Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mixed Bag

I wound up doing the 1000m repeats today (Saturday) as I still had some soreness in the legs on Friday.  The temps have been climbing lately and it was close to 80 degrees today.  The plan was to do four, see how I felt and if I felt good go ahead and do a 5th.  Unfortunately, four was all I got in.

I'm not sure if I just don't have enough gas in the tank to hit these workouts the way I'd like because I'm tired, because I need to back off the pace on the daily runs, or because the temp was 15+ degrees warmer than the previous sessions, but I haven't been 100% lately.

4 x 1000 w/ 1-min rests:  3:32, 3:24, 3:27, 3:26.  

I just didn't feel like I could hit the time if I added a 5th - not good.  HR was up a little, probably due to me not running workouts in greater than 60-odd degrees in a while, so the 75-80 was a slight shock to the system, but that's not a good enough excuse - something isn't quite right.

However . . . . .

Last week I got back into doing my 2 x 200m as part of the warm up - but I made sure not to time them because I just wanted to get in some long strides to get me ready for the intervals.  Today I decided to go ahead and time them.  In the winter, these warm up 200s started off at about 32-34 seconds.  Soon they got down to about 30, and with the constant speed work, they eventually worked their way down to 29 and then 28.  

I haven't done any speed work in months, but I was hoping that I hadn't lost too much speed and that the 200s would come in close to 30, maybe 31.

So as to avoid any possibility of having an issue w/ the hamstrings, I made sure I ramped up into the pace for the first 30-40m before getting up to a fairly solid speed.  Coordination felt good, and I knew instantly I was way ahead of where I started last winter.  Upon finishing I was expecting to see a time under 31, maybe even close to 30-flat. . . . . so when I looked down and saw a 27.92 I was a little taken aback.  I actually thought the time must have been wrong.  I slow jogged back to the starting line and ran rep #2 exactly the same way - 27.91.  This was surprising - close to mid-season form on the 200s right out of the gate - in March?  

Clearly whatever is bugging me during the interval/threshold sessions is showing no ill effects on the speed.  So although I was hoping to do better on the 1000s, I was very happy to see that kind of pace on warm up 200s.  It's like I'm picking up right where I left off in early January.

In order to try and resolve these issues I'm having getting the workouts in the way I'd like, I'm going to back off on the pace a little bit on the daily runs.  For me, I think it's OK to have all the runs at a nice steady pace when I don't have two workouts/week, but when I start adding these workouts - I think it would be best if I back off some on the in between days.  I'm hoping that, and perhaps some more sleep will help me to hit these workouts as they're drawn up.


Fri, 3/27:  5-miles @ 6:56

Sat, 3/28:  5-miles including 4 x 1000m (3:32, 3:24, 3:27, 3:26)  (2 x 200m warm up - 27.9, 27.9)


Grellan said...

Plently of speed Mike with the 200's. The endurance/speed 1000s take a bit of work.

Easing up on the easy days is something that I've been thinking of lately following a read through the "Shades of Grey" link on Ewen's last post -

"Probably the single piece of advice that had the greatest influence over how I train was Nic's [Nic Bideau] view that most training sessions should be either 'white' (easy recovery runs) or 'black' (hard workouts designed to maximise a specific training effect). Most runners spend too much time doing 'grey' workouts, so they get sub-optimal training and sub-optimal recovery. After seeing how slowly Mottram did his easy runs, and how unbelievably hard he pushed his quality sessions, I was convinced of the wisdom of what Nic was saying and tried to apply this to my own training."

Mike said...

Thanks a lot Grellan, this seems to be very good advice.

The trap I get myself into is when I'm early in the base phase I don't do any hard workouts - so then it's OK to run a steady pace every day. When I start adding the workouts I wind up keeping that steady pace on the in between days, and even that is OK for a few weeks . . . but then the fatigue seems to build up to where I start falling off.

I think this is where I'm at right now. I'm missing a little something during my workouts. I'm going to back off on the pace of the easy days and see if that helps.


I give up on the idea of two hard interval sessions a week, it just made my slower, maybe replacing one interval session with a speed workout would give better results ie, shorter efforts with long full recoveries!
over training is the pits, all that hard work for no reward!

Mike said...

Thanks Rick. I'm not really doing two interval sessions/week. The Saturday session is just a threshold workout, which is usually not that challenging. I certainly agree - two long interval sessions/week would give me too much overall body fatigue.

This early in the season, the quality-1 session is intervals, and Q-2 is threshold/tempo. In a week or so I move to intervals and volume speed, and later it moves to intervals and speed and eventually speed and speed!

Looking over my log it seems that during this current phase, I really need to make sure I get more rest and cut back the pace on the easy days.

Ewen said...

Mike, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Before the workouts come into play you could just do the daily runs as you feel - pretty solid every day.

When you need to hit the workouts well and improve them, back off the daily-run pace a bit - at least on the day preceding a workout. Experiment a bit - but an hour or so very easy (8 min miles?) could work.

It's very interesting about the 200 warm-ups improving even though you haven't been doing speed workouts. I remember reading something Clohessy said when he was racing in the US (4:04 mile) in the 60s. He said he found doing lots of interval and rep work when he as racing actually blunted his finishing speed. Could be a similar thing for the 200s - maybe you don't really need to practise them a lot?

Mike said...

Thanks Ewen - yeah I'm definitely going to back off on the pace of the daily runs and see how that works. Also, I'm going to make sure I'm taking my Endurox R4 (a great recovery drink that I've had very good success with) after every tough workout and every long run.

In regards to the speed - interesting input. However, in my case I haven't been running for years and years - so my situation is a little different. I'm still in the process of "resurrecting" my speed back from the dead. (when you don't run for almost 20 years the muscle memory/coordination goes in the tank) I'm still working some of that out. Although I don't expect to ever get back to my HS 200m time of 22.7, I do hope to get back to 25-26. Until I get there or prove that I just can't make much more progress in that area, I feel I have to keep going on the speed work.

I believe the reason my speed hasn't regressed even w/o the speed work is because it hasn't been long enough for the muscle memory to leave me. I hope to be able to keep building the speed from here during the short interval sessions this spring/summer.

Thanks for the input - always appreciated!

bricey said...

These comments are almost as long as your posts!!

Interesting what you're finding out about the 200s before the interval runs. Personally [but what do I know!! :) ] I would have thought that 200 'strides' rather than 'fast' would be the best way to proceed. Isn't there a danger that the 200s at 27 pace become part of the 'session' rather than part of the 'warmup'?

I fully agree with the comments above regarding black and white training sessions. All I have to do now is implement it!! :)

Mike said...

Brendan - that's a good thing! My writing is so damn boring, I need the comments to carry this site! : )

I actually enjoy the long comments - getting feedback from experienced guys is great for me, I always learn something - so keep the comments coming!!

Good point about the 200s. I don't want them to interfere w/ the workout. I wish I could recall exactly how much effort I put in because the first one certainly felt like a simple cruise through when I did it. I was shocked to see that time - I was expecting a 30.x I did step up the effort a little on the 2nd one just to prove to myself that the first one wasn't a timing error on my part.

I guess I'll figure out what I've got over the next few weeks, but I'll make sure the effort isn't too high going forward.