Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lucky Seabrook Marathon – Training Run Report (TRR)

No – not a race report – just a training run for me on the road to Boston so it’s the TRR. Morning started with a 1.5 hour drive arriving at the race about 6:30 with both kids and my wife for a 7:15 start time. Weather was good – but not great – around 60-65F, dry (low humidity) with 20 mph winds from the east for the whole race. The wind factor was not big as most of the race was north-south and much of the course was protected from the wind by trees but there were a couple stretches straight into it and a couple sections with it right behind. For the N-S portions I think the wind actually helped cool making up a little for the somewhat warmer than perfect temps for running a marathon (perfect imho is 40-55). Race was 4 loops with about 500 marathoners & half marathoners (start 15 minutes after marathoners) and several relay teams all sharing a 4-5 foot loose dirt trail in many places trying to navigate past each other in two directions (can you say collision alert). I originally signed up just for the ½ marathon but I was persuaded it might be an easy marathon win even as a training run which I thought would be kinda cool so I decided to go ahead and make an extra long training run cautious to not jeopardize my training to Boston – I figured with the soft trails the risks were probably pretty low. The trails run on for all but the first 2/3rd mile are exactly the same trail surface on a 3 mile loop near my house that when I run on costs me about 10-15 seconds per mile for the same heartrate (4-6 minute impact on marathon time).

As a training run – my pre-“race” strategy was to start the race just as if a marathon and run at marathon pace for ~20 miles than jog the last 6.2 miles around 30-60 seconds off marathon pace. One of the main “experiments” of this race was to again see if I could find the elusive turbo-drive, I’ve come to call it, that appeared at Houston Marathon so I can be sure to replicate it come Boston. The theory I was experimenting with was that the surge in speed was caused by having a few days of running in warm/humid temperatures before the cool race. To test the theory I ran in sweats T, W, Th workouts – each about 10 miles with T/Th easy runs and W an attempted Tempo workout – all runs with a HRM and the pace of all runs was significantly impacted by the heat of running in sweats. Pre-race diet was 3 day carb-load and small morning breakfast (oatmeal/banana).

Mile,Split,HR (all per Garmin)
1 6:09 146 Target 6:05-6:20 first mile. A few guys joined the start-line that looked young and fast – I began to think the win was not to be today – but I’d still get a good workout in and finish my experiment. Two darted out way faster than me and one guy stayed on my heals I think trying to draft me in the windy parts. 3rd.
2 5:53 163 Target 162-166 HR until Mile 20. As I reached the end of the first mile I had my Garmin programmed to switched to heartrate target and I was VERY happy to see a heartrate after a mile of only 156-7 – My little experiment WORKED!!! I had around 20 seconds/mile I could speed up to be on target. I immediately hit the turbo-drive and create some separation to the guy drafting me – he’s going to have to fight the wind on his own like me. 3rd.
3 6:05 165 A couple very windy spots near the beach. 3rd.
4 5:59 164 3rd – mostly shielded or tailwind.
5 6:07 165 3rd – a U-turn on this mile and coming back I see 4th had not dropped back all that much.
6 6:05 166 3rd
7 6:03 165 3rd They have chip mat set up for the start of loop 2 and it reads 40 minutes so I’m thinking that is 1/4th of a marathon so I’m on pace for 4x40 2:40. Start lap #2
8 6:16 164 3rd
9 6:09 164 3rd 4th has caught up to me and using me to draft.
10 6:03 163 4th passes me at the windy beach so I get a little drafting time myself in this worst stretch. I let him know I was just running a training run so I’d be jogging at the end anyway (why did I tell him that – I don’t really know) – anyway a nice guy in the words we exchanged. I’m 4th.
11 6:11 162 4th.
12 5:59 162 4th.
13 6:04 163 4th. Start Lap 3 – my ½ split is 1:20.
14 6:12 162 4th.
15 6:27 160 4th. About ½ way into this mile I decide to bail on the plan to stay marathon pace until 20 and slow down to a long-run speed ~155 HR – this is a training run after all – why should I kill myself that hard. I lied to myself a couple times to justify this – first I said I would just slow down for a mile or two than speed back up.
16 6:37 156 4th
17 6:30 155 4th. Ok – I’ve finished that lie – now maybe I’ll just stay slow until I get to 20 and then I’ll get good practice on finishing strong.
18 6:33 154 4th
19 6:28 154 4th. Start Lap 4 – my ¾ split is 2:03 (only lost 3 minutes from 2:40 pace in my jogging)
20 6:30 155 4th. Ok – I’ve finished that lie up too – now I’m just thinking I’m going to hold 4th place and if someone comes to take it a way from me – I’ll put him down.
21 6:41 158 4th
22 6:46 N/A 4th (HR data went jumpy)
23 6:52 156 4th
24 6:41 154 4th
25 6:39 N/A 4th (HR data bad again)
26 6:22 N/A 4th
26.43 2:32 (5:53 pace) N/A 4th. I gotta make it look good to the family so I pick up the pace for the last little bit :-). A big cheering for me from my wife and daughter (I guess my son just wanted to sleep in the truck) and I cross the finishline.

Final official time 2:47:04. I believe that would be a course record if it was first place as the fastest prior time I've seen is 2:47:17.

Final Place 4th? Wait a minute here – I shake hands with a kid I recognize from the startline and a few passes on the trails as 2nd – he's pretty impressed especially by the guy in front of me that nearly matched what he and 3 friends did in the relay.....hmmmmmm...I forgot all about the relay in this race – turns out those two that darted off at the beginning were in the relay.

So – I got 2nd Overall, not 4th. (3rd finally came in about 10 minutes behind me). I'll mention they really give out some BIG finishing metals and big award plaques at this race.

1st place got 2:38 and he seemed a bit disappointed. Apparently he got a 2:35 at Houston Marathon and he was hoping to improve on that time but didn’t account for the running surface difference when he signed up for this race. Anyway I think his performance definitely does show better than 2:35 considering the difference.

I didn't directly colide with anyone but there were many close calls on the trails and lots of dodging this way and that. Lots of yelling "runner back" to get people to make way - usually worked except the occasional runner with an ipod blaring. One colision with Dixie Cup as all the people at a 2 way water station were looking the other way and handing drinks to runners from my side of the trail - dixie cup handed to a lady right in front of me which I run straight into and got wet - it actually felt good :-) but I'm glad it wasn't gatorade - they wised up next time through and handed water from both sides for the two directions.

Nice training run. To me it tells me I’m probably capable of a bit faster than 1:18 splits in a marathon on a hard surface with this TURBO-DRIVE regiment pre-race. Makes my Sub6 mpm goal at Boston look possible given the low probability that it ends up being good weather conditions - maybe.

When I think about it - I think what I've discovered is a way to run same pace at ~7 bpm slower heartrate (or ~20 seconds faster for same heartrate) - I still have to demonstrate I can hold for a whole race at the prior heartrate target in this post heat-treated state to really be able to say it makes me run faster although I do believe it does - I suspect I will find I can't capture it all - maybe I have to reduce the HR target a bpm or two. What I really need is a short race to test if I can capture all the speed but I'm running out of time to experiment - Boston only 5 weeks away and I wasn't planning any more races until Boston. Guess it depends how recovery goes - there is a 33 1/3rd minute race coming up (race is how far you can run in the fixed time) I've had my eye on thinking of racing - I'll wait and see how recovery from this one goes.

Thanks for reading.


Galveston Newspaper


Old Man and mid pack runner said...

really enjoy your blog.
question about your progression runs. you increase intensity or pace every 5 minutes from a recovery pace to a tempo pace.
so how many increases? any recovery between (wouldn't appear so by the data)

kayry said...

I designed my progressive off workout #1 of this link:

Although I made it a little harder with 11 - 5 minute steps (55 minutes total instead of recommended 30-50 minutes). First couple times I programmed into my Garmin workout mode with Pace targets within a 10 second/mile band - I had a recent good 10k run so had a good basis for the targets - after a couple times I could look at the data from the first couple runs and convert my pace targets to heart rates so I reprogrammed the workout using heartrate targets. For me it ended up targetting to go from 145 bpm to 170 bpm increaseing 2.5 bpm per step (my max is 187). For each step I would set the high/low alarms +/- 2 bpm from my target so I had a 4 bpm range to run in (actually 5 for every other since I'd have to use whole numbers). I found I ran more steady by heartrate than I did by pace - I think because the garmin is just less steady on pace so I'd get a lot of false alarms to speed up or slow down.

kanny said...

Hah - I should've read this post first before commenting on your "wow - what a workout" post. I'm tellin' ya - you need the depletion as well the heat for that "perfect storm" marathon.

kayry said...

kanny - Responding to this comment as well as your other one today in "Wow - what a workout!"

Funny you be should quoting Benji Durden - I just found that exact quote yesterday googling his name and the word sweats here:

As far as your endurance point - I think the heartrate goes down with speed at least initially because I had just a large pre-race carb-load consuming 200g (800 cal) of carbs 3-4 hours before the race. This has been my routine pre-race every race since Boston last year and the heartrate always goes down with constant pace at the beginning - with or without depletion I think because of the digestion still going on. I did largely cut out this routine on this training run/race and found I didn't feel too drained by the end so now I'm thinking that pre-race loading is unnecessary. I've heard talk of heartrate drift caused by dehydration but I've never seen it and in fact another buddy on Running Times forum has run 50 miles with a HRM without noting any heartrate drift so I think that is really a sign of being out of shape.

Although I've read things saying the reverse - it seems to me for a fit marathoner the heartrate should go down slightly with constant speed as 1) you are getting lighter the more you sweat and 2) although the blood volume might be going down because of the sweating, the red bloodcell concentration is going up so the red bloodcell per beat should be at least staying the same if not going slightly up.

On the point of speed - I think the few days of heat-treatment seems to replicate it.

One thing I did find very currious was the feeling of the running in sweats and how I had to slow down to ~7 mpm for a marathon pace heartrate - was somewhat similar to the feeling of the slowing down to ~7 mpm for a marathon pace heartrate caused by the depletion before Houston after about a week of depleting. Could be I accomplished the same speed surge in two different ways. What makes me wonder if the mechinisms were different is for Houston - the heat was the prior weekend - not during the week days between - yet the weekend before this Tuesday "Wow - what a workout" post was similar hot and the speed surge was here on Tuesday but gone by the 10k race on Saturday - so only lasted a couple/few days of cool weather. I timed my running in sweats based on the timing of the heat to the "Wow - what a workout" and it worked but did not hold for 5-6 days to the 10k. The slow running before Houston Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday was in cool weather but caused by the depletion but perhaps accomplished the same thing for the Sunday race.

I'm not convinced there is cumulative benefits from both the depletion and the heat-treatment - but on the other hand I can't see the harm in trying so I may end up doing that for Boston anyway - haven't decided for sure.

kanny said...

So many excellent points to comment on, so I'll limit it to a couple.

-I have had the same theory regarding HR/speed/race weight loss as I have experienced it before (losing obscene amounts of weight on a run - quite dangerous but that's unfortunately how I roll).

-This is silly, but I wonder which part of the body needs to be warm for benefits of heat acclimatization to occur - legs? torso? or whole body? I guess better safe than sorry, but I'm wondering if only wearing sweatpants would be enough.

-The main questions I have now revolve around glycogen. Since glycogen is the limiting factor in the marathon, I wonder what your glycogen usage was during the race (also, R values)- it seems like you were working (well) under the magical 164HR MP number, but was it enough to compensate for the standard 6-8 miles past where glycogen would typically "run out," even with carbo loading and on the run partial replenishment. OR did the heat really improve your fat oxidation to make that more comfortable?

The reason why I'm starting to become sold on the depletion/glycogen supercompensation just for the marathon race itself and no other is because of your last week or so of training. When I first looked at it, I thought, "that's NUTS!! Look at all those MP runs - that's not tapering AT ALL and is way too intense." It seems that glycogen supercompensation works well with intensity (see the link and the graph especially), but intensity is typically the last thing anyone would want to do the week before the marathon (except Benji Durden recommended a pseudo long run half a week before the marathon - that's probably related).

Man, you're just giving me all the answers!!! hahah... Now I just have to get over my life as a performing musician/hired studio engineer in addition to my 9-6 job. Regardless, I'm shooting for 3:00 and will reward myself with a Garmin 405 (instead of my current super cheap HR monitor) if I achieve it.

kayry said...

"intensity is typically the last thing anyone would want to do the week before the marathon (except Benji Durden recommended a pseudo long run half a week before the marathon - that's probably related)."

This got me thinking of something I saw for Benji:

Sunday 12 miles, double sweats, 74 min
Mon: 9 miles
Tues: AM: 7 mile warmup, 2 miles stride straights/jog turns, 1 x 1k in 2:54, 6
mile cooldown. PM: 9 miles
Wed: 8 easy
Thur: AM: 22 in 2:30, full sweats PM: 9 miles
Fri: 7 easy
Sat: 10k road race in 30:04, 5 mile cooldown

He notes in places that his typical was a long slow run a couple days before his tune-up races just like this typical week for him above. I find it interesting the 2 days from Sweats to Race is the same as the 2 days between my 22 mile Tempo workout in the heat on a Sunday and my cool and turbo-fast progressive Workout on Tuesday.

I'm thinking of running an 8k next Saturday - I might try a 15 miler slow in sweats on Thursday to see if I can get this turbo-charge in just one work-out.

On the glycogen - I'm thinking I don't need to be absolutely maxed out to finish a marathon - if 2000 cal is the typical body stores + a typical 3 day Carb Load to get an extra 500 or so + a few Gels/gatorade for ~400 + 10% from fat = ~3200 calories - that is more than enough to finish 26.2 miles - getting an extra few hundred by also depleting is probably not necessary unless maybe your carrying some extra weight you need more energy to carry the distance. I never got into depleting to get to the finishline - I can do that without it - I got into it for the weight loss - but then it seemed to give speed. If I can get the speed from a day or two in sweats - that is much easier.

kanny said...

Regarding the heat training, you really have to check this out. You really are giving me all the answers (or at least providing extra clarity on research I've done previously). Here's my log for the last few days (bear with me - these are miles 4, 5, and 6 of a 7 mile run):

am (140HR: 8:34, 150HR: 7:55, 159HR: 7:23)
pm (140HR: 8:44, 150HR: 8:04, 159HR: 7:20)

am (139HR: 8:31, 149HR: 7:59, 160HR: 7:19)
*pm(139HR: 9:21, 150HR: 8:16, 159HR: 7:26)
*full sweats - this was very uncomfortable - felt like I was sick again

am (140HR: 8:16, 148HR: 7:44, 159HR: 6:58)

I actually felt rather tired today before the run and almost took a day off. Now I feel ridiculously fresh and energized. Needless to say, these numbers are completely out of the blue. There might be something to the whole you don't want to feel fresh at the start of the marathon. Now the question is how to lock this in. I'll have to study Benji's logs more carefully cause he was all about the heat (last summer I combed through the web for all things Benji, including letsrun).

I think you have me convinced - I wasn't going to run with an HR monitor, but it looks like for max success and optimal glycogen usage, I'll have to - mile 15 of my last marathon was 6:45 (after constant 6:55's) and that probably took me over the edge and killed me.

kayry said...

Cool data kanny - pretty convincing - amazing in ONE run 12 hours later to see that impact.

John Fenton said...

I've been catching up on your blog and find the turbo-drive research interesting. I'm hoping to run sub-3 at Boston and can use every edge I get.

In retrospect, I can find anecdotal evidence of a similar effect in my training and racing logs from last year. My two standout races last year came 3-4 days after hard, warm efforts. If I look at my improvement curve, both efforts were well ahead of schedule.

Last February, I broke a two-month old 5K PR by 44 seconds, running 19:00 on a windy day 4 days after running a 20-miler on a treadmill in a warm workout room. Six weeks later, I ran a huge 10M PR 4 days after bonking in an attempted warm (75F and humid) midweek 20-miler that I had to cut off at 16 miles.

The possible impact of the depleting workouts 3-4 days before the races had crossed my mind, but I hadn't considered the additional heat aspect.

I have my final tune-up races for Boston this Sunday, a hilly 5K+15K double. Based on this, I think I may experiment with a little over-dressing the next two or three days, including for my last quality medium run of the week tonight. It certainly can't hurt. :)

kayry said...

I had the same reflection back to find similar times I could remember the heat training making a difference - posted this on RT:

I'm doing the same test this weekend - I'm planning a 15 miler tomorrow morning in sweats with an 8k race on Saturday - I'm convinced the "heat-treating" lowers the heartrate - now I want to see if I can race at the un-"heat-treated" heartrate and capture all the speed difference. Let's compare notes after our races this weekend and see how successful our experiments were on races. I'll post results for me some time after the race.

John Fenton said...

Thanks, kayry. I ran 13 miles indoors last night at work in a medium-weight long sleeve shirt and knit gloves. It was what I had brought to run outdoors, and it was definitely warm wearing it indoors.

I'll post a comment some time after my races on Sunday. The challenge will be drawing meaningful conclusions from a really odd event. I'm racing a 2000-person 5K at 9:00 a.m. and the companion 3000-person 15K at 10:00 a.m. on a super-hilly course ( I ran the double last year as well.

I didn't get my Garmin 305 until last October, so I don't have meaningful HR data for races before then. Once Boston is over, I'll have to try some experiments like kanny's from last week under controlled conditions.