Beginners and Beyond

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Magill on Mistakes (Part 1) (Read 449 times)

    My new issue of Running Times came in today and Pete Magill has a masterpiece about mistakes runners make in training.  He lists 12 of them so I thought I'd do this in 3 or 4 parts so folks can discuss.  Look to see if you see yourself in any of these mistakes.  I certainly make some of them.  So, here goes.

     

    Mistake #1 - Start too fast.  On easy runs, you try to run your first mile at the same pace you want for the rest of the run.  On tempo runs, you try to run the first mile of the quality portion of the run at the same pace as your overall goal pace.  On intervals, you try to do the first interval as fast as your goal for the intervals.  That makes you just like the kids in a race who inevitably sprint at the gun only to die a little later.  According to Sean Wade, Olympic marathoner, "every single run, every single workout should be a negative split."

     

    The fix - Ease your way into the run or the workout.  Run your first mile slower than your goal pace.  Make the first mile of your tempo run or the first repeat of your intervals the slowest of the workout.  (My editorial.  Think about doing the first mile of your next easy run at recovery jog effort, the first mile of your next tempo run at marathon pace effort, and the first repeat of your next intervals at tempo run effort).

     

    Mistake #2 - Make all runs "medium runs.  Elite runners frequently note that recreational runners tend to do their easy runs too hard which inevitably leads them to doing their hard runs too easy.  Because they don't run slow enough on easy days, they can't reap the benefit of hard days.  Doing easy runs at an easier pace yields the same physiological benefits as doing them at a somewhat faster pace but ultimately gives greater benefits since you can run longer and recover more quickly.  

     

    The fix - If you feel yourself pushing at all on your easy runs, back off.  Don't try to sneak in some "extra" quality work or judge your fitness by your pace on your easy days.  

     

    Mistake #3 - Neglecting speed.  If you skip speed workouts, here's what happens.  a) Intermediate and fast twitch muscles atrophy; b) neuromuscular recruitment and efficiency declines; c) lactate accumulation at high intensity increases; d) muscle buffering capacity decreases.  Magill tried a summer of running in which he ran over 100 miles every week at 6:00 per mile or faster.  Instead of getting better, his mile time slowed from 4:10 to 4:50.  

     

    The fix - You don't have to do formal speed work.  Do some form drills and strides.  Do some fartleks.  Do some modest tempo runs.  Whether you want to be a speed demon or not, incorporate some speed into your workouts occasionally.  

    Short term goal: 17:59 5K

    Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

    Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).


    Muddling through

       

      Mistake #1 - Start too fast.  ...On tempo runs, you try to run the first mile of the quality portion of the run at the same pace as your overall goal pace.  On intervals, you try to do the first interval as fast as your goal for the intervals.  That makes you just like the kids in a race who inevitably sprint at the gun only to die a little later.  According to Sean Wade, Olympic marathoner, "every single run, every single workout should be a negative split."

        

       

      Aside from a quote by Sean Wade, what's the justification for running tempo runs and intervals as progressive workouts which is what you get if you run the first part slower than the goal pace?

      2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

      xor


        Pete is known as "SoCalPete" in these forums and posts occasionally.

         

        Anyway.  Don't go out too fast.  Don't run your easy runs too hard.  Do a little speedwork.

         

        All goodness.

         

          This is really helpful to me.  Thank you!!


          Sub1:40orBust

            Mistake #2 - Make all runs "medium runs.

             

            This is absolutely me. I have made significant progress this year and dropped my Half PR by 7 minutes so I don't think it is an awful strategy.  I do agree that this is ideal nor is it the long term solution and I am going to make a serious effort to go "easy" and "hard" as appropriate.

              Aside from a quote by Sean Wade, what's the justification for running tempo runs and intervals as progressive workouts which is what you get if you run the first part slower than the goal pace?

               

              George, the article goes on to talk about how going out too hard initially leads to blowing up later an an inability to complete the workout.  I know that I used to end up cutting a lot of workouts short because I'd gone out too hard.  Now, I deliberately try to start just a notch too easy and I find that I finish a higher percentage of my workouts.  For example, yesterday I did 6 x 1 mile cruise intervals with 1:15 recoveries between each.  My splits were:

               

              6:22

              6:19

              6:10  (I may have stopped my watch too early on this one).

              6:17

              6:13

              6:02

               

              I suppose it fits in with something I have said on many occasions which is that I would rather start too easy and finish than start too hard and have to cut the workout short.  

              Short term goal: 17:59 5K

              Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

              Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                Mistake #2 - Make all runs "medium runs.

                 

                This is absolutely me. I have made significant progress this year and dropped my Half PR by 7 minutes so I don't think it is an awful strategy.  I do agree that this is ideal nor is it the long term solution and I am going to make a serious effort to go "easy" and "hard" as appropriate.

                 

                There is another mistake Magill talks about and that is assuming that what works when you start running will continue to work.  His point is that when you first start running, it doesn't make a bit of difference what you do.  As long as you keep at it, you'll improve and you may improve by a lot.  However, that pattern eventually quits working.

                Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).


                Chasing the bus

                  There is another mistake Magill talks about and that is assuming that what works when you start running will continue to work.  His point is that when you first start running, it doesn't make a bit of difference what you do.  As long as you keep at it, you'll improve and you may improve by a lot.  However, that pattern eventually quits working.

                   

                  ^ this was me.

                   

                  At the risk of arguing, Re: Mistake #3, and it's not me, but Maffetone, who says many don't need speed work. I'm soon to find out if three months of easy running/no speed work has made me slower. I do know mistake #2 did.

                  “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
                  Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test


                  Muddling through

                    George, the article goes on to talk about how going out too hard initially leads to blowing up later an an inability to complete the workout.  I know that I used to end up cutting a lot of workouts short because I'd gone out too hard.  Now, I deliberately try to start just a notch too easy and I find that I finish a higher percentage of my workouts.  For example, yesterday I did 6 x 1 mile cruise intervals with 1:15 recoveries between each.  My splits were:

                     

                    6:22

                    6:19

                    6:10  (I may have stopped my watch too early on this one).

                    6:17

                    6:13

                    6:02

                     

                    I suppose it fits in with something I have said on many occasions which is that I would rather start too easy and finish than start too hard and have to cut the workout short.  

                     

                    That doesn't really address my question. I've always been taught and always run my intervals all at the target pace. Here's an example of one of my workouts: 4x1000m (5:28, 5:28, 5:28, 5:24). The only reason the last one was faster was that I decided to kick a little the last 100m. Typically all I need to do is record my goal pace instead of the individual times because they are all +/- one second from the goal pace. So where does starting out slower than goal pace help and why would running intervals this way be a mistake?

                    2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

                    ilanarama


                    DREAMCRUSHER

                      For me, I am not always sure what my interval pace ought to be.  I'm rarely able to hit the paces spat out by e.g. McMillan, so frequently the first several intervals (or the beginning of a tempo) is a feeling-out phase.  Unfortunately, when I'm fresh a too-fast pace can feel just fine - and then I can't complete the workout.  So until I'm at the point in a cycle where I'm confident of what my paces should be, I always force myself to start on the slow side.  This has helped me a lot particularly in longer tempo runs and tempo intervals.  (I don't start tempo runs with MP, though - I typically strive for HMP on them, with the first mile perhaps 5-10 sec per mile slower.)

                      PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

                      Last: Dead Horse 50K 10/18: 5:58 | Next: Turkey Trot?

                      bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org

                      sheepla


                        I'm very guilty of mistake #3.  I always hear that speedwork done incorrectly increases chance of injury and I consider myself so injury-prone already that I just can't talk myself into it.  My number 1 running goal for 2013 is to incorporate some kind of speedwork.


                        Bad Ass

                          I agree.  I used to start my easy runs and attempted to run at the same pace for mile 1 and 10.  Since the asthma, I am more aware of that serious mistake because my chances of an attack hightened the less warmed up I am.  So now, my first mile is sometimes 1 minute slower than my pace.  It all balances out in the end and I run exactly on pace or slightly faster.

                           

                          Most of us to run the easy runs too fast.  You think this is not happening because they are short enough to be done well.  But when you hear the results of the race and the walking, or the crashing and burning, or the wall, the first reason I can pinpoint to is having trained too fast.

                          Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                          Blog

                          "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

                            This is my thinking about starting too fast on quality workouts.

                             

                            My guess is that most folks warm up for a quality workout about like I do.  That means 1.5-2 miles of easy running followed by a few strides.  That warm up is significantly less than what I do for a 5K or a 10K.  Those warm ups will cover about 3.5 miles and include a work up from jogging to easy pace to marathon pace to tempo pace to interval pace and then 2 x 2 minutes at race pace + 2 minute jogs between those race paces followed by a short rest followed by strides.  The entire warm up takes over 30 minutes.  But, because of that very extensive warm up, I am ready to go at race pace from the gun.

                             

                            For my quality sessions, I face the same time constraints we all face.  Rather than doing a complete warm up as I do for races, my warm up lasts about 15 minutes.  I'm am "sort of" warmed up but I am not completely warmed up.  The first interval or the first mile of a tempo run happens before I am completely warmed up and it ends up serving as the final bit of warm up for the rest of the workout.  

                             

                            What has worked well for me in terms of being able to finish my workouts is doing that first mile or first interval a little below the targeted pace.  I'm not talking a lot slower - 10 seconds per mile slower for the first mile of a tempo run or 2-3 seconds per 400 slower for intervals.  Thus, if I was doing 800's, my first interval might be 3:05 or 3:06 rather than the 3:00 I am targeting.  

                            Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                            Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                            Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                              I am so very guilty of pushing on my easy runs. I'm fairly new to running, so my understanding is all my runs should be easy runs, but I have to make a conscious effort to slow down. If I'm not paying attention I will be half way through my run and realize I'm going too fast. Sometimes I slow down, but often times I feel like it's more effort to hold back than it is to just finish it out. I know this will catch up with me. Blah.

                               

                              Why does it feel better to run faster, even though it's harder?

                              Hipfan


                              Proud Calgarian

                                This is my thinking about starting too fast on quality workouts.

                                 

                                My guess is that most folks warm up for a quality workout about like I do.  That means 1.5-2 miles of easy running followed by a few strides.  That warm up is significantly less than what I do for a 5K or a 10K.  Those warm ups will cover about 3.5 miles and include a work up from jogging to easy pace to marathon pace to tempo pace to interval pace and then 2 x 2 minutes at race pace + 2 minute jogs between those race paces followed by a short rest followed by strides.  The entire warm up takes over 30 minutes.  But, because of that very extensive warm up, I am ready to go at race pace from the gun.

                                 

                                For my quality sessions, I face the same time constraints we all face.  Rather than doing a complete warm up as I do for races, my warm up lasts about 15 minutes.  I'm am "sort of" warmed up but I am not completely warmed up.  The first interval or the first mile of a tempo run happens before I am completely warmed up and it ends up serving as the final bit of warm up for the rest of the workout.  

                                 

                                What has worked well for me in terms of being able to finish my workouts is doing that first mile or first interval a little below the targeted pace.  I'm not talking a lot slower - 10 seconds per mile slower for the first mile of a tempo run or 2-3 seconds per 400 slower for intervals.  Thus, if I was doing 800's, my first interval might be 3:05 or 3:06 rather than the 3:00 I am targeting.  

                                 

                                That sounds very similar to what I've now become accustomed to, the only difference is that before the quality session, the warm-up run will be 15 minutes, then the drills (high knees, butt kicks, etc), and then come the strides.

                                2014 Goals and PRs:

                                5k - 17:59 (18:17);  10k - 37:00 (36:42);   HM - 1:21:59 (1:24:21);   FM - whatever (3:05:46)

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