Fundamental Training Question

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Captainblood
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Fundamental Training Question

Post by Captainblood » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:13 am

I want to keep this as simple and direct as possible because I really hope Tom will chime in.

If you are like me you can do faster and longer workouts, but adequately recovering from them is problematic. As a result I do 2 hard workouts a week with either 2 or 3 running recovery days in between. Those 2 hard days are probably the maximum or sometimes a little more than the maximum of the speed and distance that are recommended for a runner of my ability.

Since I do not do a long run would I be better off:

1) Doing 2 "hard" workouts a week with 5 total recovery days

or

2) Doing 3 "less hard" workouts a week with 4 total recovery days?

Example -- My tempo run might be 25 to 28 minutes which is the maximum (or sometimes a little bit more) of what is recommended. I could cut that back to the minimum of 20 minutes knowing I will have 1 recovery day instead of 2. All workouts could be trimmed a bit (4 mile reps instead of 5).

Of course I could do a mixture as well which might be the best of both worlds. Some weeks doing 3 workouts and other weeks doing 2.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:08 am

What is the purpose of your question? Do you feel that you are not recovering adequately with two quality sessions a week with the volume you are doing? Or do you feel like you could do more than the recommended maximums since you are adequately recovered?

Captainblood
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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by Captainblood » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:18 am

Doing 2 hard workouts I feel very adequately recovered. I guess I realize that what limits my workload is recovery.

I know Tom advocates the 2 hard workouts a week theory. But since I do not do a long run I could do 3 moderate hard workouts with 1 day of recovery after 2 of them and 2 days after the third. I am just curious as to if you could recover adequately from both set of circumstances are you getting more stimulus in one scenario over the other.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:09 pm

My recommendation would be to add a long run over trying to do more quality.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by dilluh » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:48 pm

+1 to what Dave said. While I think "big two" is ultimately the most efficient way to maximize training stimulus when you are fit, it could be that you are just burned out on this schedule and need a change in training for the sake of change. I have gone through stretches where I feel like my second big workout (Saturday long run with a tempo run inserted in the middle) gets to be a bit tiring (often more mentally than physically). What I've done in some of these cases is go to a schedule like below where you have two workouts during the week that aren't also long runs and then run your weekend long run super easy. For me, this can provide a huge mental benefit/break. As the weather cools in the fall it can be really nice to just "stroll" on that long run (smell the roses so to speak, wander different running routes, go for a trail run, etc) without it being anything close to a true workout. I'll insert 2-4 weeks of this and then go back to the "big two" scheme. It helps keep things fresh for me, I've found. YMMV of course.

M: easy
Tu: moderate mileage + CV or LT reps on track
W: v. easy
Th: easy
F: moderate mileage + tempo run
Sa: easy long run
Su: rest or v. easy

While maintaining the tenants of "keeping the ball rolling" and having an eye on what key races you have coming up, I see a lot of value in changing up the mix of workouts or the distribution of the workouts sometimes simply to for the sake of keeping things fresh. It all needs to be balanced, the total workload needs to be appropriate and it needs to include a variety of paces just as "big two" does.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by FTIR » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:57 pm

Unless you have stopped improving, you don't need to add more workouts or even a long run, just slowly up your tempo and CV paces.

My guess is that you can't recover in less than 72 hours, not so much because you are 40 something (if I remember correctly) but more because you are not fast enough, YET. As you get faster, you can recover faster. Think of Lagat and Meb and even Tinman's 16:00 50 something runners...

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:21 pm

FTIR wrote:Unless you have stopped improving, you don't need to add more workouts or even a long run, just slowly up your tempo and CV paces.

My guess is that you can't recover in less than 72 hours, not so much because you are 40 something (if I remember correctly) but more because you are not fast enough, YET. As you get faster, you can recover faster. Think of Lagat and Meb and even Tinman's 16:00 50 something runners...
This would force you to run too fast and also not get the intended benefits that you are after as you would be targeting different systems. Most people run their quality sessions too fast and this is why they have problems to begin with. To get better recovery, develop your aerobic systems and there is no better way to do this than volume. So if you are not doing a long run, I would add this before adding anything else. A long run is subjective so I am not advocating 20+ mile runs. If you are maxing at 10 then build up to 15 once a week.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by FTIR » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:20 pm

While I don't disagree with dkggpeters, exactly, he is a marathoner. A long run is more important to him than it is to a miler who happens to run 5/10ks. The miler will also require more recovery from a long run than a marathoner. dkggpeters is certainly correct that it is very easy to increase the pace of your CV and tempo runs faster than you can recover from them. I guess my question would be are you doing big workouts that kind of combine medium long runs into your workout days or are all your runs for the same amount of time?

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by Captainblood » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:08 pm

All of my workouts are the same amount of time (75 minutes).

Right now I do the workouts that I know that I can easily recover from. I have learned from experience that as I get fitter and fitter I can do monster workouts, but I notice in my logs that my legs are tired for a couple of days and if I string too many monster workouts together I start to get niggles and if I don't back off I get injured.

I am holding myself back to a fraction of the workouts I could do because I know the result if I push too hard. I have also learned that I need to back off the last couple weeks before a key race. In the past I have tried to prove myself in a workout and I end up tired or injured. What has worked for me is just maintaining the last couple of weeks into a race with solid, but unspectacular workouts.

I have made a full transformation to neutral shoes this year (Ghost/Launch 2) and my weekly mileage is manageable without a lot of pre and post run maintenance. I hope to add a long run this year even if it is only 12 miles.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by dilluh » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:31 pm

If it fits into your life/schedule, I'd suggest that modulation of daily distance/time can be an important factor. I have zero physiological reasoning for why it is but I've found by experience that going out for 60 min six days per week (6 hrs total running) to be significantly harder than say:

M: 50 min
Tu: 75 min
W: 45 min
Th: 65 min
F: 35 min
Sa: 90 min
Su: rest

Or thereabouts.

Also based on experience, I've never liked the results of not having a "long" run in my weekly schedule. As Dave pointed out, long run is a relative term but I think they're highly useful for almost all distance runners. I think when people have problems with long runs is when they think they have to be 20 milers or they have to be run as a workout. If the total consistent weekly mileage you can handle is reasonably good, a straight easy long run is not a workout. In fact, it can be a really good recovery from a moderate workout as Lydiard has shown in some of his schedules where they did a 60 min "effort" (AT) run on Friday followed by a Saturday long run.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by FTIR » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:09 pm

I think Captain Blood is in better shape than I was giving him credit for. A couple years back, I built my daily running time to 70 minutes. I too had trouble keeping quality in two of the 70 minute runs. I think dilluh and dkggpeters are right in terms of needing modulation/a long run. If you look around on here for the threads talking about all moderate pace running, the suggestion is to have two days a week that are slower or if you can't slow down, just half as far. I think that also applies in terms of volume when you are trying to run 70 or so minutes daily.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by runthe8 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:18 am

Why not think in 2 week cycles instead of weekly cycles? Then you could do 5 workouts in a 2 week period, and maybe even incorporate a "longish" run in there as well. Or make sure a couple of your harder workouts are quite long with big warm ups and cooldowns, and just forget about adding a longish run since you don't seem to like them. Which I totally understand!

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by Captainblood » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:02 am

I think a 2 week cycle is a great idea. If I did 3 workouts in a week I would have to scale the workouts down. One of the workouts might be 10 one minute hill sprints at 3k effort with a 1 minute jog recovery. A lot of you wouldn't even consider that a workout, but I need some recovery from that. I know I couldn't do 3 full scale workouts.

I don't mind long runs, but I rarely have time for them. My schedule is the main problem.

Twice a week hard workouts works great for me and I feel fully recovered. I ask a lot of questions because it helps me (and I hope others) learn about important details of training. I am hardheaded (like most runners) so sometimes I need to read it 10 times before it actually sinks in. I am always looking to learn that one piece of information that I can apply when the time is right.

This board has transformed me as a runner and I have made many significant changes as a result. When I first came on here I was running 3 hard workouts a week (really hard...5 x 1 mile at 5k pace, 3 mile tempo at 5k+10 sec/mi pace, etc). My recovery runs were 10 miles at 5k + 1:15 pace. I was only warming up with 1 mile at 7:30 pace with no strides or faster running. I was running my first mile in races 30 seconds below my goal pace. And I was running in pronation control shoes.

I hope that someone reads these posts and it changes their attitude as well. The main thing to understand is that it doesn't matter how fast or how far you can run in a workout...it matters how fast you can recover. And it doesn't matter if you think you are recovered for the next workout. If you are not quite recovered and then you do more workouts that you don't quite recover from then you will eventually end up overtrained or injured and you will not race well.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by dkggpeters » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:14 am

Captainblood wrote: I don't mind long runs, but I rarely have time for them. My schedule is the main problem.
I doubt the schedule is the problem as you can find a way to fit in an extra 45 minutes to an hour vs your normal 70 minute runs. Just get up earlier or be on the road later. It is only one day a week.

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Re: Fundamental Training Question

Post by dilluh » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:01 pm

Captainblood wrote:This board has transformed me as a runner and I have made many significant changes as a result. When I first came on here I was running 3 hard workouts a week (really hard...5 x 1 mile at 5k pace, 3 mile tempo at 5k+10 sec/mi pace, etc). My recovery runs were 10 miles at 5k + 1:15 pace. I was only warming up with 1 mile at 7:30 pace with no strides or faster running. I was running my first mile in races 30 seconds below my goal pace. And I was running in pronation control shoes.
No matter how you decide to schedule your training, you should be happy you're not training this way anymore. THE biggest thing is that large blocks of consistent training (keeping the ball rolling) will be far more impactful on race performance than any single workout or even specific sequence of workouts (I will argue though that there is a bit of magic in determining appropriate workouts to do leading up to a race that really prime you to perform well). Are there times when you do some pretty tough workouts? Absolutely, but they are balanced with adequate recovery and spaced out enough so that you aren't dragged down. Are there times when more closely packed moderate workouts makes sense? Yes. Are there times when you have so many races lined up that you don't really need to be doing anything but recovering, maintaining a good base of easy mileage and staying sharp with some short fast stuff? Yes. In every case, the main tenant is met - you find a way to recover appropriately so that consistent training (or racing) can continue. If I had to, wrongly, boil it all down it would be: Stamina development should be the primary workout focus while running total volumes that allow you to recover from the workouts and train consistently. Running at many different paces (multi-pace training) and for different lengths of time is also beneficial to development.

I too have all sorts of stories about how stupidly I used to train years ago. Some of it was that I was younger and could sort of get away with it, some of it was gleaming workouts that pros did and thinking that was what was appropriate for me and some of it was just listening to bad information thrown around on the internet.

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