13 December 2009

Secret Weapons for 2010

A slack week :) only did two runs (10k ez @ 5:10 & 16k ez @ 4:48)

Due to little training, I have some time to think about next year plans. No prize for guessing the goal lol. But I am really excited about next year as it will be my first ever attempting a sub-3 (of course subject to actual fitness level closer to the race day).

Presently, I haven't done anything to deserve a sub 3. My recent half-marathon (87 mins) only indicate around 3:03 marathon potential, so in that sense I haven't really earned the right to try sub-3. While there are still 6+ months plus to train, I doubt that I will be able to run 85 half which is typically used as a benchmark for sub-3 readiness. It took me 3 years to lower my half PB by 1 minute, hence to cut 2-3mins within the next 5-6 months seems to be a stretch target.

My only hope for an upside is that it will come from doing the right workouts during the marathon prep. In general, I am a better trainer than a racer. So doing the right workouts (long runs, long goal MP run etc), hitting targetted paces/effort, and training consistently will be key, and let's just hope everything will come together on race day and who knows I might be lucky :p

Anyway, I've identified 5 areas that can to help me to achieve my goal. They are not genetic-driven, so regardless of my limited talent, achieving these should contribute to running faster:

1) Lower weight

At 168cm and 68kg, my BMI is 24 which is a bit high. Earlier this week, I went to the gym and they measured my body fat percentage at 14% (not sure if accurate). Using an accepted rule of thumb that every extra pound of non-productive body weight (body fat) decreases running performance by around 1%, if I can reduce my (fat) weight by 3kg, in theory it can improve my peformance by around 5%.

This can come from better dietary regime, such as targeting low GI food and less fatty food items.

2) Upping the pace of easy runs and long runs

In the last few weeks, my average training pace (average of all sessions) is 4:50s, mainly due to doing long runs at moderate pace (around 4:40-4:50). If my average weekly training pace was 5:00 during GC prep could get me 3:04+, presumably a slightly faster average pace should get me somewhere close to 3 hour. I don't think this is not that hard to attain.

In addition, running at moderate pace also will lead to more fat burning. I read in a book that at low intensity (walking) of 25% VO2max, you burn 85% fat, 15% carb. At 65% VO2max, you burn 60% fat, 40% carb while at 85% VO2max (tempo pace) the mix is 30% fat, 70% carb. While these are percentages of fuel mix, but the key to reduce body fat is to actually lose the fat itself as TOTAL FAT CALORIES. At 25% VO2max, the fat burnt is only 0.8 kcal/kg/min (you burn 0.8 calories of fat per 1 kg of body weight every minute). But at 65% VO2max, you will actually burn fat at a rate of 1.2 kcal/kg/min. At 85% VO2max, the fat burnt is reduced again to 0.8 since the fat component is lower at 30%. Hence, upping the pace of aerobic runs to moderate level should assist in losing a couple of excess fat kgs.

3) Minimizing stoppages during runs

Last week Epi advised me to run continuously without a break in order to develop mental toughness and improve pace concentration. Some things that I can start to adopt in the next marathon prep include a) bringing fuel belt during long runs (avoid going to 7/11 to get drinks which could take 5 minutes); b) let the watch run while drinking or resting to give me incentive to ensure the break will be a quick one; and c) jogging during intervals breaks (even at 8-9 min/km) rather than standing breaks. I think a jog say at 130-140 bpm before starting the next interval should yield better fitness than starting the next one at HR of 100 bpm with standing break.

Anyway, these are just my random thoughts on a few scopes for upside improvement which are independent of my limited talent. Anyone has other ideas?

Quote of the week:
"you can run a good half marathon off of marathon training, but you can’t run a good marathon off of half marathon training" - Renato Canova


Epi said...

I do agree with the weight loss point. As I think I have mentioned, I lost about 5k this year with BMI now less than 21.

It's hard to know how much of my time improvement was due to weight loss or how much the weight loss was a sign of my increased training volumes/workload, but either way you have to think if you get your weight down, you'll get faster.

Good Luck! And see the WAMC Calendar for 2010 - Perth is 20th June this year, a couple of weeks earlier than Gold Coast.

Ewen said...

Yes, the weight loss will help for sure.

Agree also about minimising stoppages on long runs, so go the fuel belt or hand-bottle.

I wouldn't up the pace of easy runs, but yes for the mid-week run. One thing that worked for me in the old days was a group run over the Lane Cove half course mid-week for 8 weeks or so leading up to the half. We'd start at 93-5 mins and work down to 85ish mins, so it was a long, hard tempo. Could then race the half in 82, so quick enough for a good marathon (if I'd been running marathons then). The long run Sunday 24-28k, was easier - 5 min ks.