Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wow - what a workout!

I did a normal progressive run this morning. My workout plan from Sean Wade's logs leading to Houston 07 had something called a Kenyan Run 4 days before a 10k that looked just like my normal progressive run so I did mine instead - 4 days before a 10k I'm planning for Saturday.

Anyway - I am absolutely astonished at the difference in this run vs the exact same run 2 weeks ago. I run these all by heartrate targets then look at the speeds after I am done. After the prior one 2 weeks ago I picked off the graph below the 169 bpm point to find 5:52 pace and figured that was about what I could do the 1/2 marathon at the coming Sunday - which is exactly what I would have done - maybe a little better - if not for some wind and hills. So this week - for the same 169 bpm point I am getting closer to a 5:35 pace - 17 seconds/mile faster - WOW - I'm scratching my head wondering what the heck happen. Today's workout was 37F average and the one a couple weeks back was 43F average - shouldn't make much difference. I'm eating perfectly normal - nothing special.

I did get a bit heat acclimated over the weekend with ~30+ miles run in 2 runs: 11 Easy Saturday (62°F 95% humid), 20 very hard Sunday (73°F muggy) - Sunday's was a Daniels Workout 2E+5T+5minCD+4T+4minCD+3T+3minCD+2T+2E in which I got very dehydrated and ended up walking much of that last 2 in total exhaustion. I can't say today's workout felt any harder than the one two weeks ago - both were hard to complete as this workout is always. If this turbo-drive is related to heat acclimation - I am now wondering if this is what happen at Houston and maybe the carb/deplete thing was just coincidence - since there was warm weather for several days a few days before the marathon....hmmmm. Anyway here is the graph:

So now I am thinking toward this 10k coming up on Saturday - if my 1/2 marathon pace is really 5:35 - my 10k pace should be 5:20 - we'll see what I can do on Saturday.

So many mysterious variables in this marathoning thing....keeps my engineering mind working

On the topic of Heat Acclimation - I went back and looked up an interesting study done on this subject and I note these words:

"Complete heat acclimatization requires up to 14 days, but the systems of the body adapt to heat exposure at varying rates. The early adaptations (initial 1-5 days) involve an improved control of cardiovascular function, including expanded plasma volume, reduced heart rate, and autonomic nervous system habituation which redirects cardiac output to skin capillary beds and active muscle."

So maybe the whole key to this turbo-charge I've been trying to figure out at Houston is this early adaptation in the initial 1-5 days of Heat Adaptation........hmmmm....very interesting stuff.

3/5 Addition

I was thinking about this more in my run today and I recalled three other times last year where I seemed to get surprizing speed out of the blue - and it so happens all three came from a period of Cool - Warm - Cool training. I am not talking about the obvious benefit of running cooler weather - I'm taling about running in cooler weather, a few days in warm weather, then back to cool weather again and finding more speed than I had initially. Two of these were when traveling away in the summer to cooler locations then running there and one when I was doing some base-building after the San Diego Marathon running all on the treadmill - I decided to try to get better runs in by cranking down the airconditioning - the benefit was initally very pronounced but then went away over the next several days.

Anyway - I'm really starting to think there is something to this theory - looking forward to testing it out.


kanny said...

Your Houston performance is still mindboggling, but it's all starting to make sense. Remember the quote:

"AMPK is activated by any stress that inhibits ATP production or increases ATP consumption. This includes hypoxia, heat shock, exercise, and glucose deprivation. AMPK is also activated by the hormones leptin and adiponectin. As its name suggests, AMP directly activates AMPK."

Here's my theory. Note I'm really generalizing here:

Your "speed" (ability to run at X pace at MP HR) probably was a result of the heat acclimatization (which I'm very familiar with - running a few 18 milers w/12 at Half Marathon pace in 85-90 degree weather last summer with no hydration/food intake before/during it - that run had tremendous effects, even though I was close to the point of collapse - by contrast, training in Boston in the winter is just plain awful on so many levels).

Your marathon "endurance" - as shown by the decreasing heartrate over the race (while maintaining speed!!!!) was a result of superhuman efficient fat oxidation/glycogen utilization from the depletion and ideal intake of carbs before/during the race.

Here's a quote from Benji Durden (relatively low mileage 2:09 runner) I note from time to time:

"All my runs (including the repeats but not the races) were in at least one set of sweats (I went so far as 2 sets of sweats sandwiched with 3 rainsuits were PO2 tanks). ... Heat training can also be considered strength training since you are hauling all those heavey wet sweats around as you run. (;-)
Additionally you can look at haet training as a way to get altitude effects at sea level. The oxygen uptake system is effected by the partial pressure (i.e altitude) and temperature. The lower the partial pressure or the higher the temperature, the less oxygen the cardivascular system carries. By adapting to the stress of higher body temperature, the body becomes more effective at oxygen uptake in a manner similar to the adaptation to altitude." (how Benji trained)

Even though I can't find anything "scientific" to back it up, I'm certain that running in heat *and* humidity really does simulate altitude.

If there was a place that was 70+ degrees, humid, and at altitude, that's probably the place to train (like the Rift Valley - hahah).

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