Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review of Training to Run CIM in 2:30

Buildup to CIM
Well, the immediate pain of running a marathon has subsided, I've started running again so it is time to review the work I put in. Let us discuss what went well, went went poorly, and what to improve upon next time.

First, an overview: I tried to follow a Renato Canova schedule by doing as much running from + to - 10% of marathon pace as I could handle. I also tried to get in a lot of mileage, much of it ended up being slower than 8 minute pace. I also did some short hill sprints, strides and some faster pace stuff to keep my legs fresh. I place a huge importance on recovery eating and nutrition as well.

Second, long runs: My 20+ mile runs came in at 23.5, 22, 22, 22, 21, 20, and 20 miles. That's eight runs 20 miles or longer. One twenty miler in 1:59, the 23.5 miler in 2:24 with the last 11 in 1:03 and pace variation, and a 21 miler in 2:10. Those are my three best long runs ever. I tried a Bill Squires technique, which is focus on the long run and involve some pace variation particularly during the end of the run. Bill would give the team moderate workouts during the week then put everything they did during the week into the long run. It's a genius technique, and I ran several 5:2Xs and a bunch of 5:3Xs more than 15 miles into my long runs. I'll be doing that again. Also, after a 5:2X or 5:3X mile I would often back off and run 5:4X or 5:5X, which is still rather fast, but feels slow after a faster mile. In short, my long runs went extremely well.

Third, long tempos: My 9+ mile tempos were: 14, 14, 12 and a half marathon race. The two 14 mile tempos were on the same day during my special block. Aside from that workout I totally failed to do an adequate volume of tempos this cycle. I did incorporate tempo training into my long runs, which I think is very effective, but there was still a lack of 9-18 mile tempos at or slower than marathon pace in my training. I would ideally like to get in a 12-18 mile tempo every week at about 90% of marathon pace. Failing to do these workouts contributed to hitting the wall my last five miles because I was not burning enough fat during the entire race.

Fourth, short tempos: I had a 20:12 for 6k, 27:40 for 8k, 38:47 for 11.2k, 21:27 for 6.4k, and 37:40 for 10.8k. There were several other tempos of similar distances with paces 5:40+. Those tempos were quite good for me because I had never run 5:24 pace for four miles in a workout before. In the area of 4mmol lactate threshold or anaerobic threshold I did the best I have ever done, which is lacking. A good 6k-8k tempo at that pace every ten days is what it takes, about two every three weeks. A 20 minute tempo is the best workout there is in my opinion, and I didn't do enough of them. I would like to do about twice as many during my next marathon cycle.

Fifth, mileage: I had nine weeks at 100 or more miles with the two highest at 140 and 116. I also had eight weeks between 60 and 99 miles. The 140 mile week destroyed me. I only ran 64 miles and took a day off the next week. While I was running it I was fine, but I crashed after it was over. Overall I am satisfied with my mileage, but I would have liked to do more in October and November (which is another topic). I did have quite a few good medium long runs (14-18 miles), but none at a tempo pace. I greatly enjoy my slow miles and the extra efficiency they give me. It is hard to say what I will change in the future. Perhaps alternating 120 and 100 mile weeks instead of trying for 140. Given that I will be stronger next time it is hard to say now. This is one area I really listen to my body. I feel that I rested better this cycle than I ever have before by taking easy days when I needed them and running miles slow when I was tired. Overall, a step in the right direction.

Sixth, intervals: a 5mi. fartlek with 2min on 1min off the on around 5:15 pace, 4x1600m in 5:07-5:09 with 400m rest in 1:45, a 4:49 1600m with 2x800 in about 2:28 each, and a huge like eight mile fartlek at 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1 with rest equal to the previous hard running. Again I pushed what I have done in the past by setting a mile practice PR (1600m 4:49) and an amazing 4x1600m workout that was very consistent. Again I would like to do more workouts on the track of this quality like the short tempos, but I was training for a marathon so this is a lower priority.

Seventh, muscular power: I did three short hill sprints and eight stride sessions and not much in the weight room at all, I would like to more like eight and twelve. There is no reason for me to skip these any week. I should be doing a set of short hills and strides every week, or at least three times each every four weeks. Still it was better than not doing them. Overall, not enough, but what I did went well.

Eighth, nutrition: I did the best job of recovery eating this cycle that I have ever had. I ate soon after almost every workout. I ate quality vegetables and pasta and protein. I probably ate better the last six months than I ever have before. In a way that is unfortunate because while I am skinny for an American I am fat for a marathoner. Due to a friend's eating disorder I long ago set a 120 pound minimum weight limit on myself but I have not been under 126 since then. In other words, I did well but there is room for improvement.

Ninth, racing: I set personal records at just about every race distance I ran. It is hard to complain about that. I think my half marathon came at a good time although a few weeks later or earlier or both might have been better. In the future I would like to do more long races in a build up like 2-3 15k+ distance races.

Tenth, cross training: I rode my bicycles a little under 2000 miles this summer. That is over 100 hours on the bike with most of that in June and July. I think bicycling was a great addition to my training. It helped me develop my aerobic capability and fat metabolism. The routine I had this summer of an hour run followed by an hour bike ride was great and I intend to do it again. However, the amount of time spent on the bike to get the same work out of it as a run makes it impractical during peak running mileage.

Those are the main point of my training. In summary, it was my best cycle of training ever, but there are inconsistencies that I desire to correct the next time I train for a marathon. It was great, it was good, I am blessed, but I want to do better next time.

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