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Pace Plateaus (Read 792 times)


Finished!

    So...I imagine Pace improvement is like weightloss and plateaus are normal - what I can't figure out is what causes one to get back off the plateau and to continue to improve. It seems before my 5k I was running consistantly running at a 11:30-12:00 pace. After the race, I had a couple runs at that same pace, and then my last 2 runs were sub 11:30. I have no idea what might be different. but whatever it is, I want more of it Wink
    Walk + Jog = wog.
    I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
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      i dont wanna say im a professional, but i know some stuff but during a season of cross country lets say, towards the end our coach will lower the mileage a lot so we peak (or plateau as you called it), and then once the season ends, we take a couple weeks off, then we push the mileage again, and do the same thing at the end of the season so what id recommend doing, hang off the races for a week or 2 and dont do much running, then push the mileage for the next couple weeks and do a couple races, and hpoefully your race pace will improve good luck -Holland
      "Our workouts are longer than our shorts" SHS XC 2008
        I hope this thread draws some of our "elites," or at least some people with several years of race experience. This is a very good question. I hope to hear: 1) What causes that plateau effect; and more importantly 2) How to get to the next level as efficiently as possible.
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
        -----------------------------

          I hope this thread draws some of our "elites," or at least some people with several years of race experience.
          I can only speak to the second half of that request, but the first post is correct in how it's done - particularly in high school/college environments where people are running every day... The seasons run around three-four months... First third, there is a strong focus on base mileage, either at tempo pace or easy pace... second third, strength is built via longer intervals (hills, 1/2 mile intervals), and in the third third of the season, mileage drops off in favor of shorter intervals... results in a plateau which usually corresponds to an important all-league or all district meet... (followed by about a month of very light workouts)... You could simulate the same thing, simply by choosing a target race and working backwards for about three to four months to plan your schedule. Right now, I'm racing about once per month, but I also have some target races that I'd really like to do well in, and I base my training on those particular races.

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

            Well I'm nobody's idea of elite but I've got quite a few years of racing under my belt. I think the plateus are more imaginary than real. Or to look at it another way, if you keep training at a high enough level you are constantly improving but you just don't see the improvement until something like a breakout race causes you to *think* of yourself as faster. So day to day you get in a pattern of running X pace for your "easy" pace. Even though you are getting fitter week by week, you keep running that pace because it is comfortable and you are used to it. Nothing wrong with that. Then something happens that causes you to run faster and your realize you can and you think you've made a big jump but really you've been making steady progress all along and you just cashed it in all at once. Also when you are starting out there is a lot of low-hanging fruit so you feel like you are making faster progress--and then after a while it gets harder and harder to keep improving without making major steps up in mileage becuase you are that much closer to your genetic potential. So this further amplifies the percieved Plateau Effect. As for how to get to the next level as efficiently as possible, that's the million dollar question, right? THat's why we all spend x minutes a day on ths board discussing training and reading other sites and reading books by Pfitzinger and Daniels etc. I think one key to seeing the improvement is to not race too much, or to at least have periods during the year when you are not racing much and are just focussed on running base mileage. Not only do you need a rest from hard training and racing but this allows you to see the improvement more clearly and to stay motivated, especially as the incremental improvements get smaller and smaller.

            Runners run.

            va


              From an article I just read: "Running faster can be as simple as the 1-1-1 plan put forth by Dick Buerkle. This two-time Olympian and former world-indoor-record holder in the mile scaled down his speed training into a simple workout: One mile, one day a week, one minute faster than normal pace. For instance, a runner stuck at 8:30 per mile would warm up, then run the mile on a track or other flat, measured course in about 7:30. Speeding up once a week this way can lead to improvements of 10 or 20 seconds a mile, and even more, in races. If you have trouble speeding up, consider this addition to your plan. The payoff for this one mile a week can be a one-minute improvement, or more, per 10K." - Training by the Numbers From Best Runs by Joe Henderson This sounds like something simple to try.
                Plateaus are indeed something that crops up pretty frequently for people. There are a couple different types that are common. As alluded to above, there's the kind where it's imposed by the training plan. I'm not really sure tapering is the right way to describe it, but there comes a point in a season where you do want to focus on what you can do as opposed to what you might be able to do. My quick guess is that you've got another type going on. When you make the transition to running a lot more, you get better, but it's real common to improve a lot and then top out. I remember dropping like 15 minutes from my race time over the course of a couple months, and then fighting to knock off tens of seconds, not tens of minutes. I think there are two things that are sort of like solutions that I've heard that try address this. The first is to keep on logging the miles (or time if you're into that instead). For most of us, the more we run, the better we'll get in the big picture. The second thing is a nice idea from a real elite runner that I've heard. To improve his pace he said basically he needed to stop training like the runner he was, and start training like the runner he wanted to be. E.g., stop training like a 30 minute 5k runner and start training like a 27 minute 5k runner (for him it was marathons and more like a difference of 20 seconds..but whatever). As someone else has said, it's real easy to fall into a pattern in your training, and to accept a certain pace as your default easy pace, or default tempo pace, etc. But hey! The only way to run faster is to actually Run Faster, so bump up those paces, log in the miles at the faster paces and improvement should follow...probably not at as quick a pace as you may have been used to, but there's not much of a way around that. Oh, and speed work is your friend. Even if you want to die after you do it. Only way to run faster is to actually run faster.


                ~J


                Finished!

                  Thanks for the good advice Smile I havent started with the speedwork as I'm still working base mileage. But I'll be keeping all the advice in mind as I continue on with my training Smile I think I do push myself on my training runs - I definitely keep running fast enough to have it be challenging to carry on a conversation - I suspect as I get more fit, that is where the pace improvements are coming from, but I still don't know what stuck me on that 11:30-12:00 plateau the first time.
                  Walk + Jog = wog.
                  I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
                  I support Heifer International - join me by donating via my registry