21 November 2009

Too many modifications ?

There is good article on Kara Goucher about running by feel. It is interesting to note that Kara only knows what session to do (either intervals, tempo, easy runs) the night before and her coach, Alberto Salazar only told her the actual workout contents when she shows up on track in the morning. Even then, the session could be modified depending how she handles the beginning of the session or even during the warm up.

see here


I have a confession that I frequently modify Coach's schedules to my liking. But rather than changing them depending on how I feel, I do them based on life' schedules and weather conditions. If I feel that I will be time pressed on day x, then I will swap a scheduled workout A with an impromptu easy short run. Also, if weather looks decent (cloudy or after a long rain), I would do a workout instead of a scheduled easy run.

For instance, Coach schedules the following for this week:
Mon ez, Tue Workout, Wed ez, Thu Workout. Fri ez, Sat Long

Instead, this is how I did the week:
Mon Workout, Tue ez, Wed Workout, Thu ez, Fri sort of Workout, Sat Long

All in all, only one session matched the original schedule, which is Saturday's long run. This happens almost every week, ranging from 1-2 tweaks to 6 tweaks just like this week.

I am pretty sure the program is designed for a reason. While sometimes I told Coach about the change, most of the time I didn't tell because I only can decide which session to do after seeing the day's schedule or weather.

This makes me a bad trainee. Is this good or bad??

Anyway, two weeks left before the SCSM Half. My 'modified from the original schedule' training this week:

Monday 3.5k ez/strides (5:05), 15-10-5 minutes intervals > HM pace with 4-3 minutes rest, av pace & HR: 3:59/169 for the 15, 3:58/174 for the 10, 3:49/175 for the 5, lost concentration in the middle segment but overall legs a bit tired from 32k long run two days earlier, 2.7k ez (5:30), total ~14k

Pace & HR data for the same 15-10-5 workout in the last 11 days. It seems the good result on 10 Nov was simply a function of temperature and not fitness.
5 Nov 3:59/168, 3:55/174, 3:49/176 (arvo, rain)
10 Nov 3:59/164, 3:53/169, 3:45/172 (morning, cool)
16 Nov 3:39/169, 3:58/174, 3:49/175 (arvo)

Tuesday 40 minutes easy on treadmill (5:20), 100 abs crunches, myrtle hip exercise, total 7k+

Wednesday 4k ez/strides (5:10), 2 x 6k at HM pace, First 6k in 24:44, av pace 4:08 pace, HR 165 bpm, splits 4:10, 4:12, 4:09, 4:05, 4:07. Second 6k in 24:37, av pac 4:06, HR 172, splits: 4:06, 4:06, 4:08, 4:13, 4:06, 3:58, I expected low 4s on average so a bit disappointed, thought of aborting at 4k mark in the 2nd segment but decided to be mentally disciplined and carried on, 3k ez with 4 short hill sprints (5:20), total 19k

Thursday 50mins easy in the driving rain (5:13), total 9k+

Friday 2.4k ez, 2.84k in 10:33, 3rd (av 3:44, 174 bpm), supposedly 3.2k but well short, a waste of time and effort, 2.4k ez, total 7k+

Saturday the schedule calls for 32k but short on time, planned to get up at 4.30 and start at 5, but only ran at 6am, home-tanglin rd-holland rd-sixth ave-dunearn rd-rifles range and back, first half at 5:05-4:50, second half <4:50, total 29k+ (av 4:53)

Sunday off

Total 87k for the week


Ewen said...

That was certainly an interesting interview with Goucher. I'm a fan of this sort of approach - deciding on the day what workout to do, modifying a session, or delaying a hard session, depending on how one feels when warming up.

I don't think it makes you a bad trainee. Sean would have his reasons for the schedule, but he's not on the spot to see how you're handling a session or see what the weather's like.

The Salazar/Goucher method would work best if you had total flexibility. For example, a long run on a Monday one week, Sunday the next etc. Also if you did all your training alone and weren't meeting with a group to do, for example, an interval session on Thursdays.

trailblazer777 said...

As long as you do follow the program reasonably close it shouldnt matter too much. Although doing a workout on Friday followed by long run on Saturday when you are supposed to have an easy day may result in (a) you improving faster than you would have, or (b) you being too worn out to do the long run the way you are supposed to.

I think its good training though to modify according to schedule,weather, and when you have several years experience, (which you do) you know what to do to get the best improvement. I do the same all the time, modify according to what other things are happening. I notice Epi takes a rest day Monday due to heavy work commitments I think...

The challenge is to make sure you continue to follow the program as closely as is sensible, and to keep working hard on finding a good balance between
-sticking to the program, and working hard enough and smart enough to improve, but also to
-do so in such a way as to get the best out of sessions regardless of weather, work/family schedule etc.

sometimes the best thing to do is to try again tomorrow and revise your session to take into account the un-programmed easy day or rest day.

What I do now is I write in 3-4 key (most important priority) sessions into my personal diary each week, and aim to try and hit all or most of them on whatever day I can find a suitable block of time. That works for me as my schedule is extremely chaotic and unpredictable with family stuff, and day job/night job unpredictability...
If I dont hit all the sessions one week, I try to make up for it the following week...or if its too late for that I try to refocus and work on going forward from where I am at every week...

my recommendation is (drawing on 20 years experience, and Ewen probably has been doing it longer than that); If the long run is done, and you nail 1-2 (or more) other key sessions well (on whatever day), then its a successful week and you have forward momentum. If you dont, you are losing ground...If you lose ground one week, then treat it as an easy week, and make up for it with a hard week the next week.

Going well. keep at it!