Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Progressive Runs

December I started running progresive runs - I had not done them before so thought it would be a good replacement for some interval work I had on the schedule. I've found the data from these runs to be an interesting way to track my progress. The way I run these is starting with a 10 minute warm-up followed by 5 minutes incremental steps stretching from a recovery pace to a tempo pace. The increments and steps are all programmed into a Garmin Workout so it is done exactly the same each time with alarms telling me continually if I am too fast/slow for the zone I'm supposed to be in. The distance covered in the run is typically just short of 10 miles and the last couple miles are pretty challenging (It's a good workout).

From the chart you can see three pre-marathon progressive runs each showing slightly faster than the prior. Then the Marathon mph vs heartrate data plotted - significantly below the results seen in the progressive runs (for this I credit the Carb Depleat/Load strategy).

Since the race the speed has not yet returned to what is was in any of the progressive runs as can be seen by the partial progressive run about a week after the marathon and the MP miles done 2 weeks after.

Not that that concerns me except it makes a PR 5k this weekend (<5:38 pace) perhaps unlikely until the speed returns - but it is interesting to see how long it takes to recover from a marathon - 3-4 weeks seems needed to get back to pre-race to then start building extra speed. Supports the idea I should not run too many marathons as it will likely just slow me down over the long hall.

fwiw - I thought the data was interesting.


kanny said...

Yikes this is long and unorganized but here goes:

JH, this information is invaluable - and quite ironic in that thanks to your blog (which I stumbled upon 2 weeks or so ago), I've decided Progressive Runs were going to be the cornerstone of my training (although you made no mention of them to my recollection - may have missed it - until now).

Much like you, I depended on HR training to help me get from 4:45 on 4/06 (on no training - that was dumb) to 3:54 on 4/07 (on 6 months - 40mpw) to 3:09 on 10/07 (on 6 months - 50mpw with a high of 90 - mostly slow mileage ~8-9:30min/mile). Since doing a 50 miler in Nov, I just have not been the same - until I started reading your blog linked off of letsrun. I had been averaging about 40mpw since the Oct. marathon, but was struggling to run more and was compounding the issue by not allowing full recovery from the marathon (and then the 50).

Part of the problem was that I thought I was still "close" to ~7:00 MarHR pace (~160) and it actually felt easy. A sub 25:00 for 4 miles a week and a half after the 50 "felt" like it confirmed it, so a lot of my training post Oct has been sub 8:00 pace. However, the day after reading part of your blog, I decided to bite the bullet and whip out the trusty HR monitor and lo and behold, these were my HR figures (~183-5 MaxHR) 140HR: 8:50; 150HR: 8:20; 160HR: 7:50, on miles 4, 5, and 6 on a 7 mile run. Eeek. A run the next day improved my times by about 2-3 secs to confirm they weren't an aberration.

Even though I tried ingraining "don't train beyond your fitness level" for over a year, I wasn't doing it - in part because I didn't want to deal with an HR monitor in the winter (and I was lazy about getting a replacement battery).

To make a long story even longer, I went for something bold and decided to run 2 hour-long runs (~7 miles for now before work and during lunch) progressing from warmup mile to 3 at 140HR, 1 at 150HR, 1 at 160HR, and 1 cooldown and see how many days in a row I could do it. In 2 weeks at 14 mpday, my 160HR has plummetted from 7:50 to 7:02 (150HR from 8:20 to 7:41) - and it has been gradual. Thanks, man!!

My plan (which despite my yearlong knowledge quest on the sport of running, is not actually going to be based on anything I've read - except stuff written by jtupper/daniels and Pete on letsrun) is to continue this until I stagnate for a few days; then I'll run a tempo or Half Marathon time trial (165-170HR range) then take one or 2 days off and start another "cycle."

Since I was a mediocre hurdler in HS (with best mile of 5:08 in a time trial in HS - I'm 31 now but haven't attempted the mile since last Feb - 5:28), I have *enough* speed (~28 200m within the last year) that my worry should purely be on the aerobic side.

Note, I've only done 1 100 mile week ever a year earlier for kicks which left me injured for 3 months. Now, I don't even get sore - which is very odd to me because I was getting more sore *and tired* on 40 mpw (the first mile in the morning is always a shuffle-fest at a 9:30 mile). Even though I paid the price with unprecedented levels of soreness, the 50 miler actually did its job.

I probably won't see you at Boston (with a 3:09 qtime), but best of luck and once again, thanks for setting me on the right path/track.

(One more thing I swear: It's amazing how GOOD running at 150/160HR feels on miles 5 and 6 of my runs - they always feel like I'm floating no matter how tired I am that day - even on 4 hours of sleep. Love those endorphins!)

kanny said...

Note: weight loss has been minimal and hasn't been a factor in the improvement - I won't start losing weight until 2 months before the marathon.

kayry said...

Hey kanny - I appreciate the comment - I had to read it a couple time (2nd time very slow) to absorb it all. Reactions:

- You've made amazing progress 4:45 to 3:06 over a year and a half - congrats to you on that.
- Interesting timeline you've outlined on your marathon pace improvement/degredation and then re-improvement. If I've got it right would appear you had a bit of over-training for a period there from marathon in October to 50 miler November and with the minimal mileage since even up to as soon as just a couple weeks ago (2 months after your 50 miler - boy that seems like a long time).
- Apparently partially by inspiration by this blog you then pulled down a couple hundred mile weeks (2x7milersx7days/week) of mostly slow mileage (except 1 of the 7 miles) and recovered all your speed back - and more - WOW - that is Great. And I feel totally honored that you somehow credit this blog as a piece of your inspiration.
- Your training approach appears to date to be mostly at the slow mileage range to return the faster times (8-9:30 to get you to 7:10 MP pace).

I do find that all very interesting. I have noticed others on Running Times forum who have used this approach (I refer to it as the HADD approach - seems somewhat similar - if you click the link under Reflections around Heartrate targets you can get to it) to get some remarkable improvements and what has interested me mostly about it is they seem to get the ability to maintain an even higher heartrate for the duration of the marathon - like 92% of max - where I have only demonstrated about 87% in a marathon (less than 86% at Houston). This strikes me as a big opportunity area I have been thinking I may try to capitalize on during the summer with a lot of slow base-building - 5% higher heartrate from the progressive run profiles means ~10 minutes of marathon time - big carrat - hard to ignore that potential.

- Appears you have the base from your couple ~100 mile weeks for a great little training cycle from now to then. I'm interested how your plan of what appears to be 100 miles/week all progressive runs 2x per day - works out. I don't ever go to letsrun although someone told me people were talking about me over there so I did go find that - so I don't know anything about jtupper/daniels and Pete's methods. It definately sounds interesting - are there examples of people getting really fast this way (sub2:30ish)?

Good luck to you in your training and at Boston!

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