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Does training "wrong and rough" toughen us more than training "right"? ... Better for races? ... "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger"? (Read 239 times)

Notne


    Hi - I have been wondering about training techniques. By way of background, I'm not a new runner, though up until about 10 months ago I had taken 10 years off from running (pretty much stopped after my only marathon, decent time for a guy my age, almost 50 years old then, but it took so much out of me that I "took a break" ... of 10 years!). I've been running since about February or March of 2018, and paying an infinite amount of more attention to the science of running than I ever did before (maybe we weren't as smart back then?).

     

    What I was wondering about had to do with all the recommendations for training for a race. Most or all of what I've read seems to suggest it is wrong to:

    ... a) start out too fast on a medium- or long-distance training run because you're not warmed up yet, and running fast when you're not warmed up results in a big-time slow down at the end that more than cancels out the speedy times at the beginning ... so "go out a little easier and you'll be surprised that you'll run faster in the end".

    ... b) not feed your body on long runs over an hour, most of what I read says runs over an hour need glucose during the run, and maybe even should feed up before the run.

     

    So to make it clear, I'm not saying any of the bad effects of ignoring the above pieces of advice won't happen, as a matter of fact from personal experience I'm pretty sure they do. But what I'm wondering ... won't running through the pain and very suboptimal physiologic training conditions teach the body (and mind) how to run when conditions really suck, and thus with this additional stress we'll get more benefit per training mile than training "correctly"? And in races, when everything sucks, and you're in pain, we can reach back to our training experiences and be that much more tough mentally (and our bodies will say, "Bring it! ... I've been here before!")?

     

    So why not train "wrong", with regard to the pieces of running advice in a) and b) above (and however other many similar recommendations there are)?

     

    Of course we don't want to race under those conditions, so there'd be a transition to "training right" starting some weeks before race day. But doesn't the "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger" point of view apply here?

     

    Thanks for humoring me on these probably dumb questions ... just wondering! (I've actually been doing the self-flagellation "wrong" training the past few weeks, like almost sprinting out the door on my tempo runs without running slower at the start (I do stretch inside first), not feeling happy unless all my runs end in my feeling like I'm about to die (except for the alternate day "slow runs" which are about 90 sec/mile slower than my 10K time and not painful in the least), not eating any gels on my 1-1/2 hr Saturday runs, etc. - still alive to tell the tale, but if there is definite evidence that all this is dumb to do, I will happily change!).

    berylrunner


    Rick

      I am all for experimental training but your running every run like you are going to die sounds reckless.  Also, no warmup?  Risky.  No fuel, fine.  I have experimented with that but have noticed recovery is tougher as I age if i get depleated.

       

      Wondering what your goal is and why the urgency?

       

      09-06-19   Last One Standing

       

      10-05-19   St. George Marathon

      tom1961


      Old , Ugly and slow

        i have never ate anything before or during a run.

         

        all my runs are over an hour and have done lot's of runs of 2 hours or longer with out eating.

        first race sept 1977 last race sept 2007

         

        2019  goals   1000  miles  , 190 pounds , deadlift 400 touch my toes

        Notne


          I am all for experimental training but your running every run like you are going to die sounds reckless.  Also, no warmup?  Risky.  No fuel, fine.  I have experimented with that but have noticed recovery is tougher as I age if i get depleated.

           

          Wondering what your goal is and why the urgency?

           

          Thanks, berylrunner, for your reply!

           

          It's all my run that are all out ... it is pretty much every 2nd run, with a very non-stressed slow run day between. Actually, since I'm doing hill sprints on one day, and a very very slow and long (for me) run on another, there are only 2-3 of these crazy run days weekly.

           

          I don't think I'm doing it with a sense of urgency (though I am thinking of maybe entering my first race of the past 10 years in a few months), but maybe more with the thoughts in mind that a) if I'm going to be spending time working out on a non-slow, non-hill, non-long run day, then working out as hard as humanly possible (for me) in the time I've allotted for the workout should be my goal, and b) If I make my training really painful and physiologically stressful (positive splits, no fuel), then it will make me stronger on race day. I understand that even if I were to train like this, there would be a "transition" to normal training for some period of time just before the race so that the body isn't punished then.

           

          Is this just flat out plain wrong to do? I ask because the idea of  "more pain in training makes for a better race day"  doesn't seem all that crazy to me, as long as it's within reason (such as not getting injured, letting the muscles recover on off days, etc.).

           

          (You're right about the warm up of course ... I should allocate 5 or 10 minutes of running warm up before I "start the clock". I'm going to start doing that more, clearly that is better for injury prevention, thanks for reminding about the obvious.

           

          That is great to know about the lack of fuel making recovery harder, though sorry you had to find out like that. I'll have to think about that some more.)

          berylrunner


          Rick

            Hopefully you will get more responses.  I am not qualified to answer as I do not run to the levels of discomfort you are describing.   I like the big mileage, mostly easy, approach.

             

            09-06-19   Last One Standing

             

            10-05-19   St. George Marathon


            Interval Junkie --Nobby

              Let's see.

               

              For A) I cannot see the benefit to not warming up your muscles.  There isn't an adaptation that is beneficial for racing, since either 1) you are doing a marathon, and the first couple miles serve as your warm-up, but are not much slower than the rest of the pace.  2) for shorter races you always warm-up before the race with super easy miles and strides.  Doing this in 10mins rather than 20mins doesn't benefit you much since these are not exertions that would impact the race.   However, I can see an argument for injury in training if you push your muscles without warming up.  So, the risk doesn't seem to be worth any reward.

               

              However, if you modify A to be "front-load the burden of a training run", wherein after the warmup period you do a couple miles at tempo-pace, which will make the remaining miles much tougher, I could see this being a benefit.  Some also call this a type of Fartlek.  What you do on your "hard" days can do with experimentation, since hard is the point.  Just don't do this on your 'easy' runs.  Also, you should also weigh the impact of doing this.  If you are doing a 2mil-warmup, 3mile tempo, 10mil moderate instead of a 2+15mod, then sure.  If what really happens is 2,3temp,5mod, 5-slow, then you are probably not getting the same workout: you may be training a 'mental' exercise for what would have been more sustained training of your long-distance muscles.

               

              For B), I've never glucosed during a training run (marathon) except to learn how to do gels and make sure my stomach was fine with it.  There are competing theories of successful runners, that I know.  One guy, who won the Richmond marathon (masters division: age 49), gels on training runs.  His theory is that he can push himself harder during training runs this way.  So, while my body was learning to do without and keep going, his body was learning how to keep pushing his upper-limit all the time.  I don't think there's a clear winner; well, except that he was clearly faster than me.

               

              Hope this helps.

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

              Tchuck


                The best advice I can give is "smarter training" is always better than foolish, crazy hard training and always yields better long term results and is likely to keep you healthy. Leave your races on race day and not in your training. All out training regularly especially without a high mile base catches up to you and will get you hurt as your lack of recovery catches up to you. You are not 20 years old. Your ability to recover is where you get fitter, faster and stronger. There is a place for working hard in training runs but be structured and be smart and do your research.

                H-WAVE - Helping Athletes Reduce Pain and Recover Faster

                Christirei


                  I don't use gels on long runs either...I don't think that's a big deal. Theres a lot of "science" and "running wizardy" out there about how you have to do this workout or run this way in order to be a "good" runner. Running is personal. There is going to be a lot out there that applies to you and a lot that doesn't. I prefer to run workouts one way and someone else likes a different structure. I don't think you have to get caught up in what the newest press release is saying. Find what works for you and your body and stick with it.

                   

                  HOWEVER

                   

                  to your point A .  You said you stopped running ten years ago when you were 50 years old? did I read that right? and now at 60 years old you step out of your house at tempo pace and just keep going? I'm all for training hard to teaching your body and mind to fight through tough workouts. I'm also all for warming up and cooling down....cause if you don't you will end up injured. end of story. maybe not right away. but eventually....something is going to happen to you and you are going to be a hurt runner.

                   

                  just my two cents

                    Dumber does not equal tougher. Mental and physical toughness is built through smart, consistent and sometimes hard training.

                     

                    Regarding the premises of your questions:

                     

                    a.) Doing a good warm-up is a good idea for a lot of reasons (injury prevention is one that others mentioned) but that's not the same thing as the (sound) advice not to go out too fast. When you go out too fast on a tempo run, or any kind of workout, you can spend less time in the effort zone you're aiming for so you'll get less of a training stimulus and a less effective workout.

                     

                    b.) You only need to fuel during training runs if it's necessary to complete the workout and get the intended training effect. You probably don't need to fuel on runs of under 2 hours unless you're starting the run in an already depleted state, or you're doing a very intense workout. That said, fueling near the end of a long run can potentially speed recovery (but personally, from a recovery standpoint I don't find much difference in fueling immediately after versus in the late stages of a long run, so generally I don't bother carrying fuel on runs unless it's going to be something unusual.)

                     

                    So to sum up, if your intention is to become a better runner and/or improve your race times, then train smarter. If your goal is something else, like seeking pleasure from self-flagellation, then by all means have at it--we're not here to judge.

                    Runners run.

                      If its mental training you're after, I'd think strong effort (faster or longish runs) on back to back days on fatigued legs should be a better stimulus than learning to hold on for dear life after starting out too fast, and likely fading all through the run.

                        I started running consistently again at about age 46-47. Off and on for the previous 20 years. Ran national class times in my 20's. Turning 56 soon. Of the last 10 years, probably 2-2.5 years of cumulative months I have NOT run because of injury.

                         

                        Some of the differences I've noticed as an elder runner:

                        I need more recovery time; two hard days a week is PLENTY. The easy/hard pattern gets the "easy" part extended to 2-3 days instead of one.

                        Cross training makes a difference. Core and strength training of high rep/low weight.

                        Too many days off from running makes me rusty. Even just a mile or two jog every day makes it much more comfortable to go on a "real" run after a week, as if you didn't take any time off at all. If I take too many days off and then go for a run, my achilles flares up, my knees get sore, and other irritations.

                        It takes longer to recover from injuries, and you cannot "run through" an injury very easily.

                         

                        Stuff I've read and believe:

                        Stretching is over-rated and often done incorrectly or in a counter-productive way. I have exactly the same flexibility now as I did when I could run 1:50 800's and 8:45 steeples: I can barely touch my toes with my fingertips.

                        Diet is important. But there is no "best" diet, it's subjective and individualized.

                        Icing may not be the panacea that it's presented as. Recent studies have shown that there aren't any significant healing differences between icing and and leaving an injury alone, other than reducing pain. Or ice baths promoting recovery. The argument is that some inflammation is GOOD for you, because that's part of the healing and recovery process. But the placebo effect is strong, resulting in countless anecdotes.

                         

                        Stuff I laugh at:

                        People should imitate ostriches in order to run faster with less effort. I don't know about you, but my legs don't bend that way.

                        Running faster times is the ability to withstand more pain than other people. If that was the case, all someone needs to do is take some heroin and they'd win the Boston marathon, no need to do any tedious training.

                         

                         

                        My perspective on OP's questions:

                        Race fueling gives you an edge; IF the race or run is longer than 90 minutes (distance doesn't matter). It's not REQUIRED, you can easily run for hours without taking in calories, but you'll run slower toward the end. You run out of easily available glucose in 60-90 minutes. You can digest about 200 calories an hour while running, but you burn 1000 an hour. You eventually get to the point where your body has to work harder to get calories to fuel your performance, but you can delay that point by eating while running. Some people have worked on training their bodies to burn fat more efficiently so they can go harder longer.

                        (individual results may vary, and most fuelling issues are only applicable to people racing longer than 3 hours, for marathons and ultramarathons)

                         

                        Warming up is important if you want to do hard effort right from the gun. There is probably a measurable level of muscle blood engorgement and flow that is "optimum" but I don't know what it is. Race paces are also subjective, and a recent study looking at positive and negative splits for elite marathoners at half and finish times show there is no "best" way to pace, but more elites tend to run negative splits (second half faster than first). Mid-pack runners are all over the place, and back of the pack runners run predominantly positive splits (but many are doing their first attempt at a distance this far, so...). That's for a marathon, and only looks at half split. More interesting would be individual mile splits on a graph with the overall average pace as a centerline, and relative increases or decreases shown as the graph line. A study published in the Journal of Soviet Sports Review in the 1980's found that most 800 runners of mid to upper levels in USSR when achieving their PR did the first lap 2 seconds faster than the second.

                        55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

                        JMac11


                        Benevolent Leader

                           

                          Stuff I laugh at:

                          People should imitate ostriches in order to run faster with less effort. I don't know about you, but my legs don't bend that way.

                           

                           

                          What happened to that guy?

                          5K: 16:51 (8/19)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:16:21 (3/19)  |  FM: 2:44:43 (4/19) 

                           

                          Next Race: Suffolk County Half Marathon (10/27/19)

                             

                            What happened to that guy?

                             

                            Please, please, please don't conjure him.

                            Runners run.


                            Elite Jogger

                              Dumber does not equal tougher. Mental and physical toughness is built through smart, consistent and sometimes hard training.

                               

                              Regarding the premises of your questions:

                               

                              a.) Doing a good warm-up is a good idea for a lot of reasons (injury prevention is one that others mentioned) but that's not the same thing as the (sound) advice not to go out too fast. When you go out too fast on a tempo run, or any kind of workout, you can spend less time in the effort zone you're aiming for so you'll get less of a training stimulus and a less effective workout.

                               

                              b.) You only need to fuel during training runs if it's necessary to complete the workout and get the intended training effect. You probably don't need to fuel on runs of under 2 hours unless you're starting the run in an already depleted state, or you're doing a very intense workout. That said, fueling near the end of a long run can potentially speed recovery (but personally, from a recovery standpoint I don't find much difference in fueling immediately after versus in the late stages of a long run, so generally I don't bother carrying fuel on runs unless it's going to be something unusual.)

                               

                              So to sum up, if your intention is to become a better runner and/or improve your race times, then train smarter. If your goal is something else, like seeking pleasure from self-flagellation, then by all means have at it--we're not here to judge.

                               

                              OP - Read this post and learn. 👍

                              5k - 17:53 (2019)   10k - 37:53 (2018)   Half - 1:23:18 (2019)   Full - 2:50:43 (2019)

                              paul2432


                                The best way to develop mental toughness is to race often.  Some authors call these "tune-up" races leading up to a goal race.

                                 

                                Next best is some hard workouts, however there is no reason not to warm up.

                                 

                                Not warming won't likely help with the mental toughness, it will only compromise the quality of the workout, and possibly leave you injured.

                                 

                                In general you'll get more out of race or workout* if you start slightly slower than goal pace, work to goal pace, and then finish slightly faster.  For example, if I was going to do 6x800 (400 jogs) at 5K pace I might do the first 800 slightly slower and the last slightly faster than 5K pace.  If you are doing them right you will not want to do the last two starting around the 3rd or 4th (pushing through develops the mental toughness).

                                 

                                *By workout I mean a something with faster running (say intervals or a tempo run).  Not just an easy run.

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