VDOT & Tapering... or lack thereof (Read 567 times)

    Here's a real geeky VDOT question for those of you who track this stuff. In April I ran a 20:47 5k -- VDOT of 47.6 Since then, I've bumped my mileage up a lot - from 20mi. per week to 35-39. Today, I ran a 34:09 5mi -- VDOT of 47.8. It appears to be not much improvement for a good bit more mileage. (Courses and weather were comparable.) However, there is this: the 5k in April was a week after a triathlon I'd trained and tapered for. The week of the 5k, I ran 18 miles... Last week, I ran 39 miles, including a 12miler on Sunday and a speed workout a week ago. So, the optimist in me says that it took a taper for me to do a 47.6 two months ago, and now I did a 47.8 the week after my biggest week of the year (so far). The pessimist says - wow, that ain't much better. Thoughts on how you use tapering and key races if you pay attention to VDOT stuff?

    Go to http://certainintelligence.blogspot.com for my blog.

      To me it's pretty simple. Your optimist side wins. Your VDOT is computed (or looked up in a table) by distance and time. The faster the time for a given distance, the higher the VDOT. Everyone I've read says you need a taper for optimal performance. You basically trained through the 5 miler race after almost doubling your mileage and still improved your VDOT. That's great. I would suggest tapering for an important event and see what happens then.

      When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

        I'm not a huge proponent of tapering mileage for best results. I think most people err on the side of tapering too much versus too little. But I do think you need to taper intensity for best performance. It's hard to say whether tapering would have mattered here. The bottom line is that one race at 5k and one race at 5 miles is too small a sample to really compare. Even though you say the course and weather were comparable there a million things that go into deciding whether you run your best on any given day. I've had seasons where I saw fluctuations of 30 seconds from race to race at the 5K distance off of the same training. More importantly though, I've never been a big Daniels guy and don't really understand VDOT (too technical for me) but a 34:09 5 mi seems a lot better performance than a 20:47 5k. I would think a 20:27 is equivalent to more like a 34:30 based on calculators I generally find very accurate. And a 34:09 5 miler is equivalent to more like a 20:30 5k. So I would put today's race as a significantly better performance than April's--in fact that's some remarkable improvement in only 3 months.

        Runners run.

          Any changes in your weight between the two races? In your case, plus/minus 3 pounds is approximately equal to a 1.0 VDOT swing all by itself.

          How To Run a Marathon: Step 1 - start running. There is no Step 2.

            All good points, guys. Thank you. mikeymike - which calculator do you favor? And frankly, I also just kind of *think* the 5 mi. performance is a bit better, too... I was sucking wind big time by the end yesterday and in my head don't think a 20:47 would've taken so much out of me. Berner - I'm actually down about two pounds from April - doh, that means I'm slower! Wink

            Go to http://certainintelligence.blogspot.com for my blog.

              mikeymike - which calculator do you favor?
              If you have multiple race distances to use for predicting a 3rd distance, then I like the one right HERE on RunningAhead. If you only have one distance to use as your basis, then I find that MERV's most accurate for me.

              Runners run.