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Training plans: Easy runs? (Read 3292 times)

    Good catch, Amores!

     

    Stadjak:

     

    If you look at the purpose of long runs, you are probably missing a half of that by doing it this way.  

     

    One of the biggest gains from long runs is to switch your energy source from glycogen to fat.  Fat burns and produce a hell of a lot more energy from the same number of molecule and this has given some people a wrong illusion that fat is a better fuel; of course, it burns more but it requires a lot of oxygen to burn at the same time.  In other words, it burns well (better) but it's harder to burn it as well.  This phenomena is also known as "hitting the wall" in the marathon.  So many people today misunderstand "the wall" because the term was established during the days when most people finish the marathon in about 4 hours.  Generally they ran faster (or I should say, slower people weren't running marathons those days) and they used up glycogen somewhere around 20-mile mark; hence, infamous "wall" in the marathon.  This is not quite what may experience in the marathon any more.  Many won't even get to the point where they'd use up glycogen because the pace (effort level) is not fast enough but the duration of muscle trauma is so long that their legs give in before they even get to deplete glycogen.  It usually happens when your legs are too dead at the start (over-trained) or not used to the pounding (under-trained).  That's pretty much the name of the game--to find the best balance.

     

     

     

    Nobby:

     

    In this post aren't you basically saying that by building the proper "base" one is conditioning his/her body to burn fat and you do this by developing your aerobic condition?  Like Rome, the aerobic base is not built in a day!

    ___________

    Chris

       (it was water with some frozen blueberries to keep it cold and a squirt of lime juice for taste).

       

       

      This is the most exciting thing I've read all day.  Does the blueberry flavour come through much, or do they mainly just float around in there once thawed?

      "Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn.  Climb that goddamn mountain."

      Jack Kerouac

      vegefrog


        LOL! I thought it was pretty clever myself Smile By the time I got to mile 7 the water was blue and I gave it a good shake. I could definitely taste a little bit of blueberry. I devoured them after my run was over, yum Smile

          Nobby:

           

          In this post aren't you basically saying that by building the proper "base" one is conditioning his/her body to burn fat and you do this by developing your aerobic condition?  Like Rome, the aerobic base is not built in a day!

          Am I?  Maybe...  But that sounds so philosophical... ;o) 

            So far my longest run has been 12 miles. I haven't taken or needed to eat any Gu or other gel, but I did stash a water bottle at mile 7 (it was water with some frozen blueberries to keep it cold and a squirt of lime juice for taste).

             

            Is that counterproductive also? Or am I doing the right thing? I  didn't really plan on consuming any sort of gel on any of my long runs...I figured then I would be good to go on race day and the GU and Gatorade will be something I can take if I want, not NEED to.

             

            How do you know if you need to eat a gel?? So far on my long runs, I keep a steady pace (about the same as my easy runs) and my legs start to feel a little tired towards the end, but nothing awful and I have plenty of energy.

            That's kinda interesting question...  Years ago when they were getting ready for 1980 Olympic Trial, there was a guy who built a special treadmill in the sauna so he could get his body used to running in the heat.  He finished 3rd in the Trial (5000m) and made the team (of course, with boycott, he never went).  If you are training to run across the desert or running a marathon, or any other race, where there's no water station, it might help you to train your body that way.  I don't take any drink on my long run (but I will during the race).  That is NOT to say that it's not good for you--I don't think the purpose of training (long run) is to dehydrate your system.  Dehydration is dangerous; not like running out of glycogen.  If you sweat a lot (meaning, you lose fluid a lot) and if it's a hot day's run, I would prepare for some drink and that shouldn't be counterproductive.  When I was running with my runner(s), I would drive over the course beforehand and hide a frozen water bottle in the bush at around 3/4 of the way so, by the time we get there, it's almost melted and nice and ice-cold.  Of course, if a dog comes around and pee on it, well, we may never know...  But I usually don't even do that.  I always felt that the purpose of drinking water (hydration) is so you can sweat and cool your system.  During the run, it might even be better if you just dump water on your body to cool it--sweating takes some energy and you don't want to waste any energy!!  All these years of running, unless the run is ridiculously long (like 4 or 5 hours) which some people seem to do but I never had, I don't think it's really necessary unless the day is VERY hot. 


            Feeling the growl again

               

              One of the biggest gains from long runs is to switch your energy source from glycogen to fat.  Fat burns and produce a hell of a lot more energy from the same number of molecule and this has given some people a wrong illusion that fat is a better fuel; of course, it burns more but it requires a lot of oxygen to burn at the same time.  In other words, it burns well (better) but it's harder to burn it as well.  This phenomena is also known as "hitting the wall" in the marathon. 

               

              It's even more complicated than that.  It also has to do with the number and speed of steps fat must go through, as well as transport from storage location to active muscles.  The fat burning process is just SLOW compared to all other fuels (except protein).  This is why training to burn fat is pretty useless for anything below a marathon, your rate of fuel consumption is just too fast for fat to make up a meaningful amount and you have enough glycogen on hand anyways.

               

              Training for fat burn does help with the marathon, and is really vital in ultras.  When I attempted a 50-miler this fall massively undertrained (and at sub-7 min pace), I was at least smart enough to have enough gels/sports drink to replace all the calories I would burn above ~2000cal allowed for glycogen and some for fat (yes I ran the numbers and even calculated how long the calories would take to be usable into when I took them).  The result was that I ran 12 miles further than I ever had before (38 miles) with zero energy issues; without fuel, I would have been hosed right around the marathon mark, I can feel it around 20-22 miles on completely unfueled long runs.


              Contrast this with the guy running right in front of me, who finished 2nd overall.  We talked and he had done his training correctly.  He ate two powerbar-type things very early in the race and THAT WAS IT.  In other words, he was going slow enough and had trained his metabolism well enough that he could supply roughly half of the calories needed for the race from fat, while someone like me who had not done that training had to rely on consuming carbs.

              "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

               

                It's even more complicated than that.  It also has to do with the number and speed of steps fat must go through, as well as transport from storage location to active muscles.  The fat burning process is just SLOW compared to all other fuels (except protein).  This is why training to burn fat is pretty useless for anything below a marathon, your rate of fuel consumption is just too fast for fat to make up a meaningful amount and you have enough glycogen on hand anyways.

                 

                Training for fat burn does help with the marathon, and is really vital in ultras.  When I attempted a 50-miler this fall massively undertrained (and at sub-7 min pace), I was at least smart enough to have enough gels/sports drink to replace all the calories I would burn above ~2000cal allowed for glycogen and some for fat (yes I ran the numbers and even calculated how long the calories would take to be usable into when I took them).  The result was that I ran 12 miles further than I ever had before (38 miles) with zero energy issues; without fuel, I would have been hosed right around the marathon mark, I can feel it around 20-22 miles on completely unfueled long runs.


                Contrast this with the guy running right in front of me, who finished 2nd overall.  We talked and he had done his training correctly.  He ate two powerbar-type things very early in the race and THAT WAS IT.  In other words, he was going slow enough and had trained his metabolism well enough that he could supply roughly half of the calories needed for the race from fat, while someone like me who had not done that training had to rely on consuming carbs.

                Spaniel:

                 

                Well, I sorta wanted to make it a bit simple.  I can make it a bit more complicated even.  As most people know, anaerobic cycle is not as economical.  In a very simple term, from one molecule of glycogen, it produces only 2 ATPs whereas aerobic cycle produces, what was it, 38?  So, by exercising anaerobically, you'll be burning up glycogen pretty quickly.  I was talking to Arthur Lyiard one time when I was telling him about this high school coach who tried to have his kids do cargo loading for a mile race.  He said I can't quickly dismiss that because fast running can actually burn up glycogen very quickly.  Not that a mile run would need to practice burning fat; but the point being that, at some point, even a fast long run can use up glycogen.  

                 

                The truth of the fact is; I really don't think we know for sure what's going on in the individual who's trying to run all out at any given distance simply because it is next to impossible to measure what's going on in such situation.  We probably have a decent idea of what might be happening; but it's only a theory and speculation.  I always think of the story of lactic acid as a good example--we've been talking about lactic acid being a bad guy probably since 1950s.  All of a sudden, came 21st century, that we found out that lactic acid is actually a source of energy.  Some fanatic people seem to like to argue that Lydiard is outdated because he was talking about lactic acid being a bad guy.  Well, I think this idea of lactic acid being an energy source came about AFTER he'd passed away!!  That really shows, to me, how little we really know about what's happening in our body.  What we're talking about today may be completely wrong 50 years from now.  I'm only interested in what works.  This whole idea of "easy running doesn't stimulate much, therefore, it's junk-mile" came about when exercise physiologists started to "advise" runners/coaches that way.  Runners/coaches knew all along that it'll help.  But meanwhile, many people's mind had already been poisoned and, coupled with a false idea of "if you run too much, you'll get injured...", many people had shied away from running more, consequently, never fulfilling their true potential.

                 

                Merry Christmas, everybody at RA!!


                Interval Junkie --Nobby

                  Okay, I took your sagely advices and only did easy runs (9:40 7-10miles mostly) over the last two weeks (around 50mi/week).  Felt great.  Legs feel strong.  One of my injuries went away (instep of left foot pain -- solved by reverting to heel-striking).  Left knee is still pretty stiff, but very runnable.

                   

                  I did my first LSD on Saturday, after an easy 11mi on Friday.  16mi at 9:10 pace with a friend.  As recommended I went without juicing (Gu) or any other fluid replacement besides good ole water.  I might bring along Nuun electrolyte tablets next time, though.  The run certainly got harder around mile 12.  But it was nothing like I experienced in my 18mi run reported earlier (where my pace dropped to 10min then 11min at mile 18).

                   

                  Thanks for all the advice.  I've read a good bit about training plans (Hal's book, and lots online) and training for a marathon, but I think I miss the context sometimes.  For example, I never really know if people are cautioning runners to be extremely conservative with their goals (like just finishing a marathon) because so many unfit and overweight people are attempting it these days.  Or if the advice is universally applicable.

                   

                  Thanks for the clarification on juicing during training runs.  I had read, and was under the impression, that I should train like I'm going to run; that is, I should practice gels and fluids during my LSD.  Perhaps that should only happen when I get closer to the race?  While the theory about Glycogyn -> Fat Burning viz a viz training made a lot of sense, the advice about hydration only during hot days is suspect.  If you can point me to an article on the subject, I'd love to read it and dispel my anxieties about kidney failure and blood-thickening.

                   

                  Purchasing a GPS watch has been incredibly valuable in my training.  Apparently, I'm very bad at assessing my pace w/o a watch (running 8:10 and thinking it's either 9:10 or 7:40 is common for me).  It's mainly why my runs were all over the board to start with.  Now, I'm trying to keep to some consistency and running off of McMillan's running calculator for pacing information with the goal of a 3:45 marathon.

                   

                  Thanks everyone for taking the time to correct some of my misconceptions.

                  2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                  Current Status 11/10: Back to building up miles.  Junk feels mostly okay.  Kinda.


                  Feeling the growl again

                    I'm glad it's working well for you stadjak.

                     

                    Nobby, regarding lactic acid, we've known for decades that it can be used as an energy source.  It's the how, when and where that this can be done which confuses people, production of lactic acid is not beneficial for running.  I think the change in thinking you are referring to is lactic acid used to be looked at as the CAUSE of fatigue, but more recently it was understood to simply be a biproduct of anaerobic metabolism....ie a reporter of a fatigue-causing process only and not a direct cause of anything.  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

                     


                    Interval Junkie --Nobby

                      Just wanted to check in and thank the folks who contributed to this thread, particularly; Spaniel, Tchuck, Nooby and Amores.  I believe my training has gone extremely well since Dec.  My left knee even sorted itself out.

                       

                      I responded to the recommendations in this thread by 1) eliminating Gu/energy drinks from my all my runs.  2) Adding a mid-week medium run (13mi) to the plan.  I've slowly ramped up to now 60+ mi/week.

                       

                      I also transitioned to Jeff Gaudette's sub 3:45 plan (from his sub 4:00) plan.  And even that I've modified ad hoc to lower the times on the workouts.  

                       

                      Last week I had a very successful string of good workouts featuring:

                      - Sun: Long of 11mi(9:20) + 8mi(8:20) + 3mi(9:00) [see log for more context]

                      - Tue: Intervals: 6x1mi@7:00 (60sec recovery)

                      - Wed: 12mi  (9:50) recovery jog

                      - Thu:Tempo run, 4mi(7:30), 0.5(9:10), 4mi(7:30) -- maybe this should be called 2x4mi intervals?

                      - Sat: Steady run, 14mi(8:00)

                       

                      I'm about a week away from my Taper and I'm curious what my training has prepared me for.  I was hoping you could advise me again.  Specifically, I'm wondering how to plan out the paces of my race.  I did the 14mi@8:00 pace as sort of a time trial.  I struggled to keep the pace from 12-14, but not by exerting race effort or anything.  Plugging that into McMillan's pace calculator it would put me on target for a 3:39 marathon at 8:23 pace. 

                       

                      Right now I'm thinking I should start 8:30 for the first 12miles, then 8:20 until mile 20.  Then see whatever I can muster for the last 6.  Does this seem about right? I'd appreciate any insights.

                       

                      (btw: I'm not interested in just 'finishing' a marathon.  I'm sure I can do that at 9:10 pace easily.  So, I'm willing to accept a modest amount of risk of DNF to see how fast I can really run this thing.)

                      2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                      Current Status 11/10: Back to building up miles.  Junk feels mostly okay.  Kinda.

                        Maybe you'll surprise yourself.  Looks like you are in shape for a 3:20-3:25, I am not a expert at this though, just extrapolating a few friends workout paces to their results.


                        Interval Junkie --Nobby

                          Maybe you'll surprise yourself.  Looks like you are in shape for a 3:20-3:25, I am not a expert at this though, just extrapolating a few friends workout paces to their results.

                           

                          Thanks for the vote of overconfidence. 3:25 seems like a stretch.  Again.  I don't really know.  Certainly if I set out at 8:35 for half of it, making 3:25 is going to be quite a trick.  I'm thinking 3:40 is more likely.  Though, it got kind confusing after yesterday's Interval run: 2x5mi @ 7:35.  I did that pretty easily (comfortably hard), where just last Thursday 2x4mi @ 7:30 was hard (not comfortable, not race, but hard).  The only real difference is a rest day before the 2x5mi.  Hmm, and come to think of it: not playing volleyball for 1hr beforehand.

                           

                          Anyway, still looking for suggestions on how to interpret my training and what I should expect out of it.

                          2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                          Current Status 11/10: Back to building up miles.  Junk feels mostly okay.  Kinda.

                            Looks to me like you are ready to handle 8:00 pace as your marathon pace.

                             

                            But on a little reflection, considering that this is your first marathon and that you haven't showed that sort of fitness until really recently, it would be appropriate to go out at 8:15-8:20 pace. If you feel good after halfway and want to start rolling 8:00s, then by all means go for it. Targeting sub 3:40 would give you a very positive experience and some room to grow in future efforts.


                            Interval Junkie --Nobby

                              Looks to me like you are ready to handle 8:00 pace as your marathon pace.

                               

                              Maybe it's the avatar, but hearing that [in Coach's voice] makes me feel stoked.

                               

                              Clear minds, full heart . . . can't bonk!  Right?

                              2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                              Current Status 11/10: Back to building up miles.  Junk feels mostly okay.  Kinda.

                                Maybe it's the avatar, but hearing that [in Coach's voice] makes me feel stoked.

                                 

                                Clear minds, full heart . . . can't bonk!  Right?

                                 

                                Ha, yeah clear eyes and full heart is the only way to run. 

                                 

                                It is pretty awesome to see these folks (like you and others) making such HUGE strides in your ability that your minds can't keep up with the paces.

                                 

                                For me, the fitness comes and then the mind has to catch up with it and believe in it. It's funny how what looks like a bonk from a pessimistic perspective can look like a challenge from an optimistic perspective.

                                 

                                All that said, the marathon is a fickle mistress. She has been known to whisper promises and possibilities into her lovers' ears, then break them for her own sweet pleasure.

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