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Wider The Foundation, Higher The Peak

Why is a solid foundation worth investing so much time on? Many exercises physiologists conclude athletes with more miles under their feet have a greater ability to absorb tougher workouts and are less prone to injury, leading to greater gains in speed. I’ve been very fortunate to not have been injured during my last few training cycles. I’ve yet to get a black toe nail! Maybe when I cross over to triple digit weekly mileage those will become regular occurrences. The last plan I developed I included a two month building phase. Not nearly enough compared to Lydiard’s three month suggestion, but I think with a high of 82 weekly miles, it was just enough to help keep the injury bug away.
Below is my three month plan to build miles before I begin to execute technical workouts specific to my goal race in April. All of it is based on time with strength work executed on the same days as longer run days, but never on Saturday when I tackle the longest runs for the week. Forty-five minute runs are recovery runs followed by a stretching routine. During each non-recovery run I’ll have a form focus for at least 30 mins.(high knee, toe off, arm swing, upright, etc). Recovery miles will be run at least 30 seconds slower than my aerobic pace (8:15-8:30). Sundays I’ll most likely swim or do yoga (yeah, we joined a gym).

10/14 – 10/20 10/21 – 10/27 10/28 – 11/3 11/4 – 11/10
Monday 90 90 90 120
Tuesday 60 45 45 45
Wednesday 90 120 120 120
Thursday 45 45 45 45
Friday 60 90 90 90
Saturday 120 120 120 135
Sunday 45 45 45 45
Total 8.5hrs 9hrs15mins 9hrs45mins 10hrs
11/11 – 11/17 11/18 – 11/24 11/25 – 12/1 12/2 – 12/8
Monday 120 120 120 150
Tuesda 45 45 45 45
Wednesday 120 120 120 150
Thursday 45 45 45 45
Friday 90 90 90 90
Saturday 150 150 180 180
Sunday 45 45 45 45
Total 10hrs15mins 10hrs15mins 10hrs45mins 11hrs45mins
12/9 – 12/15 12/16 – 12/22 12/23 – 12/29 12/30 – 1/5
Monday 150 150 150 150
Tuesday 45 45 45 45
Wednesday 150 150 180 180
Thursday 45 45 45 45
Friday 90 90 90 90
Saturday 180 210 210 210
Sunday 45 45 45 45
Total 11hrs45mins 12hrs15mins 12hrs45mins 12hrs45mins
Monday legs/back
Wednesday arms/core
Friday chest/shoulder
Sunday cross train

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Racing Overload – Mill Race Half/P.A. Heritage Trail Half

This past Saturday I raced a secondary “A” race three weeks after running Kauai with Cristina. The next day I ran a trail half marathon for recovery. I think I fell in love with the 13.1 distance.

Saturday was the innaugural Mill Race Marathon. I raced the half marathon distance with a reach goal of running 1:23:00. My planned mile splits were: 6:50, 6:40, 6:30, 6:30, 6:30, 6:30, 6:30, 6:20, 6:20, 6:10, 6:10, 6:00, 6:00. Instead I ended up running these splits:

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 8.01.05 PM

The weather was in the 60’s and the course was flat. The only excuse I have to not hitting my splits was my lack of speed. My fitness was good and my nutrition was on point with no stomach problems. I felt good throughout the race and didn’t feel like I labored much. My legs just felt slow and I couldn’t turn them over fast enough without feeling awkward and out of balance. Running 6:30/mile pace was very comfortable. It seems training constantly at that pace really helped me. Perhaps more runs at faster paces would have helped me break through the 6:20/mile barrier more comfortably. I would say I could have ran 6:30 pace for 16 miles, easy!

The course featured a lot of turns, with minimal changes in elevation. The slopes that were evident were low and drawn out. Very easy to maintain speed with just a little more expenditure of energy. I found myself have ing to hold back on my pace early on. It was an easy course to overrun and burnout in the second half. The crowd support was pretty good with a few pockets being loud and very supportive. Not a block went by without someone cheering. The aid stations were superb. Well staffed, stocked, energized, and very organized

I felt very satisfied after the race. I managed to negative split the distance and passed many runners along the way. I was focused and ran my own race. I know with more speed work I can break through and run a 1:23:00.

The next day I ran the Heritage Trail Half Marathon in Lafayette. Having not checked the forecast for the day, I was surprised of all the rain north of Indianapolis. From what I was told it rained all night in Lafayette and would continue to rain throughout the day. Great! I wore road shoes thinking the trails would be hard packed and sandy at worst. My Mizuno Wave Precisions might as well have been bowling shoes on the muddy surface.

I made up my mind to run a semi-hard pace, but not race. Although I wasn’t sore from the previous day’s run, I didn’t want to aggrevate anything so soon after a challenging run. I sized up the competition and figured I would start in the front.img_6852 The course quickly descended down a narrow rocky trail right after the start line, so I didn’t want to be caught in heavy traffic. Once we crossed the bridge, was when the fun started. After slipping and sliding all over the trail, I pulled off to the side and let some people pass. At this time I was running in third place. A couple more miles and I let another small group pass me because I couldn’t get any traction and was more of a danger to people around me. I slowed my pace and would be content to just finish the race without falling. My shoes managed to accumulate mud that made them weigh a lot more. At the road section I managed to up my pace and started to pass people and catch up to runners who may have gone out too fast. Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 9.13.42 PM

I settled in right behind the fourth place runner and would just hang until the last aid station where I would unleash a furious kick, not! We caught up the third place runner and we ran as a pack for the last 2+ miles. We talked and they both made fun of my shoe selection. A good time. We all talked each other into racing the last mile. When the time came to go, we all went! I moved to fourth and sat right behind third. Right before the grassy area and the climb up to the finish, there’s a wooden bridge. At that point I had to slow down because I didn’t want to slip and fall. I never managed to pick up my pace again and was passed. I jogged up the hill and walked across the finish in 5th. I was happy to have run a faster pace and not fallen. The mud and rain made for a fun run. The two guys I ran ended with a sprint finish.img_6997

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Training Specificity: Developing And Utilizing The Correct Energy System

Success in any race depends on how your body reacts to the stresses of that distance. Using the principles of specificity of training this means short/intense workouts for shorter distances and long/sustained workouts for distances beyond the half-marathon. We must train the energy system we’ll utilize the most during a race.

Talking specifically about the half-marathon and marathon distances, the body need not be stressed too much at the higher end of one’s aerobic capacity (75% – 80% of max heart rate or when you’re having a hard time talking during a long sustained run). Most recreational runners can finish by running 60% of max heart rate (being able to speak multiple sentences without gasping for air during long sustained runs).

Knowing the difference between aerobic running versus anaerobic running is key in the preparation and execution phases of racing. Go out too hard during a race, and your body will delve into the anaerobic energy system – your body operating while lacking oxygen – which produces more waste (lactate acid) and operates less efficiently than the body during aerobic capacity. Too much time training the anaerobic system, usually exercises with short and quick movements high intensity movements (sprints, weight lifting, bounding and jumping), and it will take longer for the body to recover and continue effective aerobic running and the greater chances of injury.


For new or recreational runners look at the “Classic Model” and for veteran to sub-elite runners, look at “Current Model.”

Running Times Magazine mentions the proportion of time a long distance runner needs to commit to either training efforts. For the marathon distance, while running 65 miles a week, a runner need only run 2.5% of the distance at the anaerobic threshold effort or 2.5 miles a week! Why? The long distance runner doesn’t need the kind of leg speed or strength as a sprinter. Running just above our aerobic threshold (when we run and can talk in short sentences comfortably) does more to elevate our running than monotonous 400m repeat. Our bodies grow accustomed to the long distance and give us the kind of feedback regarding hydration, nutrition, and fatigue that running sprint intervals will not. To be honest, how many of us will ever possess the kind of speed that world-class distance runners have to warrant speed intervals shorter than 1200m? When we don’t stray too far from our aerobic efforts we run more controlled and efficiently. Constantly building on our aerobic base is the safest way to build endurance and speed.

The body is great at adapting. As any veteran runner will tell you, constantly running our aerobic pace becomes easier with each run. Incorporating just the right amount of speed during long training seasons will build on your base and create a new level of speed. Being mindful of your speed during training and races will help in your development as a successful runner in the long-term.

Example weekly workout:
I use talking as a gauge of effort. If you use a watch or GPS and have run a race in the previous two months use the link to McMillan’s running calculator on the right to view your pace for a number of distances.

Aerobic component:
– Weekday long run of 1 hour at talking pace. (recite part of a song and if you can go through it without gasping for air every sentence, then this is your aerobic pace)
– 1.5-2 hour weekend long run at talking pace
– 10 minute pick-ups during a long run (run a little faster than talking pace for ten minutes during your long runs)

Anaerobic component:
– 4 x 1000m repeats with 5 minute rest or rest to full recovery.
– 2 minute pick-ups during long runs.
– speed ladders (1600m, 1200m, 800, 400) or any variation of ascending or descending distances no more than 1 mile and not less than 400m. recovery is to jog half of the distance ran.