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How did I run so fast? (Read 442 times)

Canbob


    Ok, I've been studying these forums since Spring.  Started Couch to 5k end of February and started enjoying running and wanted to learn everything I could about it. What I gleaned from all of you here, was to basically run slow and comfortably until my body can handle more rigorous training (after about a year of regular running).  Nobby usually seems to advise someone like me to do simple fartleks, and nothing more structured than that for training.  So, this is what I've done.

     

    Trying to apply the Lydiard style of running, my comfortable, no push pace has dropped from a 13 mm to 11 mm to 11:30 mm during these months.  I've run an average of 15 to 20 miles a week which includes one hour or 1 1/2 hour run.

     

     

    So, I entered my first 5K ever this Sunday and was able to run a 9:18 mm for a 28:53 finish.  I am amazed and baffled!  How did my body do that, when the only time I've ever even seen the 9's was during a brief all out sprint fartlek that I could only hold for maybe 10 seconds???  If any body can explain this biochemically, I would love to hear any explanation.  I understand race adreneline, but I don't see how that was maintainable for 3 miles.

     

    A little more about me:  40 yrs, female, 150 lbs.  Was not active or in shape at all before picking up running in February.

      I think the theory is that running a lot of slow miles lets you race like a crazy person. Maybe? I don't know. Mostly I want to say AWESOME! And I wish I could do that. Congrats. Wow.


      Feeling the growl again

        There is this mistaken believe common out there that in order to run a distance race at a certain pace, you need to run that fast a lot.  People beat themselves up.  The truth is, you need to train the body to be able to hold that pace for X amount of time but the majority of the training needed to achieve that is accomplished by slower running.

         

        When you are running easy you are not pushing yourself to full capacity...no wonder you can do better on race day.  A 5K is like 98% aerobic, and much of this development you get simply from running consistently.  Run more, your time will continue to come down.  Add in tempo work once a week, your time will come down even more.  Now yes, if you add in intervals at 5K pace or faster your time will come down some more.  But that is really the icing on the cake; the bulk of your improvement will come from slower aerobic work (but if you want to bring your time down I do suggest trying some more fartleks or tempo runs once per week).

         

        For tempo runs, if they are new to you, start at 10 minutes and work your way up to 20.  You should always feel like you could run another 10 minutes or more at that pace when you stop and start your cooldown.

         

        As a couple examples....

        In my mid-20s I'd come into the beginning of track season off 80-100mpw of mostly easy distance with tempos and run around 16:00-16:10 after a couple weeks of interval workouts.  I was probably a bit slower with zero interval workouts but didn't race then.  A couple months of interval workouts and I'd be in the 15:30s.  So the bulk of my speed actually came from volume and tempos; sub-5K paced work only took last 20-odd seconds off.  Important at a competitive level yes; but most people probably focus too much on intervals early in their running career.  You get more return, with less recovery, from more volume or tempo/fartlek work.

         

        Biochemically, the intervals are helping build lactate tolerance but again that is something that gives you an extra boost towards the end and not something that forms the foundation of your abilities.  That is raw aerobic capacity (ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles), something built quite well with slower running.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

        Canbob


          Thank you obienyke and Spaniel!  That's a very thorough explanation and gives me hope for further improvement!


          Needs more cowbell!

            From one 40 year old, 150# female to another...kudos!  I don't think I had a 5k that strong until I'd been running for a couple of years.  Fabulous job! Smile

            I shoot pretty things! ~

            '14 Goals:

            • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

            ohhayitskk


              That's fantastic! Congratulations.

               

              I find that I always run shorter races MUCH faster than I'm training - frankly, I'm not sure why. I understand conceptually what other people are saying, but it's always seemed strange to me. I ran a 10K a week or so ago at about a solid 8 minute pace - but, in the meanwhile, a 9 minute pace during my training runs feels Herculean.

                That's fantastic! Congratulations.

                 

                I find that I always run shorter races MUCH faster than I'm training - frankly, I'm not sure why. I understand conceptually what other people are saying, but it's always seemed strange to me. I ran a 10K a week or so ago at about a solid 8 minute pace - but, in the meanwhile, a 9 minute pace during my training runs feels Herculean.

                 

                It's all about perception - how much discomfort you are feeling as opposed to how much you expected to feel.  In a race situation, I want that PR time.  I've psyched myself up, expecting to feel lungs burning and legs aching.  So when they do, I simply acknowledge it as what was expected.  For day to day training runs, my general expectation is for much more limited discomfort.  With that pleasant expectation, anything approaching normal race discomfort exceeds expectations, so feels relatively worse than the greater, but expected, race discomfort.   I'm not sure I explained that well, but hopefully you get the idea.

                Race Plan: 8/21/14 - Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K - Goal: Sub 60 ** 10/26/14 - Loco Half - Goal: Sub 2:15 (cutoff)

                Old Lady PRs: 5K 29:25 10/26/13 *** 10K ~1:01:30 4/27/14  1:05:37 1/1/14   ***  HS-CC PR: 5K 22:28

                  There's Spaniel's explanation and there's the "race day magic" explanation.  Take your pick. Smile

                   

                  Congrats!  Sounds like you're doing thing right!  Keep it up!

                  Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                    There's Spaniel's explanation and there's the "race day magic" explanation.  Take your pick. Smile

                     

                    Congrats!  Sounds like you're doing thing right!  Keep it up!

                     

                    I think it's safe to say that Spaniels explanation applies to everyone. There's no substitute for what he said. Mileage and threshold running can get nearly every runner pretty darn close to their peak for a range of distances.

                     

                    As for race-day magic, that does account for some of it, but race-day magic isn't going to turn a 6:00 mpm (for 5K) into a 5:00 mpm. It might knock off up to15s/mile, but likely not much more than that.

                    mab411


                    Proboscis Colossus

                      Great job, Canbob (boy, that, rolls off the tongue)!

                       

                      After disregarding 5K's for most of my running career, I've been doing a few last year and this year, and have been amazed at the results.  I usually focus on marathon training, which of course involves a LOT of slow running.  And for each 5K, I've glanced down at my watch, noticed how much faster than planned I'm going, and thought to myself, "I am so screwed.  Oh well, wanna catch that guy before I flame out!"

                       

                      ...and each time, I've caught that guy, passed him, and stayed ahead of him for the whole race for a 2nd place finish (these are small, local affairs where anything around 20:00 makes you a contender).

                       

                      So all that to say, spaniel's post makes a lot of sense to me, and would probably explain both of our unexpected results!

                      "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                        There's Spaniel's explanation and there's the "race day magic" explanation.  Take your pick. Smile

                         

                        These are not mutually exclusive.  The better your training, the more prepared you will be to use that magic.

                         

                        MTA - corrected should have been not mutually exclusive


                        Feeling the growl again

                           After disregarding 5K's for most of my running career, I've been doing a few last year and this year, and have been amazed at the results.  I usually focus on marathon training, which of course involves a LOT of slow running.  And for each 5K, I've glanced down at my watch, noticed how much faster than planned I'm going, and thought to myself, "I am so screwed.  Oh well, wanna catch that guy before I flame out!"

                           

                          ...and each time, I've caught that guy, passed him, and stayed ahead of him for the whole race for a 2nd place finish (these are small, local affairs where anything around 20:00 makes you a contender).

                           

                          So all that to say, spaniel's post makes a lot of sense to me, and would probably explain both of our unexpected results!

                           

                          I spent several spring seasons trying to break a 15:37 5K PR with no luck by doing "5K training"...dropping mileage and doing more intervals and sub-5K paced running.  I ran at least a dozen races in the 15:37-15:40 range using every imaginable tactical change under the sun with no luck.

                           

                          Then one year I was too wrapped up in a goal marathon to waste any time doing 5K-specific training.  I just trained through them all and did marathon training.  This still involved one interval workout per week, but it was slower and with shorter recoveries than what I would have done for a 5K-specific plan.  I went from a 16:01 indoor 5K in January to splitting 15:38-15:18 for a 10K in late April focusing primarily on keeping my miles to 100+ and lots of tempo work.  A couple months later I took 8 seconds off my mile PR and I certainly hadn't done a lick of running at that pace.

                           

                          Most people respond better to speed than me, but this is just an anecdote on why I highly encourage people to jump into a few shorter races after their legs recover from a marathon and enjoy some "free" PRs from that marathon training cycle.  Smile

                          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                           

                             

                            These are not mutually exclusive.  The better your training, the more prepared you will be to use that magic.

                             

                            MTA - corrected should have been not mutually exclusive

                             

                            I agree.  It's the combination of the two that is wonderful.

                            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                              Good thread.  Lots of good advice here.  I will take it as well....

                              2014 Schedule

                              Jan 11 - Mississippi Blues Half, February 23 - Last Chance for Boston Half, March 9 - Charlotte Speedway Half, March 16 - Heart Mini Half, April 6 - ORRRC Half, May 4 - Flying Pig Full, June 14 - Hatfield & McCoy Full, July 4 - Rocket Man 5K, July 18-19 - Runners for Wellness 24hour Ultra, July 20 - RnR Chicago Half, Sept 21 - HITS Omaha Half, Nov 30 - Space Coast Half

                              NHLA


                                Congrats!   Coach said there is race pace and there is training pace. That's all the explanation we got.

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