Showing posts from December, 2009

Happy New Toe Nails

Since the marathon I just haven't hit that real training mark. Despite my best intentions, training has only ever felt okay. Never great. Which is disappointing, because I had gotten used to feeling great with running every day. Moving away from the stupid season that is the lead up to Christmas, it is now appropriate to look at how I can get back to where I want to be.

The plan outlined in Progression still makes sense to me. The fundamentals are fine, and really are not the problem. However, there are a couple of slight changes I now plan on making. These changes are not really about the technicalities of exercise science, rather more about my head space.

Where to begin?

It seems best to identify where the problems are coming from. No point fixing the symptoms if the cause isn't dealt with. Taking a good hard look at life and training I now believe the following to be the key to my lack lustre training:

Stress: selling the house, and now having only a few weeks with no new place…


So much for some quality running in the few days leading into Christmas. There have been too many people of sharing nature around me over the last week. Unforunately they have decided to share their gastro germs with me. This will leave me with doing just whatever I can before the New Year. As much as I tend to avoid the setting of resolutions for the next calendar, it looks like that's exactly what I'll be doing this time around.

It Isn't Just Overtraining

There have been many different methods touted to monitor training versus recovery levels. Overtraining as a concept now seems to encompass any regeneration period required from a training load. With the wealth of advice on avoiding overtraining and trying to ensure adequate recovery it appears to me that the pendulum is stuck on the conservative side. The ultimate standard being aimed for seems to being able to recognise when overtraining is about to occur, before it actually does.

The various methods suggested to achieve this mainly try to attempt to make it an objective exercise. Those from the scientific mindset usually like definitive numbers to work with as they are much easier to replicate, measure and compare than are subjective feelings. Methods include making decisions based on variations in resting heart rate, orthostatic heart rate changes, R-R variability, heart rate at set paces, ratings of perceived exertion versus either heart rate or pace, or various predictors from the…


Having covered the reasoning and rough plan of my training in a rather long-winded way, I thought it would be best to make things more practical. Instead of paragraphs of reasoning or justifications for what I am doing, I'll simply write down, what I plan to do.
No racing for the rest of the year. Just an attempt to get in a reasonable training load up until Christmas. Once into the new year I'll have a think about how my training is going, work out when my leave is likely to be and decide on what races I want to do. I still think starting out with getting my 10km time down before hitting the marathon again is the way I'll head.


There is a template for my weekly (which is really a 7-9 day cycle) training. The order of each session will vary depending on work. family and other life commitments. So my VO2 runs will not always precede my long aerobic runs. I'll make a decision on the order from the perspective of only a few days, trying to make the most of wha…

New Values

Over the previous year my training status progressed considerably. Twice I found it necessary to adjust my heart rate zones. Over the last month of training, I noticed these adjusted zones became almost redundant. I am heading back into a new training plan I need to put down some heart rate guidelines. My last few races and, particularly the marathon provide me excellent reference points for these zones.

Using four intensity levels I have the following:

VO2 V: 170-188bpm
Threshold T: 160-169bpm
Endurance E: 141-159bpm
Base B: <= 140bpm
HR maximum is 188bpm.Resting HR is approximately 40bpm, but I never worry about measuring it any more.

The key difference is how I define the Threshold zone. It used be 153-169bpm, but with my training progression and values from races, it is clear my threshold is well above 153 (which was taken from the Maffetone formula). Key reasoning for the upgrade is I was able to sustain a pace, that was a little below the point of lactate accumulation for about 30k…

I'll Consider Myself Educated

A very successful training and racing stint over the last year points out I have got a few things right. By now I should know at least a little bit about running. With a degree in the topic, work experience in various coaching and training roles plus a good number of years of competing in endurance sports (mainly running), then you would hope I would be on track by now. Using the back drop of my recent marathon training, I present a kind of summary on the important elements of run training.

Science is only an attempt to explain:
Just because something is scientific or involves formulae, doesn't mean it will work. There are plenty of training packages or diet advice being marketed as science based. Using a one or just a few numbers to define training intensity, load or recovery is too simplistic to be used all the time. How can you put into a number the elements of sleep quality, toll of work, family responsibilities, recovery requirements of reducing interval rest periods from 2min …

The Last Bit of 2009

The first training cycle is out of the way. I've had some catch up sleep. Feeling good again.

Now where do I go to from here?

The short answer is base building. Which of course raises another question?

Building a base for what?

Naturally that leads to more questions, which lead to more questions and I really need to keep to basics so I don't get caught up in the details and miss the overall concept. At this stage I don't have plans set in concrete. Instead I really just have an idea of where I want things to head.

The Idea

No racing for the rest of the year.In 2010 my main aim is running another marathon in the second half of the year, most likely Melbourne again, but may not be.Naturally I want to run faster again, with the outlook to working towards a preferential start in the Melbourne marathon within 5 years. That means running sub 2:50.In the meantime, before I start specific marathon training, I want to really get my 10km and half marathon times down.I will probably go on …