Running with the sub-3s -- ut oh (Read 2049 times)

    Love the spirit you've got, stadjak. The training will work itself out. This is not by-the-book training you are doing (which is a good thing), but you are actually LEARNING about your limits, what you can and can't do (yet) and what it will take to make can't into can. Thanks for sharing this here.


    A pretty good coach once said, "The magic is in the man, not the miles."

    Interval Junkie --Nobby

      This is not by-the-book training you are doing (which is a good thing), but you are actually LEARNING about your limits, what you can and can't do (yet) and what it will take to make can't into can. Thanks for sharing this here.


      Glad you guys are getting something out of these posts.  I think the interesting thing for me in this approach is that I'm forced to really pay attention to my body and try and figure out what it's telling me, where if I were taking a more standard approach I'd be well within my safety limits and could just keep by brain on blind-faith automatic pilot.  This might not be the optimal approach, but I certainly am learning (which also entails making mistakes).


      Last week was a recovery week, and I did my best to 'rest' my fatigue counter.  I went from 77mi the week before, to 50mi (as recommended by Coach).  I also kept that week's tempo run at my paces.  After the week I felt pretty good.  Actually, rolling off the 77mi week I also felt good: helped by a glorious Sunday afternoon run in 75F and clear sunny skies.


      This week I kept to my strategy: ~10 mi a day; Wednesday 6x800s at what was supposed to be (MP, HMP, 10mi), I instead did them all at 10mi pace (6:30) and faster to ~5K pace.  This workout is a solid workout for me (not hard, not too easy).  I'm trying to see if I can keep these at the faster paces and still recover in time for my 20miler on Saturday.  


      All my non-group runs are now at night.  I've scuttled the AM/PM doubles for long PM runs.  I am naturally a night-owl and the morning early wake-up was contributing my constant fatigue.  I still wake early for me (6/6:30am), but not by alarm clock (5:30).  It has made a big difference.  Also, I'm not sure the doubles were giving me enough time to rest.  I was always running, working or sleeping.  Pfitz seems to think one long-run is better than doubles up to 80mpw because of the longer continuous rest time and the benefits of a 10mi over two 5milers.  Of course, the 70-83F evenings are also helping.


      The only thing I messed up in prep for the 20miler is I did it on only 6hrs of sleep due to social commitments.  Otherwise, I was eating right, sleeping right the rest of the week, and I believe recovered from the Wednesday workout.


      This 20miler was at the same location as my 16mile failure reported here a month ago.  The strategy was to keep 7:50-8:00 pace for 15miles, then try to bring it down to MP (7:15 or something like that) for 5mi.  I also decided to forego lots of water-stop opportunities and instead to just keep running w/o the rest.  Comically, this had me leap-frogging the sub-3s, who had pulled away to 7:30 pace, but stopped for drinks at mile 3.5 and 7.  Actually, their 7:30 pace must have been more around 7:10 pace because I could only hold 'the lead' for a mile after I passed them: and I had also dropped down to 7:30 in the playful excitement.  At 14mi I finally had to stop for a water-refill (90sec).  And while I didn't have to stop at 17mi, I did so to pour water on my head and down some ice cold aqua just because I had already dropped to 7:30 and it was quite an effort to maintain it.  By this, I mean I had to really pay attention to my pace otherwise it would slip to 7:50.  I looked at my watch ever 30seconds or so to re-adjust.  It was disappointing that 7:30 seemed to be the best I could do w/o thrashing into race-mode.  The last mile I really pushed to bring it to 7:15.


      The run itself was interesting to me for a few reasons.  There are lots of rolling hills and long inclines.  There's also a lot of wash-boarding on this mostly gravel course.  Together they make the run more difficult than I'd like for a long race course.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure this is nowhere near Flying Monkey difficulty.  But who doesn't like a nice easy 20miler.  However, with this in mind, I'm very happy with my 4x7:30 & 1x7:15 miles.  And through the rest of Saturday I feel good and energetic (where after the 16miler I was completely spent).


      During that MP phase the hurt started to build.  I look forward to this in my training.  In fact, I seek it out; not at all because I'm good at dealing with it, but because I need to get better.  The quitting demon was on my shoulder, whispering into my ear.  The general and unlocatable pain of long distance running enveloped my body and invaded my mind.  And I did my best to fight it off.  I haven't discovered a magic mantra; the thing that works for me is thinking of putting the black mark of "failure" in my summary graph here on RA.  Silly, I know.


      So, I'm very happy with my run.  Tomorrow, I'll log 10 to round the week out at 73mi.  Feeling less fatigued than I have in a while.  I think things are back on track.


      I'm sure the 70F weather has done its part in this.

      2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

        Good stuff.

        Runners run.

          Lets make one thing perfectly clear: there is no "in" crowd in running.  We are all dorks.


          That said, I think the coach is right.

           Off Subject but I love this


            distance runners do it longer

            dean  you will need lots of 18 milers with 2mile pickups faster than race pace

            plus every 2 weeks 23-24 miles good lucl .......pb 2.20.31

            Interval Junkie --Nobby

              8 weeks to go.


              TL;DR: In the last two weeks I hit a terrible low, but rallied in the second week.


              Two weeks ago Summer returned: 8000% humidity and one of those pressure systems that makes everyone grumpy.  The clear air was gone.  My Monday AHR + Hills was good.  The Wednesday speed workout was a set of 12 400m repeats.  While we run as "a group", that usually means I'm trailing the 2nd slowest guy by 25m.  My recovery time is about 15secs shorter than everyone else.  I usually jog just above walking pace, trying to recover a bit quicker.  But as these were 400s, the difference between 1st and last wasn't that much; we were explicitly told not to kill it. My splits were fairly consistent.  We rotated through who was going to lead the interval.  On the 10th it was my turn.  There was disagreement on whether we were aiming for 80sec or 75secs -- but being that as the slowest, I had something to prove I decided 75s.


              The fastest of the bunch camped out on my outside shoulder. When we hit 200m he breathed, "Perfect".  It's funny, he's always 2nd in these managed-pace intervals as if he would really like to go faster, but he's being good . . . and maybe he doesn't want that to slip your mind.  Of course, for the leader it's a constant firm push; you know you can't slow up.  Barry will eat you.


              I came in at 74.78sec.  Not bad.  Best thing, I didn't feel like I was pushing my pace; wasn't easy. But wasn't hard.  I paid for it on the next one.


              To soak up the workouts I've slowed my recovery runs to 9:30 pace.  Or maybe, the weather encouraged me to slow that much.  I also had a really rough week of lots of travel for work, sneaking my runs in right before bedtime, and crappy sleep.  That all took its toll on the Saturday "Tempo" run.  I'd volunteered for the local women's 4miler and had been up since 4:30am parking 4,000 cars in a field with 60 other guys.  Then I read splits at the 2mi mark until I lost my voice just after the walkers rolled by.  But when I got to my run, I could tell a Tempo run wasn't in the cards.  Instead I slogged my way through 11mi of grueling crappy 9:30 pace running.  The next day the weather was now 9,000% humidity and f'n oppressive and headachey as hell.  I was dreading going out there.  Didn't feel rested.  Felt like crap . . . so I took a rest day.


              I think those were the two wisest decisions I've made all season.  I saw my options as Drag my ass through a 10mi 'recovery' run, or actually recover.


              Even so, the following AHR + Hills workout on Monday, still 8,000% humidity, I drew the HTFU card.  Clocked in my 7:35 AHR pace for 8mi.  But after 1 hill repeat, I cashed it in.  Wasn't 100% still and didn't want to blow the Wednesday track workout with the Monday hills.


              But the Wednesday track workout was rough.  Didn't feel springy with only 6hrs of sleep immediately following my night recovery run that ended at 9:40pm.  Can't fool 6x1000m like you can 400s.  I did okay.  Negative splits for the most part, considering the spongy soaked off-track loops we did.


              I figured I'd let the Saturday 20miler tell me if I was well in the belly of "over training" or whether I just had a rough few weeks.  If I bombed the 20miler, I'd have to take a step back and re-assess. 

              Well, the 20miler this morning was cooler (68F) with much less humidity.  Still humid, don't get me wrong; this is still Virginia.  But I my pace averaged around 7:40 (minus fountains) instead of the 7:55 of other weeks.  I had trouble pulling off the last 5 at MP (7:20-25, instead).  But for the hilly course that it was, I was very satisfied with how I did.


              So, I'm guardedly optimistic about not being "over-trained".  I've taken it easier on the track workouts, and I let the fast guys pull ahead on the long runs when they dip below 7:30.  Sleep, less-travel and a bit of kind cool whether is all I really need.


              ~70mpw and holding.  Feeling pretty upbeat.

              2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

                What is the purpose of 12 X 75 second 400 repeats for 3 hour marathoners?  Seems way, way too fast - I run my 5K-focused 12X400's at 86 seconds per 400, It's hard for me to see how going 75 seconds is going to help you in a 3 hour marathon.  I still say that these workouts are very high risk (but, I guess high reward as well?) for you.  You seem to be handling it farily well though - keep pluggin and at least keep those recovery runs easy.

                Interval Junkie --Nobby

                  I can't really speak to the intention of the workout, but the direction from the coach was actually 12x400m in 3 sets.  1st: 5K pace, 2nd: Slightly faster, 3rd: Faster.  "Do not blow it out".  90sec jog between intervals, 2:30 jog between sets.  My 5K pace is around 6:09.  So, my prescribed times should have been 1:32, 1:27, 1:22 or something like that, depending on what you interpret "slightly faster" and "faster" to mean. My splits look like this:


                  1st: 1:33, 1:31, 1:27, 1:26

                  2nd: 1:25, 1:25, 1:26, 1:24

                  3rd: 1:22, 1:14, 1:25, 1:19


                  So, the 2nd two intervals of the first set were too fast.  The 2nd set is right on the nose.  The 3rd set is pretty close if you average the "something to prove 1:14" with the pay-for-it 1:25.  But still a bit fast.


                  Maybe the faster 3rd set on Wednesday was a contributing cause for my lethargy  on Saturday.  However, lack of sleep, travel, work stress and terrible weather feel like greater determinants.  I certainly didn't feel like I was "racing" these 400s.  And I didn't even think it was a "very hard" workout.  More fun than anything.


                  As for the purpose of the workout?  I don't know.  This workout was 10weeks out from the goal race.  I guess that's the Strengthening phase, right?  Endurance -> Strengthening -> Sharpening -> Taper.  Isn't that how it goes?

                  2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

                    What is the purpose of 12 X 75 second 400 repeats for 3 hour marathoners?  Seems way, way too fast - I run my 5K-focused 12X400's at 86 seconds per 400, It's hard for me to see how going 75 seconds is going to help you in a 3 hour marathon.  I still say that these workouts are very high risk (but, I guess high reward as well?) for you.  You seem to be handling it farily well though - keep pluggin and at least keep those recovery runs easy.


                    If stadjak's running career were going to end this fall, that workout wouldn't serve much purpose. But the guy is just getting started.

                      I love this thread. Just wish I could find a group like this to train with in my area.



                      Nashville, TN


                      Interval Junkie --Nobby

                        6 Weeks to go.


                        tl;dr: the bacchanlian lifestyle does not suit older runners


                        Over the last two weeks things have not gone well.  I had out-of-town friends over last weekend for a big celebration that included a grand tour of the local vineyards and a lot of rich food and celebratory libations.  They arrived late Friday and we were up until 2am.  Then I tried to sneak in my hard workout at 8am.  It was supposed to be 3 AHR, 3 @ HMP-10mi, 5 @ 10k pace, 2 cool-down.  What happened wasn't even close.  In the 1st mile of the 5@10k I died.  I took a long rest out on the track, watching the Club X-C team start their workout.  I did this for about 20mins, then tried to complete the rest of the 4@10k, but only got one in before I mozied on home.  Fail.  It was either attempt to sneak the workout in, or just bag it all together; there really wouldn't be another window for it.  But it did not work out and I felt exhausted.


                        10.5 Easy on Sunday wasn't easy.  My weight had gone from 169 to 177 over the weekend and I could feel it in my knees.  They we aching as if the lubricant between the cartilage had been replaced by water.  This feeling lasted through Tuesday, even though my weight had gone back down to 171lbs.  The Wednesday interval workout was a hard workout on a good day: 3x800, 3x1000, 3x1200 all at 5k pace.  I felt crappy, but checked in a heroic attempt at a mediocre workout; I'd been couped up for 6hrs in a car for a very stressful business meeting.


                        At this point I was getting very concerned about my potential "over-trained" status.  I was slower.  Legs felt like lead.  Lots of stress at work and at home was contributing.  Squeezing in workouts.  But I was hoping it was just recovery from the celebratory weekend that was undermining my energy levels.  I was beat.  In looking at upcoming races to replace the 10k I missed, I couldn't muster anything but reluctance about performing.  My legs were taught as rocks.  I scheduled a sports massage.


                        I evaluate my "over-training" on Saturday workouts.  Today's schedule looked a bit daunting: 3mi warm-up, 8mi @ MP, 5min Jog, 6x800 @ 10mi-10K pace, 2mi cool-down (17mi total).  I say daunting because my first week with the Sub-3s I ran for 8mi @ MP and died afterward . . . and I was in my "Alberto Salazar delusion" then (I'll hang with them the whole time, no matter what!).


                        But today's workout went VERY well.  I got a good 8hrs of sleep before the workout.  Ate right.  Drank fluids.  Dreamed of being recruited to an adult version of my H.S. track team (no kidding).  And woke relatively rested; I think I was still sleeping the first 3 miles we ran in the dark.  The MP miles were tough on the hills, were I struggled to hit 7:26 and 7:22.  But on the "flatter" rolling hills I started cruising at 7:05 - 7:09 pace.  The 6x800s were all negative splits and felt good.  After the workout I wasn't beat; I was energetic.


                        So, this is what I take from all the above:

                        • I'm too old to party-hard AND do hard workouts.
                        • I can't short-cut my sleep to sneak runs in.  
                        • I need to stay under 173lbs to keep my knees.

                        So, I think I'm still good.  But I'm looking forward to that sports massage.

                        2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

                        Interval Junkie --Nobby

                          4 Weeks go go.


                          tldr: Encouraging proof of improvement this week.  How do I know conclusively if I'm over-trained compared to had a bad day (or two)?


                          During week 6 our long run was a Time On Feet workout  (TOF).  This looked really easy on paper.  Take your expected marathon completion time and divide it over 22miles.  Then run at the resulting pace.  So, 8:40 pace for me.  Doing this run at more than a minute faster that MP looked like a stroll.  Especially since I've been around 70mpw in singles for 6 days per week.  However, it wasn't a stroll at all.


                          The Sub-3s decided to pick this rather hilly terrain for the run because it was close and had some good gravel roads.  At 6am, pitch black, we headed out in a group with one guy waving around a flashlight.  When the guys got under 8min pace I let them go and plugged along at my 8:30.  Running alone, I took a wrong turn for a 3mile detour . . . "Gee, this really doesn't look familiar."  That meant that instead of returning to the water-stop at mile 10, I didn't get there until mile 16.  Just water.  No gu or gatorade -- and this might be the problem: around mile 18 I started really slowing down.  The pace got harder to keep.  I was surprised to find myself hitting a wall of sorts.  My mind got gloomy.   However, around mile 20 a couple was running in the other direction at my pace so I joined them and my spirits instantly picked up.  Miles 20, 21 and 22 all glided by.


                          8:41 pace average for the run.  As planned.  Unfortunately, my pint of Enduromax couldn't keep me from being pooped most of the day.  Hit 80mpw that week (PR).  Glad the following week was a recovery week (though I shorted it to 50 because of other commitments).


                          At the Wednesday track workout Coach planned for us to do 8,000 maniacs.  Eight 1k intervals at 5K pace with decreasing recovery time.  2:30 to 1minute.  Now this, on paper, looked daunting.  But I negged the whole workout, which was on some crappy pavement I used for intervals last winter, rather than the university track.


                          Thursday I had the crappiest "easy" run I've had in a while.  9:30 pace for 5 miles and I had to work for every one.  Not good.


                          Saturday looked to be relatively easy: 10mi @ MP.  But it was my turn to help set up the course so I woke at 3:30am to buy ice and fill coolers.  I helped an old guy mark the course, but I can say we did a good job: mile 4 was 200m short because of water placement.  At 6:30 the 7.5mi course was marked and water stations set.  We listened to Coach and then set off to run.  Lots of hills!  The gravel road was making my ankles and Achilles sore.  After the 2mi warmup, and 2 mi @ MP I started to think a 7:10pace was not going to be possible for 26.2 miles.  I was working and I shouldn't be.  Sure there were hills, but nothing serious.  7:21 pace and I was straining to pick it up.  


                          At this point, with the bad Thursday workout, I was about to concede that I'd over-trained and was now about to suffer what everyone anticipated.  I started thinking about my 3:10 goal, and how maybe 3:20 isn't that bad: still a 12min PR.  I didn't see how it was possible to keep a 7:10 pace for more than a half-marathon.  


                          Then, for whatever reason, I started going faster . . . and it was easier.  With 4miles to go I just kept picking up steam  . . . on hills!  I felt really good.  Cruising.  Wish I had my HRM on, because I'm pretty sure the effort was objectively easy for me for some reason.  This gave me a really good point of comparison for my time with the Sub-3s.  My first run with them, three months ago, was on similar terrain at a similar pace.  But then after the 8th mile of ~7:20avg pace, I completely died (as in walked).  Of course, that was at 74F.  But I'll still take it as good improvement.


                          I've been pretty conservative lately in my runs because of a few scares.  I haven't tried to keep with the sub-3s in the last 4 weeks.  Instead, I've tried to run my paces.  I'm doing more miles than many of these guys.  They are around 50mi to 60mi.  I'm in the 70s with a peak at 80mpw of singles.  Of course, Ben, a former college runner with an incredibly smooth glide, hit 99.5 last week.  Wow, that guy makes it look easy.


                          Since my main fear is over-training, I've been wondering how easy it is to decisively detect before race-day.  Should all my runs become harder/slower.  Or am I likely to have "good and bad days" but the trend will be more bad than good?  I probably should have kept track of my resting heart rate.

                          2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

                          Best Present Ever

                            1. don't you just have one more week of hard training, then a taper? 

                            2. looking at your 6-week update, haven't you in fact been recruited to the adult equivalent of your high school track team?  the secret sub-3 inner circle of the inner circle of local marathon training? : ) 

                            3.  Did you get lost in Free Union on the Buck Mountain course?  last time a group got lost there, they ended up running over Fox Mountain in the fog.  Legendary local story.  

                            Interval Junkie --Nobby

                              Two more weeks of training.  I guess Coach is keeping us to a 2-week taper.  I'll have to re-look at my training plan to make sure I have that right.


                              It's really too bad these guys don't compete as a team for anything.  They're a swell bunch of guys [yep, I just said 'swell'].  Very encouraging and supportive.  About the only thing that's missing from the HS Track team atmosphere is the internal competition: I think our skill levels are such a wide spread, and the marathon training so tight and structured, that it doesn't allow us to compete.  Though, I'd really like to set up a round of 400m intervals where we the number of 400s you do at the group's fastest 5k depends on how close your 5k pace is.  I probably still couldn't keep up with Barry -- he's a gazelle.


                               If anything I've learned recently how beneficial running with a group can be about keeping your pace and keeping your spirits up.  The TOF run I ran solo and I suffered until I found a group to run with and then it was all smooth.  This is odd for me, because I'm a big introvert.


                              Not sure it was the Buck Mountain course.  I would have been completely screwed if I ended up on the other side of Fox mountain.  Sounds like it makes a great story, though.

                              2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

                              Interval Junkie --Nobby

                                2.5 weeks to go.


                                Training has been really good these last few weeks.  I'm getting more sleep.  Able to run at night (which leads to a more natural sleep-pattern for me).  And my runs feel stronger than just a few weeks ago.  The 42F weather helps -- go figure.


                                So, Saturday Coach scheduled for us a 20mi tempo run.  Or at least that's what I'm calling it.  3mi AHR, 3mi slower than MP, 3x3mi @ MP, 3mi @ HMP, 1mi cool-down.  2min jog between 3mi intervals.  I rocked it.  My MP goal is 7:15, but I felt like working a bit more so most of those miles are around 7:08.  My garmin died right as I started the HMP, so I ran the 3mi at "5K effort".  That is, I was huffing and puffing like a 5K race, but hoping it was translating to 6:59 pace or so.  I was pushing gel for the first time in this training.  One at 6mi, the other at 12.  Everything worked out great until I tried to jog home.  Then I realized I was completely pooped.  Tried to grab a cab, but he wouldn't take me: "Too sweaty."


                                The highlight of the whole program was this morning.  10x800m (5sets, 800m jog between sets, 400m jog between intervals).  All at 5K pace (6:10).  Looked at bit daunting on paper.  I was given the option of only doing 8, but . . . well, screw that.  I started a bit stiff (I run 10mi around 9pm the night before these workouts that start at 5:30am, so I'm often stiff), but still hit a 3:05 split.  Right on target.  After that it was negative splitting each interval and feeling strong.  I'd caught up to the guys who run ahead of me (2:59 marathoners).  But on the 9th interval I was possessed to chase the leaders (sub-2:40 marathoners, I think).  It wasn't show-boating (everyone knows I'm the slowest of the group), or trying to prove myself (laughable idea at this point).  I just wanted to have a bit of fun -- marathon training is such a conservative drag, sometimes.


                                I didn't decide to chase them until 100m into the interval.  I was out in front of the 2:59ers already, and I just started getting closer to the leaders.  Barry is this gazelle of a runner: tall, lean, 0% bodyfat, side-to-side shoulder motion of a Kenyan, looks like a young Bill Rogers.  Jim is the other guy.  He's 45, I think, and a powerful man.  Not sure what his marathon PR is, but he ran 3-hrs flat at Boston this year.  They were running shoulder to shoulder ahead of me, and I tucked in behind.  When I rounded the first 400m, I heard Coach say, "is that [Stadjak]?!"  I muttered to the guys, "Coach is going to give me hell for this." 


                                In the first 600m the pace felt very good, even a bit slow for a few seconds at a time.  At about the 600m mark my quads started lighting up little flames between the muscles.  My breathing was now near race-pace.  I had to buckle down on my form to keep it together.  I stuck close to those guys until the last 100m, where I let a 3meter gap blossom between us.  I'd really have to lay it all out keep up, and I didn't want to go nuts.  2:33 split.


                                I walked over to Coach who was already shaking his head winding up to dress me down.  But then this smile crept into his scowl and he let me go.  Of course, I knew I had to put in a solid 10th interval, otherwise he would chew me out.  As is tradition, he shouted to us, not to blow out the last one.  I checked in a 2:51.


                                I only had 5hrs of sleep to run on, but I ate a plate full of beets last night.


                                Smart?  No, probably not.  But damn fun.  Now, let the taper begin.


                                MTA: corrected Jim's age.  Jim is a beast!

                                2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals