20 February 2010

Old skool Aussie

Week 5 of 9 (one month to go…gulp!)

Last week, Ewen left an interesting comment on my blog:
"I'd stick to the 2 speed/2 easy long - esp if that's on the SW plan. When the marathon comes around, the speed and endurance meet with a MP race. "

In general, SW plan follows the old school Australian training system along the same line of past Aussie greats such as Deek, Mona, Wardlaw etc. The similarities lie in terms of structure and long run paces.

Typical week under SW for me includes 2 speed sessions on Tues & Thur, a medium long run on Wed (20k+), and long run on Sat (30k+). Other days are easy. I personally request one day off every week which is Sun.

Deek's training, for instance, was as follows
mon: 10km and 16km
tues: 10km and 10km in 38mins followed by 12 laps alternating straights and corners hard easy
wed: 10km and 29km
thurs: 10km and 8 x 400m off 200m floats
fri: 10km and 18kmsat: 19-21 km and 10km
sun: 33-36 kms in 2 hrs 15 to 2 hr 40 and 8km

Hence, Deek's structure included 2 speed days, mid-week medium long run and Sunday long runs.The rest were easy days.

Based on info on public domain, Mona's typical Sunday run was 35k in 150mins. That's 4:20 pace, or 1+ min/km slower than their MP. Deek's typical Sunday run was 33-36k in 135-160mins. This is about 4:10-4:25 pace , hence also about 1min slower than his MP.

The new breed of Aussie marathoners such as Jeff Hunt, wrote in his blog that he does his 38k long run in 150mins or 4:00 pace. This is about 50secs slower than his marathon pace (2:11).

It seems that all of these Aussies do easy-paced long runs at around 50-70 secs slower than MP. There are no so-called 'long runs at race pace (MP).

Maybe some of the Perth-ites could pose this question to Mona during the training camp :)

On the contrary, African and modern US runners incorporate MP running in their regime. Geb & Wanjiru are known to run 30k at competition speed. US marathoners such as Ryan Hall and Brett Gotcher (coached by Mcmillan) run 15 mile tempo runs at MP

For a runner of my (slow) standard, SW schedules long runs at 5:00 pace. I once asked him whether should I do MP long run. His answer was that I could run at MP for the last 30mins but I need to run the early part of the long run slower so that the av pace is still 5:00. For instance, if the schedule calls for 30k in 2h:30m (5:00 pace). I could run the last clip at MP, but have to run the first couple hours slower, so that the total duration is still 2h:30m.

I guess "time on your feet" for raw endurance is an important component of Aussie system.

Up to this point, I haven't done any long MP runs. For past marathons, I usually did a couple of long MP sessions and they worked well for me. Last week I tried to do 20k at 4:20 pace, but found it tough and ended up averaging close to 4:30.

Curious to get your views on:
1) whether MP runs are key to your marathon performance? How many sessions did you do during the marathon prep and how long per session?
2) Next week, I have a 32k schedule and this would be my last chance to do long MP runs (after that, the weekend long runs will taper off). Should I do the MP stuff next week or stick to the suggested pace of 5:00?

Anyway, training this week was affected by the trip to Jakarta and lingering ITB problems. Ran 15% lower mileage to finish at 84km for the week. Only did one session and one long run instead of normal 2 sessions and 2 long runs, so about half the load. The workouts were:

1) 15k continuous tempo in 61:50 (av 4:08 pace). This is supposed to be a TT but due to ITB issue, I decided to run it at current HM pace. I hope this should make running the first 20-25k in cool-weather Seoul to be relatively comfortable.

2) 36k long run in 3hours (5:00 pace) done 2 days after the 15k tempo, hence I had yet to fully recover from that workout. ITB was aching badly, therefore I was glad to complete the run. I also only stopped for 5mins in total (toilet, drinks refill) during the 3 hours, so it was almost continuous.


Ewen said...

Hope the ITB is OK Sling. Think I'd stick to the suggested 5:00 pace long run next week.

Deek sometimes ran the Sat run 'hard', so better than MP, but not in a long run. Mona is still running 'non workout' runs 'slow' according to this interview - "closer to 5:00 kms", so although not marathoning, he's much slower than 10k race pace on non workout runs.

Epi said...

Really interesting Sling,

I guess MP runs aren't training a physiological system as specifically as slow long runs, thresholds/intervals, but might be giving a psychological benefit in terms of pacing and concentration?

I don't think I'm a great example as I tend to go faster than recommended on easy runs, but I did a little MP stuff in the leadup to my PB - a couple of midweek sessions and the last bit of a long run.

I'll try to ask Mona about this if we get the opportunity

trailblazer777 said...

good analysis there Sling, and extremely interesting to think about.

I have many thoughts on this subject, here are some;
1-In my opinion many people do too many of their long runs at too fast a pace. I'm probably guilty of going to the other extreme and doing too many of my long runs at very slow pace in the last 10 years.

2-As a young teenage racewalker in the late 1980's/early 1990's I often used to do 20k-30k long walks too fast at
LFD ish type pace, and my coach (who had run the marathon at Olympic level, and for the past 20-30 years has been of state to national standard as a racewalker, still is now in his 80's as far as I know, won *AUSTRALIAN* Masters Gold in his 80's as recently as 2 years ago) often used to say to me; "if you race your training you will train your races". I found this hard to accept, at the time, as I wanted to race all my training and my races. More than 20 years later, after significant training experience and significant reading, I more and more see the wisdom of his advice.

3-Due to injury (very significant knee issues managed since 2000), declining fitness, and various other life factors, I tend to be the oppisite in the last 10 years, with a focus on maximum distance, time on my feet, and less focus on going fast and smashing myself intensity wise in long runs.
The physiological principles essentially the same running or racewalking. However I probably need to work harder and do more LFD(long fast distance) type long runs, as I do too much LSD (long slow distance), and OD (over distance) type runs this decade. In terms of MP (marathon pace), I have tried to run 12km-25km at planned marathon pace or faster over a period of about 4-6 weeks, when trying to peak for a marathon race. Due to my lack of sticking to training plans, (i.e. my ambitions far exceed what I actually end up doing) I have only occasionally done this over 12km-20km...

4-remember that for people like Wanjiru a 30k is done so much quicker than what we do it at, in fact from a time on your feet point of view (i.e. how long he is running for while doing a 30k at MP), his 30k in roughly 90 minutes is equivalent to you doing about 19km-23km at MP (based on your marathon PB), and to me doing about 14km-18km (based on my marathon PB) at MP at my current level of performance.
So therefore you shouldnt be doing more than 25km at MP at the present time to simulate what Wanjuri does for 30k, and I shouldnt be doing more than about 20km at the present time.
However you do want to keep raising the bar, and pushing the limits of course, and work up towards that 30k Wanjiru does...

5-so I think that 12k-25k (or 30k if you are Wanjiru, which we are not at the present time and probably wont ever be, but then again you never know...) at MP (or faster) are very useful for about a 4-6 week block about 2-9 weeks before the goal marathon race. Anything more than about 60-120minutes at MP or race pace, is extremely hard to achieve and will be unhelpful, as it just wears you out, rather than helps you to peak.

6-These higher intensity medium length mid week runs should be in addition to your long run (which should be mostly at LSD or OD pace, with 25% or 50% at LFD pace.) not instead of your long run, and should not be done at all in the last 2-3 weeks before your goal race unless you are doing a reverse taper, 2-4 week last minute cram training plan...

trailblazer777 said...

Excellent 36km and 15km.

Sounds to me like most of the important work for you is just about done. So well done on that.

All the best with getting the ITB right, and holding onto the momentum ("stopping the hay from going mouldy", since you have already done the hard yards of putting the necessary training or "hay" in the bank or "barn"... If you can just maintain your level now, sort out injuries, and smoothly taper down, (or not) you should go extremely well in Seoul IMO. Your biggest potential dangers to that result are more likely to come from overtraining or injury issues IMO. Undertraining cant occur very much, as you have already done enough. The cake is made, its mostly just icing to be added now IMO.

Thanks for you post, as it has reminded me of an entirely different question I want to ask Mona...
Sounds like Epi will ask your question so be interesting to hear Monas response. Thanks for the cool links too, especially the Jeff Hunt link.

old skool rules.

hope my comments help rather than hinder even if you disagree, think they are stupid/incorrect...
Go sling!

Clown said...

Another solid week Sling, hope the ITB is ok.

Nice tempo and Long run, things are looking good.

I think it is best to do your long runs at easy pace and run the last few at MP if possible. Best to save all out efforts for the actual race.

I'd planned on asking Mona the same thing so if Epi forgets, I'll chip in.

by7 said...

my personal view:

if we look at the considerable improvement in the "average" winning time of Marathons in the past few years, it is clear that is it due to a "more specific" training approach.
While before the marathon training was like training for 10k + very long run, now all the best coaches have realized the need to have training at the specific marathon pace... and you see the results
(we can not forget that also all the best Kenyans are trained by German or Italian coaches..).

Than obviously we need to adjust this concept to the specific needs of the "average joe" runner in the 2h50-3h30' range..
So probably 30K @ MP is almost infeasible and maybe even counterproductive for a runner @ 80km/week and 4'15" pace (it would take 2h15'... huge effort).
IMO, for a normal amateur runner, it is hugely beneficial to make long runs with some MP sections (like 3x7k @MP or 4x5k), especially in an impossible weather like Singapore (so you have the time to cool down and refuel a bit and keep an even pace in each segment).

Sling, stick to the training plan given by your coach because you shall trust him up to the end.

Said that, for a runner of your level I would personally insert at alternate week some "harder" long run (either like 25km at MP+10/15sec or like 32-35k with MP segements)...
Obviously you should adjust the actual pace to the heat of Singapore (so maybe add 10/15"/k to the target MP pace in cold weather)