Starting a MAF base building period right at the start of the summer doesn't do a lot for your self esteem. If I had started in August I think I would be seeing tremendous gains as the temperatures cooled and my avg paces dropped off.
Right now it is hard to tell if I'm even making any progress due to the increasing temperatures and humidity.
I went back and made a spreadsheet that added humidity and dew point to all my runs. (I'd already been keeping track of temperature, wind, and sky conditions for the most part).
Here's a link to the spreadsheet - http://www.padens.com/files/MAF%20Schedule%202012.pdf
There are so many variables to consider with temp, humidity, wind, elevation, climb, how much sleep I got the night before, what I did the day before, etc. that it is really hard for me to see much of a trend at all. There are some outliers like the 6/3 evening run at 90 degrees that I would expect to be slow, but I have no idea why my run on 5/31 was almost a minute and a half faster avg pace than my run on 5/29. I've gone back and looked at 2nd mile paces as well and they typically follow the overall average pretty closely.
Ignore the Elliptical numbers, those are maninly just in there to to see if they might affect the next days workout pace or something.
Any suggestions for any data that I need to add? Any suggestions on ways I can manipulate the data to see if there is any kind of a trend here?
I feel like I'm already at a Plateau and I haven't even been doing this a month yet.
Thanks in advance for any advice or input.
Upcoming races: HURL Elkhorn 50K Trail Run - 8/1/15
Age: 47 Weight: 205 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)
Current PR's: Mara 3:48:09 (2013); HM 1:36:42 (2015); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:27 (2013)
Do you have a specific run that you use as your MAF test? The 6 mile house run? You should have on run that is the same that you can use as the test.
On first glance, taking temperature and humidity into account, it looks like you have improved a little, as you haven't gotten worse even though the temps have risen. The first run was 11:27 in 53°/69% humidity and the last was 11:25 in 63°/90%. Some runs are much better, some a little slower. Looks like a good first month, even though it was a tough first month on the body.
Yeah, that 6 mile house route is what I'm going to try to use as my true benchmark run.
Today was a real downer at my 11:25 pace with the 63 degree temperature when I got done, but then looking up the humidity and dew point numbers after I was done, it isn't way out of line.
Having those first few MAF runs with temps in the 50's and dew points in the 40's really set the bar high for improving on my pace. Going to be a while before I can get my 6 mile route done at a 10:58 pace like I did on my 2nd ever MAF run on 5/10/12 with the summer coming on strong.
Just looking for some magic calculator that I can work up some formula to take all the factors into account and tell me I really am improving or not!
As far as tough on the body, it doesn't feel like it.
I'm going from running at 70% of HRR (149 bpm for me) with some tempo and interval work mixed in at least once a week to MAF at 136 so I'm running about 1 minute slower on my pace than I was the last several months. I'm actually down a little tiny bit on my overall mileage as well.
It feels nice and easy, just wishing I had some more definte feedback that it was working.
I'm trying to decide on running a 10k this weekend as a true race all out or as a moderate workout to get my heart rate up a little or just running it at MAF. I was hoping to see something in the spreadsheet that would help me figure it out one way ot the other.
You are doing great - your data clearly indicates this!
There's a lot of noise in your data, due to different conditions (time you're running, distances, temperatures, etc...), but I see clear indications of improvement over time.
Here is your magic formula:
efficiency = temp / (pace * hr)
and then I take a five day rolling average of these numbers, I clearly see a rising trend over your data, indicating improvement.
A seven day rolling average (one week's worth) makes the numbers fluctuate less at the expense of sensitivity.
Of course, you can modify this formula to include any factors that you think are pertinent: you just have to decide to put the number in the numerator or in the denominator.
Put it in the numerator if a higher number indicates a greater accomplishment at the same effort.
Put it in the denominator if a lower number indicates an improvement at the same effort.
You can get fancy and modulate the numbers more by squaring them, taking logs, etc... ...but I personally haven't found this to be necessary, yet.
Take a look at the last tab (npaden) that I added to my Training Log for a calculation based on your data.
Age:42, MAF:138, 168cm/5'6", 62.2kg/137lb (from 73kg/161lb), BF: 14.9%
Goals: MAF10k@56:50, 59kg/130lb (32 days to go)
Stage: Trying to get back to MAF Base Building after muscle strain injury
My Training Log
Thanks, that does give me something that helps quantify an actual improvement. I might mess around a bit adding the humidity in there somewhere to see if that helps quanitify it better. There were some days in there that had a higher temperature with low humidity that for sure required more effort than a day like today with a lower temperature but high humidity.
Of course alot of it becomes exponential too. The difference between 50 and 60 degrees isn't bad just like the difference between 50 and 60% humidity isn't bad, but when you get up in the 70's on temperature AND humidity it starts to show in a decreased pace.
2 of my slowest runs have been when the temperature was decent (62 on 5/29 and 63 today), but on both of those days the humidity was very high and resulted in a much slower run. Back on 5/15 was another high humidity day (93%), but with the 46 degree temperature it didn't affect my pace much at all.
I would use dew point as a good indicator, but when you get very low humidity it messes things up like on 6/1 where it was 77 degrees with 18% humidity for a dew point of only 32.
Might have to get tricky and throw in some =IF statements to factor in that. Let's say if humidity is under 50% then just use the temperature, if it is over 50% then use the dew point. That would line up really well with what I'm showing for bad pace days anyway. Maybe limit the effective dew point to just 15 degrees cooler than the actual temperature. That would end up with about the same effect and still show some benefit to the low humidity days. That way if it was a day like 6/3 with 90 degrees and 24% humidity it would use an effective dew point of 75 degrees instead of the true dew point of 49. That would be much more comparable to me than going with actual dew point numbers.
I think I'll run with that and see what I get.
Whether I'm just manipulating the numbers to make myself feel better or not, this now shows some steady improvement!
Just looking at it I might need to adjust the arbitrary 15 degrees max off a bit as the Effort Indicator column spikes a bit high on the low humidity days if I leave them as they are.
I went back and adjusted that to 25 degrees and it looks pretty close to being in line for the most part. Still a little spike on the warmer low humidty days, but not much at all.
Here's the final version I think I'll start using.
My PB was an Effort Indicator of 39.46 on 6/2/12 with a 11:17 pace and 137 avg HR with a real dew point of 61.
My moving averages are showing fairly steady improvements now.
Probably just making myself feel better but hey it works! It would be interesting to keep running this in the fall when it starts cooling down and see if my Effort Indicator continues to improve then! Essentially the way this is calculating if I just stay at the same pace as the dew point increases my Effort Indicator will improve each time. Which is actually true I guess.
Oh well, thanks for the input and maybe I have my magic number now anyway!
I wasn't sure how technical you were so I didn't know how best to describe how to create a measure/indicator, but it looks like you totally have the hang of it!
If it is any consolation at all, I created your indicator without any adjustments, so I think it is safe to say that you are getting better at this.
But I definitely like your use of IF() statements to create a non-linear mapping of values. My initial thinking was too mathematically narrow in trying to write one formula for the entire indicator. As you have clearly shown, that's not necessary with a computer/spreadsheet.
BTW, using dewpoint is definitely a good idea. Essentially, any factor which has a correlation with pace or hr could be used. Heck, you could even use your resting-heart-rate, your weight, or even your footwear! Although it's not necessary to go too crazy with the efficiency indicator, when you have the data, it's fun to see what kinds of numbers and formulae you can come up with.
My PB was an Effort Indicator of 39.46 on 6/2/12 with a 11:17 pace and 137 avg HR with a real dew point of 61.
That was a 2 hour run at 6AM!!! Fantastic!
One other quick note: you are creating an efficiency indicator - in general, HR is an indication of effort.
So as dewpoint/humidity goes up, if you can maintain the same pace, your efficiency has improved.
This makes sense, as we usually expect to get slower as humidity increases.
Thanks for the tips.
Looking this thing over it really does track very well. I was just looking back over it and 2 days stood out from the normal tracking on May 22 and 23rd. Looking over all the data, sure enough, those 2 days were run in Dallas at a significantly lower elevation than I normally run at. I guess I could factor that in there as well somehow but I would have to modify it down quite a bit as a factor. Looks like it might only make a very slight difference in the grand scheme of things.
Maybe I can come up with a spreadsheet that will show that I'm really losing weight even though I'm not now!
Started messing with this a little bit more and put in some numbers from before I started MAF training and they aren't lining up very well.
It seems to work if my HR is very close (my MAF runs are all within 4 or 5 beats or so), but when I start putting in some 150's and 160's into the spreadsheet on some warmer days back in April it shows an efficiency indicator above what I am showing now.
Going to take some more thinking to get this tweaked a bit more. Maybe I should give the HR some type of factor. It works when the HR numbers are all close, but when the HR climbs it doesn't give it enough weight. My HR increasing by 30% in the same conditions is only going to increase my pace around 20%, but right now I'm factoring them the same.
Also there is an exponential curve on the affect of temperature and humidity. At a dewpoint of 40 - 50 it's all about the same, but climbing up into the 60's from 50 is a big difference.
Oh well, with an 11:45 avg pace with a 140 avg HR on my run during lunch I need to keep working at it to see if I'm progressing! Was very humid but my efficiency number went down.
I'm thinking the 10K race this weekend my be my true indicator. Of course if the weather is warm and humid, that's going to be tough to get a good pace in then too.
My recommendation: you can play with it for fun, but obsessing over it will not make any better.
Case in point: have you ever tried to measure your weight on a daily basis?
It's interesting to track and useful up to a point, but the adage that you should only pay attention to it on a long-term, weekly basis, is really true.
What are the factors which will impact your weight?
Out of these, the most significant on a daily basis happens to be water retained, not calories burned vs eaten.
What impacts water retained?
I'm just listing the basics, and even then, when people talk about weight, what they really care about is fat%, not weight itself.
What are you looking for, when you are calculating an efficiency factor?
If you are looking for improvement, I suggest that you also look at it from a weekly basis. (you could use the daily numbers to warn you about something wrong, but usually, listening to your body directly is best for that)
After all, a big part of how fast you run that day will actually depend on your weight and how much water/food/glycogen/gas/crap you are carrying that morning.
Unless you are extremely diligent about controlling your diet, it's actually quite hard making it all consistent from day to day. Of course, you can do as much adjusting as you like for fun, but I don't recommend wasting too much time on it unless you have the time to spare.
Had a good run this morning. 11:08 pace with a 138 avg HR. 63 dew point and gives me a PB on my efficiency indicator of 41.01.
I think the breeze helped cool me off this morning though and that's part of why I did so much better.
I think it would take a super detailed spreadsheet with all kinds of =if equations and some exponential factoring to really come up with a true number that would stand the test.
Elevation would need to be in there, I'd need to put some type of factor on HR and pace, calm days would be bad in high humidity but extra windy days would be bad and wind wouldn't really factor in much on low humidity days.
I think I could get this thing tweaked pretty good if I wanted to spend some time at it. I think I have better things to do right now though.
Just RUN and let it all take care of itself.
All the obsessing your doing about your pace and percieved lack of improvement is also affecting your pace and percieved lack of improvement. If you ever get a HR monitor that displays your HR instantaniously, try running while tensing your upper body and watch the HR rise. Breath deepand slow through your nose and watch it fall. Increase your cadence and watch what happens. Think about a fight of flight situation, an arguement you've had lately or the ahole that cut you off yesterday and see what happens to your HR.
For me, my MAF pace slows as I get into the summer months. By late Sept-Oct my MAF pace really quickens until mid Dec, then slows again since I have to bundle up for the cold temps. By April-May my MAF pace quickens and the cycle starts over again.
The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff
Thanks for the input.
I really don't obess about it at all when I'm out there. I still just let it tell me my pace and HR once every 1/2 mile and typically just focus on the HR numbers, don't put much into the pace numbers at all when I'm actually running. My last couple runs my GPS messed up and the pace numbers were off the entire time anyway. When I'm doing a lot of ups and downs I do sometimes end up taking my phone out and watching my instant HR numbers going up or down the hill because otherwise I can get some really big swings. I've been listening to audio books, podcasts, etc. lately. I don't feel like I'm really doing much more than going out for a Sunday drive, just on my feet instead of in the car. I'm a pretty low key guy overall, don't really notice spikes in my HR even when I go back and look at spots were dogs were chasing me and fun stuff like that.
It's after the run sitting here at my desk that I obsess about them! It's more of a facination with how all the numbers work together and an analytical mind trying to figure it all out than anything.
Being a newbie I do want to see some improvement or at least maintain my current level of fitness. It gets depressing seeing that I ran a 10:58 pace on my 6 mile MAF run a month ago and my last run on the same route was at an 11:47 pace. Using the fancy spreadsheet it shows that considering the temp and humidity I actually did better at the 11:47 pace run. Might all be smoke and mirrors, but it helps me feel like I'm actually accomplishing something by getting out there and slogging out the miles.