping there is some potential there that I can find a way to tap into.  That's where the plyos, leg lifting, deadlift, and hills come in.  I need to lay the ground work now because in the Spring I will be focusing on legitimate speed work, probably in high volume, so my body needs to be able to handle that workload.  That's why a significant portion of my base work will be focusing on strength and explosive power in the legs.

What I need here is a two pronged approach - I need to attack this thing both from a top down (improve my endurance) AND a bottom up (pure speed) perspective.  

Lastly, the #3 thing I can get from this is that at least I'm focusing on the correct events!  Right now my sweetspot is 600m-800m meaning that's just where I have the most natural ability at this point.  I don't have the endurance to be a half-way decent distance runner and I no longer have the speed to be a sprinter, but according to the Age Grader I seem to have some ability to maintain a decent level of speed thru 600m-800m even w/o significant training.  

So I've clearly got my work cut out for me.  I need to improve my endurance a ton, and I'd better get more speed out of these legs if I ever want to get halfway decent at this.  And that's the fun of it really - Analyzing the problem, doing your best to research and then create a possible solution, and then bust your ass to execute the plan.

And when your done, have a few pints!!


9/4:  No running - weightlifting (Upper-A and abs)  stretching, rolling, easy leg lifting

9/5: AM  4-miles at very easy 8:14 pace
        PM  5-miles easy at 7:27 pace

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