Running-Wizard

1

Questions about PCR run and Out and Back (Read 48 times)

    I was reading yesterday through the Running Wizard thread on the main forums. I was already confused by the PCR run and now i think not only am I confused, but I haven't been running this fist part of the plan right at all!!

     

    I understand what Nobby was saying about the race effort vs race pace for the PCR run, and I understand why it is important to run this type of run and judge your increasing fitness. BUT...I guess, am I still supposed to run the PCR run at RACE EFFORT?? My last race was an 8K that i ran in sub 35 min, right exactly at a 7:00 mile. My running wizard plan has my goal pace for my 5K at a 6:50 mile. sooooo, yes, run at race effort...but that's hard!! and then to come back the next morning and run a longish run?? anyway....

     

    then for the out and backs I guess that i assumed that the time and distance given were total time running/distance running. so i have been including my warm up and cool down as part of all of my runs. i don't warm up much, it is about 3/4 mile to the start of a neighborhood loop that i use, so i run easy to the start and when i finish i run easy back home. but today I added an extra street to help fill out the length of the actual work out part of the run....hummmmm. i think i have been doing stuff wrong, which makes me nervous that i am where i am actually supposed to be since this is the last week of building and i start strength/hills next week.

     

    i'm concerned too because my mid-week longish run hasn't been very longish. it has been on the short side every week, mostly because of time!!! i just can't get out of bed earlier than four thirty and i don't have quite enough time to squeeze the whole run in. thankfully they always give a distance range, but i am always on the short side of that range and my time therefore is on the short side

     

    should i be concerned moving forward with the plan?? should i cut a week somewhere and do an extra week of building??

    JML


      I think that what Nobby was saying is that the PCR prepares you to run at race effort…..not that it should be run at your racing speed.   I found the PCR progression for my half marathon plan to be challenging, but I think that it prepared me well for race day.  I also refined my warmup method with each PCR so that it was automatic on race day.    My recommendation is that you try to keep with the time / pace guidelines in the plan and not push the pace too hard.    An example of how I run a PCR from my current Running Wizard 5K plan that is based on a 21:23 5k (6:54 pace) as my starting point.

       

      RW called for a PCR of 5 miles / 43 minutes / 8:18 pace

      I ran a 10 minute jog with a couple of strides to warmup, and then ran splits of 8:21, 8:23, 8:11, 8:09, 8:01 for a total workout time of 41 minutes at an overall  pace of 8:13.  I then jogged home to cooldown.

       

      My RW plan calls for me to run at a 6:46 pace in my goal race in May and my PCR pace will not get faster than 7:38.  The pace of a PCR is supposed to be challenging, but not a full out racing effort.

       

      My recommendation is that you try to incorporate more of a warmup before a PCR workout, and slowly increase the distance that you cover during the PCR over the next few weeks until you are closer to the middle of the recommended duration range.    As to the midweek aerobic run, I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless you are really cutting it short (below the recommended range).   A quick look at your log shows that you are doing a solid job with the runs.

       

      Good luck.

       2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...


      Hungry

        ...

        i'm concerned too because my mid-week longish run hasn't been very longish. it has been on the short side every week, mostly because of time!!! i just can't get out of bed earlier than four thirty and i don't have quite enough time to squeeze the whole run in. thankfully they always give a distance range, but i am always on the short side of that range and my time therefore is on the short side

         

        should i be concerned moving forward with the plan?? should i cut a week somewhere and do an extra week of building??

         

        What a slacker! Just kidding. I try to get up by 5:30 so I can finish my longish mid-week runs before work, but it's a real challenge. I've cut a few of them short, too. However, overall, I think I'm much better off doing these runs, even if I am at the low end of the range. I contrast it with the last marathon plan I used, where my mid-week runs peaked at 9 miles, and there was only 1 or 2 of those. Now, I've done a few weeks with 3 mid-week runs of over 10 miles! I really didn't think this would be possible when I started this plan. The amazing part is that I don't feel as tired and sore as I did with the previous plan. I attribute this to being much more conscious of keeping my effort level low enough that my recovery isn't as long.

        I'm probably repeating what JML said, but I don't think I'd be too concerned with moving forward with your plan or making any major adjustments. Sounds like you are probably pretty much where you should be, and maybe some minor adjustments to how you run your PCR runs is all you need to do.

          Thanks guys, I went out for my first PCR today and it didn't go so great. I was reading last night on the running wizard site about the run and got confused again, it does say RACE PACE - which i think just throws me off a bit. Then I compared my out and back run with my PCR run description and the pace difference is three seconds...so I am thinking...what's the point? What's the difference???!!???

           

          I ran my out and back last week to hard, then my long run was done on very slippery sidewalks, and sunday night i stayed out trying to cheer up a friend going through a divorce, so we gorged on chocolate fondue all night...all that to say i was setting myself up to fail this morning! I felt terrible and instead of backing off tried to start out to fast and then the wind hit me, huge gusts that actually knocked me off my feet at times. it wasn't a great run, iw as able to finally settle down and salvage the second half.

           

          Goal this week is to try and stay within the pace guidelines in my plan, i think that i am running some runs a bit to easy and some a bit to fast...


          Hungry

            Thanks guys, I went out for my first PCR today and it didn't go so great. I was reading last night on the running wizard site about the run and got confused again, it does say RACE PACE - which i think just throws me off a bit. Then I compared my out and back run with my PCR run description and the pace difference is three seconds...so I am thinking...what's the point? What's the difference???!!???

            I will definitely defer to Nobby (and to JML, who has been through a cycle), but here's my input for what it's worth.  The words "race pace" do appear somewhere in the PCR description, but it's not emphasized as much as HR. For my first PCR run (still a few weeks off), the prescribed pace is 44 seconds per mile slower than my goal race pace at the end of the program, so I do not plan to run my PCR runs at "all out" race pace. The thing that IS emphasized in the PCR description is the target Heart Rate range. My target HR range for the PCR run is a fairly significant notch harder than my Out and Back target HR range, even though the pace isn't a whole lot faster (only about 5 seconds per mile faster). I think that, at those effort levels, a mere 5 sec per mile faster will FEEL significantly harder. So I think the PCR run is one where a HRM would definitely come in handy. (I use mine on all my runs, but I love numbers and data and stuff ...) Maybe focus more on HR and Duration (than Pace and Distance).

             

            Oh, and you mentioned staying out cheering up a friend last night ... That might have something to do with not having a great run today. My Recovery Indicator this morning told me to "train, but don't strain" today, mostly due to the amount of sleep I got last night (just 6 hours); the other 2 RI inputs (weight and resting HR) were about the same as usual.


            Hungry

              Hmmm, I may have mis-spoken in my earlier post. My PCR description may be different for my plan -- I'm in the Marathon training plan, and you may be training for a 5k, in which case, your PCR might have you ramping up closer to race-level effort sooner. But I'm just guessing. I'll wait for the experts to chime in.

              In any event, Good luck!

              JML


                I will definitely defer to Nobby (and to JML, who has been through a cycle), but here's my input for what it's worth.  The words "race pace" do appear somewhere in the PCR description, but it's not emphasized as much as HR. For my first PCR run (still a few weeks off), the prescribed pace is 44 seconds per mile slower than my goal race pace at the end of the program, so I do not plan to run my PCR runs at "all out" race pace. The thing that IS emphasized in the PCR description is the target Heart Rate range. My target HR range for the PCR run is a fairly significant notch harder than my Out and Back target HR range, even though the pace isn't a whole lot faster (only about 5 seconds per mile faster). I think that, at those effort levels, a mere 5 sec per mile faster will FEEL significantly harder. So I think the PCR run is one where a HRM would definitely come in handy. (I use mine on all my runs, but I love numbers and data and stuff ...) Maybe focus more on HR and Duration (than Pace and Distance).

                 

                Oh, and you mentioned staying out cheering up a friend last night ... That might have something to do with not having a great run today. My Recovery Indicator this morning told me to "train, but don't strain" today, mostly due to the amount of sleep I got last night (just 6 hours); the other 2 RI inputs (weight and resting HR) were about the same as usual.

                 

                The PCR description does in fact reference "Race Pace" but I also see the following:

                 

                "You should still feel, at the end, you could have run faster and further if you wanted to."

                 

                At the end of a race, I am pretty much out of gas having (hopefully) paced myself to a point where I drain whatever energy I have left in the final mile.  To me (and I am not an expert in Running Wizard, just a guy who has used it once with good effect):

                - The PCR is a tempo run that increases in distance and speed as the training progressess and your fitness escalates in reponse to training stimulus.

                - It is meant to get you used to running at a faster pace for prolonged periods.

                - It is not meant to be done at the pace of your goal race as that would result in sharpening your speed and anaerobic conditioning too soon.

                 

                The PCR write-up is a bit difficult to parse and I think could be rewritten to address these points more clearly. For what it is worth, there is only one PCR writeup for each training plan (5K, marathon etc) and I recall being a little confused the first time I read the description as I went through the plan.

                 2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

                  I don't have a heartrate monitor, maybe that would help me out a bit. i definitely don't know any of my "heart rate numbers"

                   

                  thanks so much for the advice guys!


                  Hungry

                    I don't have a heartrate monitor, maybe that would help me out a bit. i definitely don't know any of my "heart rate numbers"

                     

                    thanks so much for the advice guys!

                    People seem to be either very pro-HRM or anti-HRM. Many of the more accomplished runners on this site will tell you not to use one. I've become a big fan of HRMs, and I find them very useful for following the Running-Wizard plan.  I most definitely do NOT have the ability to properly guide my effort and pace by "feel."

                    When I got my first HRM, I didn't really know what to do with it. It was interesting at first, but then it sat in a drawer for over a year before I read some articles on HR training. It died just as I was getting to know my own HR numbers and training ranges. My second HRM came with my Garmin GPS (Forerunner 210). I love it and rarely run without it now. (Even on the treadmill, I still use the HRM part).  It's a bit pricey ($250 or so?). If you only want the HRM, you can get one for a lot less money.

                    Running-Wizard provides a number of guidelines (i.e., ranges) for each workout. For example, there is a Pace range, a Distance range, a Duration range, a Heart Rate range, and an RPE ("rate of perceived exertion," I think?) range. For some workouts, if I were to follow the Pace range, I wouldn't be in the prescribed HR range for that workout; they just don't match up for me. So I've decided that it is more important to workout at the prescribed level of effort (i.e., within the HR or RPE ranges) for the prescribed Duration, and let the Distance and Pace vary to stay within the HR guidelines. (I use HR -- I do not have a good sense of RPE.)

                    Examples:  I go WAYYYY slower on my Sunday Recovery runs than my prescribed Pace range, because I need to in order to keep my HR in the relaxed, recovery range (115 - 134 bpm for me).  I go quite a bit faster AND a bit slower during my Fartlek runs than my prescribed Pace range, because I need to in order to see my HR ramp up and down through the prescribed HR ranges (125 - 163 bpm for me). By contrast, for the Aerobic Runs, Long Runs, and Out-and-Back Runs, all of the ranges line up very well for me, so I could run them by Pace instead of HR and it would be exactly the same result.

                    Ok, sorry for the data dump! Different things work for different people, of course.  But if you are focusing too much on the Pace, and it feels like you are over-doing it, then I'd give HR a try.

                    Best of luck!

                      Interesting, how we can interpret plans differently.  Probably the wording in the description of PCR runs is inaccurate. Of course, I only know my marathon plan but the suggested pace is all the way through the PCR run slower than my target marathon pace. To me Out and Back and PCR are really, more or less, the same intensity-wise:

                       

                      1. In the aerobic phase, you keep on increasing the distance and the pace in Out and Back. At the end, the pace is slower than PCR but the distance is longer.

                      2. When you reach the hill phase, you only increase the pace but not the distance and it is still clearly slower than race target pace. For me, the suggested pace is 4.37/km in the last week of the hill phase and my target marathon pace is 21 seconds faster.

                      3. In the anaerobic phase, you continue to increase the pace but not the distance, so at the end of this phase, my pace should be 4.29/km.

                      4. In the coordination phase, the PCR runs disappear and are replaced by 2 Out and Back per week. The intensity is higher here than in the PCR runs. I think that it will be quite challenging to run relatively long runs at a pace approaching race target pace.

                       

                      Unfortunately, I haven't yet tried the PCR runs due to an injury. I have been away for 4 weeks but have taken two short runs the last two days. The PCR run will be on next Thursday for me as it is too dangerous to try it today I feel. I expect volume to return to normal next week so with 12 weeks left it must still be possible to get a decent race.

                       

                      Good luck!

                        During the "sharpening" phase, you will be running O & Bs faster than your PCRs during the anaerobic phase. One of the points of the PCR is to gradually run a faster pace at the same effort as a slower pace earlier. A HRM is very helpful for this type of run just to see if your HR is staying around the same range at a faster pace as the weeks progress.

                          Sorry for coming in so late...  I guess it's quite a bit too late, huh?  How is it going? ;o)

                           

                          It may say Race Pace or Race Effort but, either way, I think RW will give you what "pace" it would like you to run (with range) and that should be fairly forgiving.  In fact, if anything, we hear far too often that people think the pace indicated/suggested is too easy!  Be it O&B or PCR, for a target race pace being 6:50, what pace does it tell you to run it?  I would say, depending on the duration of O&B or PCR, it should be somewhere around 7:40 or so???

                          I was reading yesterday through the Running Wizard thread on the main forums. I was already confused by the PCR run and now i think not only am I confused, but I haven't been running this fist part of the plan right at all!!

                           

                          I understand what Nobby was saying about the race effort vs race pace for the PCR run, and I understand why it is important to run this type of run and judge your increasing fitness. BUT...I guess, am I still supposed to run the PCR run at RACE EFFORT?? My last race was an 8K that i ran in sub 35 min, right exactly at a 7:00 mile. My running wizard plan has my goal pace for my 5K at a 6:50 mile. sooooo, yes, run at race effort...but that's hard!! and then to come back the next morning and run a longish run?? anyway....

                           

                          then for the out and backs I guess that i assumed that the time and distance given were total time running/distance running. so i have been including my warm up and cool down as part of all of my runs. i don't warm up much, it is about 3/4 mile to the start of a neighborhood loop that i use, so i run easy to the start and when i finish i run easy back home. but today I added an extra street to help fill out the length of the actual work out part of the run....hummmmm. i think i have been doing stuff wrong, which makes me nervous that i am where i am actually supposed to be since this is the last week of building and i start strength/hills next week.

                           

                          i'm concerned too because my mid-week longish run hasn't been very longish. it has been on the short side every week, mostly because of time!!! i just can't get out of bed earlier than four thirty and i don't have quite enough time to squeeze the whole run in. thankfully they always give a distance range, but i am always on the short side of that range and my time therefore is on the short side

                           

                          should i be concerned moving forward with the plan?? should i cut a week somewhere and do an extra week of building??

                          zonykel


                              In fact, if anything, we hear far too often that people think the pace indicated/suggested is too easy! 

                            That's how I felt at first. However, even though I might have felt the pace was "too easy", I could tell after the run that my body needed to recover.

                             

                            i think it was Jack Daniels who said that you can train faster when you've proved that you can race faster. Otherwise, you haven't earned the right to do so. (I'm paraphrasing heavily here).

                              I posted the following comment on PCR elsewhere (to Christi) but the original question was here; so I'll paste the same comment here:

                               

                              Christi:

                               

                              This is the one--I was looking for this at the regular threads...

                               

                              At any rate, O&B and PCR is, in theory, pretty much the same thing; the name "Out & Back" we got it from the concept that you are supposed to run OUT and BACK pretty much in the same time.  In other words, regardless of what the prescribed time may be, if you find yourself struggling in the second half (Back part), you know you're pushing too much and you'll need to find out what's causing it.  So, basically, with your above question specifically, of course it can't be RACE PACE (I don't think anywhere in RW plan there's a RACE PACE workout perhaps except for a marathon--I think one of shorter O&B workouts in the final weeks might be very close to target marathon race pace...); race EFFORT may be...but I don't think even for PCR...

                               

                              The term PCR was developed by Lorraine (she likes those fancy terms!! ;o)).  If you take a look at a whole plan, you will notice PCR comes during Hill phase and Anaerobic Phase.  You should be doing those guys pretty much in place of O&B...but what would happen (and should happen) is that your PACE naturally comes down very quickly.  So during Conditioning Phase, you may be doing O&B, say, a couple of seconds per mile per week faster; but during these phases, you would be doing, say, 5 or more seconds per mile per week faster.  This is actually where the term Progress Calibration came from--you are calibrating your progress each week by checking how this progress is going--and, as I think it should say, while the pace is getting quicker, your HR should pretty much stay the same--in other words, this progress should come naturally, not by pushing extra hard.

                               

                              In short, with Running Wizard, there shouldn't be, in any place, that you are struggling to keep up with the progress.  If a certain workout's pace is too fast for you to maintain, you might have plugged in wrongly (say, put 5k time as 5 "mile" race time...--a common mistake we saw earlier!!).  In general, you should find almost all the workouts pace too easy for you.  RW would NOT push you unreasonably.  If anything, we nurture you guys gently and you should notice the progress without pushing--in other words, come naturally.