Base Results - 2011
Four weeks of training. To be honest, the first two weeks were nowhere near as consistent as I would have liked. A number of factors led to this, both uncontrollable and controllable. I learnt from my mistakes and put together a high quality second half. Now with a handful of days for a couple of tests, a little recovery, I can take stock of where my fitness is at. Then plan the phase of preparation.
The original description of intent and training outline for the Base period can be found in Base Training - 2011, and also in Basic Structure.
Now to step through each goal.
Run For 3 Hours Comfortably
Partial tick? I hit most aspects of my goals for this. I know I can now just go out and run for 3 hours at a reasonable pace, and feel pretty comfortable. I had been hoping the pace would get down towards the 5:00/km mark, but I am currently at 5:40/km. Up from the 6:22/km over 2.5 hours that I started with. Otherwise, I can get through a run with a slight negative split and feel quite good throughout.
Efficient And Relatively Fast At Low Effort Levels
This has definitely improved. At the start of base training, I had a Maximal Aerobic Function (MAF) pace of 4:30/km (7th June). A couple of week later this was reduced to 4:21/km and now I have just recorded 4:18/km. Which is the fastest I have ever hit. It is well ahead of my 2009 campaign at any stage, let alone just at the end of Base. I have been hoping to have a MAF pace faster than 4:15/km by the time I reach the marathon. Looks like I am on track there.
Strength And Structure To Handle The Next Phases:
Run 3 hours comfortably, and be able to back up 1 hours run the next 2 day
Definitely covered. Covering 32km in just under 3 hours, means I feel a few tight spots, and a bit of top end power knocked off, but still can feel comfortable running over the next two days in my aerobic zone.
Run every day, without accumulating fatigue that feels like it requires 2 or more days recovery.
Two weeks, of no run missed, only the occasional day where I feel slow and a noticeable average increase in training speed across all intensity levels shows I have hit this goal right in the middle.
Perform sprints and short fast running that has my legs feeling energised and not hammered
Not quite there. Run throughs, and moderate sprints as part of a warm up get me feeling quick. Genuine sprints are still knocking me around a fair bit. Mainly in the connective tissues of my lower leg. This will require some attention over the next phase.
Feel comfortable at both aerobic conditioning and threshold intensities
Aerobic conditioning is done and dusted. It is my bread and butter, so natural. To be honest, I struggled a fair bit during the Base phase with the threshold training. For the most part I could in the about 30 minutes worth of work, but that was it up until the last week. In the final week, I was finally able to finish a proper 2 x 7.6km session at the right paces and intensity level. Most of it felt comfortable, but I have to admit there were a few times I really just wanted to slow down. That would probably mean I'm at 80% of where I really wanted to be.
See improvement in strength in the gym without it dropping the standard of my key runs
Didn't happen. My strength levels in the gym are just about the same as at the start of Base training. I didn't find that the strength training impinged on the running. It was the opposite. With the substantial increase of running over the last four weeks, the gym work became quite difficult. It was a real effort to just try and maintain what I was already doing.
I've enough of my targets that I am happy with where I am. I know covering the distance isn't an issue. My MAF paces are where I want. I managed to just reach my Threshold target (but it wasn't easy).
My lower end, intensity/endurance is coming along almost as hoped. At this stage this is the most important element in marathon training. Without it, the rest doesn't matter, so I have the priority right.
The higher end running, is lacking the zest and comfort I really was looking for. Still, there is plenty of time to develop this, and more importantly I think I have the body conditioned to be able to the training that is to come.