Sunday, December 28, 2008

Custom VDOT Table

For those of you that have read the Daniels book and are familiar w/ the VDOT table and the terms "rep pace", "interval pace", "threshold pace", etc - you might look at some of the paces of my recent rep and interval workouts and say, "there's no way in hell this guy can run a 5k or 10k in the times suggested by those workout paces". . . . . . and you'd obviously be 100% correct.

If one were to look at the VDOT table and find the corresponding VDOT number associated w/ a Rep pace of 69-seconds/400m (pace of yesterday's workout) it would show a VDOT of 66.  Looking across to the estimated 5k race time for someone at VDOT-66, you'd see a blistering 5k time of 15:42!  Clearly, it would be laughable to imagine me ever running a 15:42 5k, so what's wrong??

The answer is that the standard VDOT table is set up for marathon runners.  I don't think it says that specifically in the book, but this is the case.  Later in the book where Daniels breaks down 800m runners, 3000m runners etc, he puts in separate VDOT tables for those shorter distance specialists.  In fact, for 800m runners he goes so far as to have TWO tables just for them!  One table is for the guy who is more of an 800m/1500m guy and one for someone who is more of a 400m/800m type.

Below I've posted some paces for these two 800m types as well as the data from VDOT-66.  I chose the line where each guy is running w/ the identical Rep pace of 69-seconds/400m.  

TableR-pace (400m)I-pace (Mile)T-pace (Mile)E-pace (Mile)Estimated 5k

As you can see, the further we move to the right, the more the shorter distance specialist slows down, or conversely the better the marathoner holds the pace.  When we move from R to I pace - the 400m/800m guy has already lost 16-seconds/mile compared to the marathoner, and this jumps up to almost 30-seconds/mile when we get to threshold pace.  At the end of the line, we see drastically different 5k times for guys that would run a Rep workout at exactly the same pace.  

As for me, I'm not using any of these tables exactly, but I'm loosely tied to the 400m/800m table. I've been working w/ my coach for a while now, and she's pretty much dialed in paces for me that don't always hit any of these tables, but they do seem to fit my current profile.  

For example, my Rep pace for 200m and 300m repeats is slightly faster than the 34 and 51.5 suggested by the 400m/800m table, and while I am using about a 5:16 mile pace for intervals, these workouts are much much tougher for me than the rep workouts, and it takes everything I have to get through them.  Clearly the shorter and faster I go, the more comfortable it is for me.  Hopefully w/ more training my curve will start to flatten out somewhat, and perhaps in a year or so my profile will fall between the 400m/800m and 800m/1500m types.  I don't think in 100 years I could get a profile that approaches the standard VDOT table, and that's OK.  I'm just not that type of runner.


Ewen said...

That would be mainly due to muscle-fibre type? I presume a runner such as yourself, with predominantly fast-twitch fibres is never going to have a super-fast threshold pace.

Mike said...

That's probably as good a reason as any. (although I don't really know what my fiber type breakdown looks like)

I've only been running for about 15-16 months and 4 of those I was out w/ an injury, so I'm hoping (maybe wishful thinking) that over time my endurance will improve enough such that my curve flattens some. I know my endurance is my weakest link and thus I'm hoping it can be improved the most.

I don't think it will ever approach the standard VDOT table, but maybe I can build enough endurance over the next 2-years to get me a 5k time that comes close to fitting the curve. That's the hope anyway!

O Primitivo said...

Some VDOT formulas -