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10k training with Running Wizard--some questions (Read 204 times)

Sue in PA


    I have a couple of questions, but first, a little background on me.  I started running last summer with C25k after a 23-year break--have gained weight over the years, managed to lose some, but still have about 15 pounds to go.  I ran three 5k races toward the end of last year and had to take a break because of pretty bad shin splints.  I mostly lazed around all winter Blush.   I had a surgical procedure on my hand in early May (joint replacement in my thumb), so I decided to begin with walking, starting a week after the surgery.  In a couple of weeks, I managed to get up to walking anywhere from 3 to 7 miles per day.  Two weeks ago, I started incorporating some running into my walks every other day.

     

    I found a 10k race that I want to run in mid-October, so I figured it was time to get with a more formal training program so I could prepare without injuring myself again.  I looked at a few, including Jeff Galloway's program and in the process found Running Wizard, which looked like the plan for me.  I signed up for a 17-week 10k program.

     

    The program has me starting out very conservatively, which is good.  When I registered for the program, I put myself in as not currently working out (I think it said something like running 4 times a week for the last month would be working out regularly), so my initial weekly mileage is less than 4 miles total, with 3 of the 4 workouts at a very slow pace (my fastest mile was just under 10 minutes last October, but I'm closer to 11:30 now and the program has me running 14- to 16-minute miles--feels weird to run so slow, but I'm doing it).

     

    Overall, I'm trusting the program, slow pace and low mileage and all.  My only concern is that my longest run in the program is 4.5 miles, scheduled for 5, 4, and 3 weeks out from the race.  Is that really sufficient for me to comfortably run 6.2 miles on race day, or should I get closer to 6 miles for my longest run?

     

    My second question has to do with my walking.  I'm really, really enjoying my long walks and over the last month, have only taken 4 days completely off with no physical activity other than light stretching.  I'm discovering new neighborhoods in my town and look forward to my walks, even on the days when I also run.  My walking pace is in the 17- to 18-minute mile range, but most of my town (including the neighborhoods I'm discovering) is rolling to hilly.  I'm finding it easier and easier to walk up the longer or steeper hills without being out of breath, so I think the walking is helping and hope it makes it a little easier to do hilly runs.    I've been wearing a HRM and keep my hear rate at or below the low end of my aerobic range.

     

    Is it okay to keep up with the walking miles in addition to the Running Wizard program, or am I doing too much?  Conversely, would it do any harm to keep my walking heart rate within the low end of my aerobic range, or should I keep it below?  I'm out of work until early August and the long walks are keeping me sane Wink.

     

    Thanks in advance for any insight and advice.

    MTA:  Sorry for the lengthy post!!


    day after day sameness

      Trust the Running Wizard program to get you to the 10K ready for the race. Follow it and let the RW folks (Nobby) guide you to success.

       

      For goodness sakes, yes...yes, keep the walks -- they are building your aerobic base and making you feel good. The walks are endurance runs in disguise. Gosh yes.

      I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...

        Trust the Running Wizard program to get you to the 10K ready for the race. Follow it and let the RW folks (Nobby) guide you to success.

         

        For goodness sakes, yes...yes, keep the walks -- they are building your aerobic base and making you feel good. The walks are endurance runs in disguise. Gosh yes.

         

        +1 to all of this. Also: did you know there's a Running Wizard user group? Come hang out with us! A couple of people are building up their mileage in a way that sounds very similar to what your plan has you doing.

        Sue in PA


          Thanks to both!  I appreciate your advice, and I'll check out the Running Wizard group for sure.

          Supersono99


            I didn't have a truly accurate race time to enter when choosing my RW plan and as a result, my plan gave me paces that I believe were too slow. I just read the description of the run several times including mistakes to avoid and run the workout by RPE. I also ran some by HRM but foud I was staring at my watch to see my HR too often and I have started to get better at paying attention to how I feel. If you really thnk your paces are too slow so that it feels awkward, try running by RPE. And do come over to the RW group. I have one more week in my 18 week plan and I have really enjoyed the plan. In September I plan to buy the half marathon plan.

              Umm... pardon the brief interruption.  But as I've seen these threads pop up from time to time, I've wondered but not had the guts to ask, what the heck is a running wizard?  (and should I get one of my own!?)  (sincere question, by the way)  (well, perhaps not the parenthetical one).

              - Joe

              all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                First thing first; Running Wizard is based on Lydiard training.  There are things that seem almost contradictory to some people.  For example we have a long run for 5k training plan that goes as long as 2-hours.  Yet, depending on the background and current fitness of the runner, the long run for a marathon plan may actually go as low as 14 or 13 miles.  There's a physiological reason why a 2-hour long run can be beneficial to someone training for a 5k.  And, even for someone training for a full marathon, we believe a long run over 3-hours can be detrimental because of the muscular trauma.  Secondly, if someone is quite new to the activity and he/she may only be able to run, say, 20-minutes continuously; while it would be so easy for anybody to say; "Okay, if you want to run a 10k, get your long run up to 25k (or 12 miles)..."  How much time do you have?  And do you think it would be reasonable to get you up from, say, 2-miles being the long run up to 12 in, say, 12 weeks?  You may.  But I guess we went quite a bit more conservatively.  Our number one goal is actually to get you to the start line healthy.  Would 4.5 mile enough to complete 6.2 mile?  Well, there's no research on this and it's kind of more or less our guestimate...or based on experience and statistics; we figured, if you could run the half the distance of the actual race that you are training for, then you can FINISH it.  So 13-mile for a full marathon; 6.5 for a half marathon and 5k for 10k race.  Sounds believable, doesn't it? ;o)

                 

                When we put together this program, naturally, we had to use some sort of formula.  Based on good sound experience and statistics; but still a set formula.  A formula can't read into some variables and, if you fail to plug in correct information, it might shoot out something that may not be best suited for.  It is particularly tricky dealing with relative beginner because their race effort can be quite close to their training effort.  It may be because they always try to race their training; or it could be because they cannot push themselves to a different level in a race.  It still require best possible assessment.  For example, I'm not sure what you meant by: "my fastest mile was just under 10 minutes last October, but I'm closer to 11:30 now..."  Did you actually time yourself to get that "just under 10-minutes" or "closer to 11:30" or did you just take a wild guess?  We have VO2Max Interview but, even then, it's probably still as accurate as can be (though this formula is supposed to be as good, if not better, than the one they use at NASA) but, if you are comfortably able to run a mile as a time-test, I strongly suggest you do so.  The way to do this is to try to get as evenly as possible.  In other words, ideally, you time yourself each lap (assuming you do this on a track) and, if the third lap is going quite a bit slower than the first two, stop.  This means you're pushing yourself too hard and the very thing you shouldn't do when starting out is to push yourself unreasonably trying to get a higher score.  That's why we provided a VO2Max Interview; but, again, if you feel comfortable timing yourself over a mile, by all mean, do so.  

                 

                There's nothing wrong with "running" almost as "slow" as someone's walking pace.  The current Asian marathon record holder, Toshi Takaoka, with 2:06:16, trains at 8-minute-mile pace (granted, he runs 150 miles a week...).  I know of a 2:26 marathon runner (female) who used to do LSD to an extreme and trained at 9-10 minute pace.  She one time told me that some old lady passed her on the run, laughing!  

                 

                You are actually in a good starting point because you had been walking a lot.  It's still "time on your feet".  However, in reality, running and walking are two completely different activities.  Walking is nothing to be compared with running.  In running, you are projecting your entire body weight into the air completely against gravity.  In walking, your body weight is always being "supported".  It's better than nothing; but just be careful--walking tends to stiffen your leg muscles.  Check your HR; your HR in walking is nowhere near your HR in running; hence the amount of blood flow to your working muscles in walking is considerably less than that in running.  It may be just fine AFTER your important workout--maybe a long run and/or strides or something like that; but I would not do too much walking BEFORE those workout; it would stiffen your legs too much.  

                 

                Please note, also, for both DURATION/DISTANCE as well as PACE have the range; so don't think you always have to hit the middle range.  If your longest run comes out as 4.5 miles, you should have 5+ miles as the longest suggested distance.  Likewise, if the suggested pace comes out as, say, 14-minute pace, the fastest suggested pace should be somewhere around 13:15???  So use the range accordingly.

                 

                I have a couple of questions, but first, a little background on me.  I started running last summer with C25k after a 23-year break--have gained weight over the years, managed to lose some, but still have about 15 pounds to go.  I ran three 5k races toward the end of last year and had to take a break because of pretty bad shin splints.  I mostly lazed around all winter Blush.   I had a surgical procedure on my hand in early May (joint replacement in my thumb), so I decided to begin with walking, starting a week after the surgery.  In a couple of weeks, I managed to get up to walking anywhere from 3 to 7 miles per day.  Two weeks ago, I started incorporating some running into my walks every other day.

                 

                I found a 10k race that I want to run in mid-October, so I figured it was time to get with a more formal training program so I could prepare without injuring myself again.  I looked at a few, including Jeff Galloway's program and in the process found Running Wizard, which looked like the plan for me.  I signed up for a 17-week 10k program.

                 

                The program has me starting out very conservatively, which is good.  When I registered for the program, I put myself in as not currently working out (I think it said something like running 4 times a week for the last month would be working out regularly), so my initial weekly mileage is less than 4 miles total, with 3 of the 4 workouts at a very slow pace (my fastest mile was just under 10 minutes last October, but I'm closer to 11:30 now and the program has me running 14- to 16-minute miles--feels weird to run so slow, but I'm doing it).

                 

                Overall, I'm trusting the program, slow pace and low mileage and all.  My only concern is that my longest run in the program is 4.5 miles, scheduled for 5, 4, and 3 weeks out from the race.  Is that really sufficient for me to comfortably run 6.2 miles on race day, or should I get closer to 6 miles for my longest run?

                 

                My second question has to do with my walking.  I'm really, really enjoying my long walks and over the last month, have only taken 4 days completely off with no physical activity other than light stretching.  I'm discovering new neighborhoods in my town and look forward to my walks, even on the days when I also run.  My walking pace is in the 17- to 18-minute mile range, but most of my town (including the neighborhoods I'm discovering) is rolling to hilly.  I'm finding it easier and easier to walk up the longer or steeper hills without being out of breath, so I think the walking is helping and hope it makes it a little easier to do hilly runs.    I've been wearing a HRM and keep my hear rate at or below the low end of my aerobic range.

                 

                Is it okay to keep up with the walking miles in addition to the Running Wizard program, or am I doing too much?  Conversely, would it do any harm to keep my walking heart rate within the low end of my aerobic range, or should I keep it below?  I'm out of work until early August and the long walks are keeping me sane Wink.

                 

                Thanks in advance for any insight and advice.

                MTA:  Sorry for the lengthy post!!

                Sue in PA


                  Thank you, Nobby, for the comprehensive response.  I think the success rate of the Running Wizard program speaks for itself, which is why I'm going to let myself trust the process.

                   

                  My training last year was rather haphazard, I'll admit, and like most newbies, I definitely worked at way too hard an effort... resulting in injuries that sidelined me in November.  I did a timed mile last October (on the street, not on a track, so it was far from completely flat) in 9:58, just before my 5k event (34:24 finish time).  The effort for the timed mile on a scale of 1 to 10 was an 11  Roll eyes  I got it in my head that I wanted to run a sub-10-minute mile and once I did it, I swore that I never, ever wanted to feel like that again.  I had been training toward the 5k race for about 3 months.

                   

                  My more recent results (ie, within the last month) are timed miles on the same course, but not at an effort where I thought my heart was going to explode in my chest.  Keep in mind that I'm a 57 year old female with osteoarthritis in various places, about 20 pounds overweight, (down 20, but still have 20 to lose) and for all intents and purposes, was a complete beginner last summer with no other regular forms of exercise for several years.  After my sports orthopedist told me in November that I had shin splints and a possible stress fracture in my left shin and needed to find something else to do for a couple of months besides running, I slacked off completely and didn't pick back up with the regular walking until May.

                   

                  Fast-forward to my RW experience, and I've learned a lot in the first week and a half.  For example, yesterday's workout was an easy jog for 7 minutes (1/2 mile).  The weather wasn't optimal, upper 70s, 100% humidity, no breeze whatsoever, and a light rain, but I figured, eh, I can do a half mile with my eyes closed.  To my surprise, my heart rate spiked past the max for the workout almost immediately when I started to run (after a brisk 5-minute walking warmup).  I ran for about 2 minutes, then decided I needed to regroup mentally and physically when my heart rate failed to go back to a reasonable level and I was prepared to cut the workout short if necessary.  I walked for a quarter mile, then started jogging so slowly that it felt like I was almost hopping in place.  I was able to finish the workout with energy to spare and with my HR and pace in the range specified. The lesson there for me was, a-ha, so that's what a slow jog feels like!

                   

                  RW has not given me an estimated finish time for the 10k.  I'm fine with that... Not having a goal other than finishing the 10k will let me concentrate on getting more fit rather than feeling like I have to meet a time goal.

                   

                  Your point about walking tending to stiffen up the legs is interesting, as that's exactly what I've been experiencing.  So on days when I work out, I'll do the running first, then if I'm so inclined, I'll cool down and walk for a couple of miles maximum.  I'm almost to the point in my healing from the hand surgery where I'll be able to ride my bike for short distances (still don't quite have the ROM in my wrist) and I'll incorporate bike rides into my supplementary activities, giving my legs cross-training that's different from walking. Once I go back to work the beginning of August, my time will become much more restricted as I commute 3 hours a day to my job.  At that point, I'll be far enough along in my 10k program that I can focus on the RW program and get in 30 minutes of walking or a bike ride whenever I have the time.

                   

                  Again, thanks for the detailed response!

                  Sue


                  Hungry

                    Umm... pardon the brief interruption.  But as I've seen these threads pop up from time to time, I've wondered but not had the guts to ask, what the heck is a running wizard?  (and should I get one of my own!?)  (sincere question, by the way)  (well, perhaps not the parenthetical one).

                    Joe,

                    Running Wizard is online: http://running-wizard.com/

                    Nobby and Lorraine Moller are the creators of the program, based on the principles of Arthur Lydiard. I'm not sure if Nobby mentioned it in his post above, but one of the things that stands out to me is the series of distinct "phases" of the program, each phase building on the last. There is an overall "flow" to the plan which seems to make a lot of sense to me. (Ok, I haven't used a lot of other plans -- a Higdon plan from a year ago, that's about it, so my frame of reference is somewhat limited.)

                    My experience with RW has been positive. I just ran a marathon after completing a 24-week Running Wizard plan. My result was that I beat my marathon PR from 1994 -- I was 29 then, 48 now.  I felt very strong and very ready to run my race. I'm also pleasantly surprised at how good I have felt in the 10 days following the marathon.

                    I enjoyed following the plan, and learned a lot in the process. Nobby is extremely helpful to users of the plan who have questions. I still owe him a cup of coffee for helping me PR!

                    2013: 2647.2 miles

                    2014: Boston

                      I just ran a marathon after completing a 24-week Running Wizard plan. My result was that I beat my marathon PR from 1994 -- I was 29 then, 48 now.

                       

                      Nice!!  Congratulations, and thanks for the explanation of the program.

                      - Joe

                      all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                      Supersono99


                         

                         

                        When we put together this program, naturally, we had to use some sort of formula.  Based on good sound experience and statistics; but still a set formula.  A formula can't read into some variables and, if you fail to plug in correct information, it might shoot out something that may not be best suited for.  It is particularly tricky dealing with relative beginner because their race effort can be quite close to their training effort.  It may be because they always try to race their training; or it could be because they cannot push themselves to a different level in a race.  It still require best possible assessment.   .

                         

                         

                        I am sure this was the reason the plan gave paces for me that turned out to be too slow. As someone who hadn't run more than 3 minutes before a walk break (I was doing 3:1 run:walk intervals) I certainly didn't knhow what I was truly capable of nor did I know how to push myself. That means the information I plugged in for my mile time was not an accurate reflection of my abilities but I didn't know what my abilities were. I still struggle to know how hard to push.

                         

                        That being said, if the paces given by the plan based on entered information turn out to be way off, I feet that learning to run by RPE based on the description of the workout given by RW is a safe way to proceed. By running this way, in my personal experience, I have improved greatly in the last 17 weeks. For example, I ran my first PCR run last weekend and the pace ended up being faster than my mile time trial that I entered in to generate my plan. I even believe I may not have run that PCR hard enough as it was fairly comfortable.

                         

                        I have enjoyed my RW plan very much. My impression of the OP question was that her info entry to generate her plan likely was as accurate as mine(which clearly wasn't an accurate assessment of my abilities) and that she will have/is having a similar experience as far as the plan she has.

                        Sue in PA


                           

                          I am sure this was the reason the plan gave paces for me that turned out to be too slow. As someone who hadn't run more than 3 minutes before a walk break (I was doing 3:1 run:walk intervals) I certainly didn't knhow what I was truly capable of nor did I know how to push myself. That means the information I plugged in for my mile time was not an accurate reflection of my abilities but I didn't know what my abilities were. I still struggle to know how hard to push.

                           

                          That being said, if the paces given by the plan based on entered information turn out to be way off, I feet that learning to run by RPE based on the description of the workout given by RW is a safe way to proceed. By running this way, in my personal experience, I have improved greatly in the last 17 weeks. For example, I ran my first PCR run last weekend and the pace ended up being faster than my mile time trial that I entered in to generate my plan. I even believe I may not have run that PCR hard enough as it was fairly comfortable.

                           

                          I have enjoyed my RW plan very much. My impression of the OP question was that her info entry to generate her plan likely was as accurate as mine(which clearly wasn't an accurate assessment of my abilities) and that she will have/is having a similar experience as far as the plan she has.

                          Yes, that's definitely the source of my question and I'm thinking something similar to what you're doing as far as running by RPE (once I know what the intensity levels feel like!).  That said, due to my history of overzealous training resulting in injury, I'm going to follow the  program as closely as possible, at least for the first few weeks.  I'm learning how to run (jog) at a slow pace and becoming aware of what that feels like as opposed to running as fast as I can for every workout like I did last year.  Having guidelines for HR range and time, as opposed to just distance, is allowing me to stop worrying about how far I ran and how quickly I ran it, and focus more on staying at the right intensity for each workout to accomplish the more sensible long-term goal of getting myself fit and ready to run 6 miles.

                           

                          The explanation given in the Running Wizard/Lydiard program regarding how my body is adapting to the training in the early stages makes complete sense to me.  I only wish I knew all this last year--I could have been training all winter into the springtime, instead of pouting and sitting on my butt because of an injury.

                           

                          When I first looked at the plan I thought that the workouts may be a little too easy, but I'm trusting that it's going to get me to where I can run the longer distances without blowing up or injuring myself.  Once I'm more comfortable with what a given pace feels like, I'll go more by RPE.  Much to my surprise, once I've settled into a pace that keeps me within the HR range for the workout, I've come very close to running the suggested distance just by paying attention to my heart rate and the time spent running.

                           

                          Once I've gone through the RW program once, I'll have some solid numbers to start with for improving my race times.  Aside from racing, I want to be able to do those longer runs on the weekends--it's the best kind of psychotherapy for me, and it's free!

                            As I continue to eavesdrop on this conversation a bit, Nobby, I think I understand the source of some of these folks issues.  I think fundamentally the RW VO2max Interview/Questionaire is very broken somehow, as in not even in the ballpark.  Just for fun yesterday I took the interview to see what it would give me for a VO2max.  It only gave me about 30!!  My race capability would suggest something WAY higher than that.  (And for that matter I've actually been lab tested, so I'm pretty sure what mine is, give or take a bit).  So, it's hard to say where the issues are, but you might consider using the Jackson estimate as your starting point for people to assess where they are.  It would at least get a lot closer than the tool you have now.  If you'd like more information on that, I can help you.  Purely FYI.

                            - Joe

                            all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                              As I continue to eavesdrop on this conversation a bit, Nobby, I think I understand the source of some of these folks issues.  I think fundamentally the RW VO2max Interview/Questionaire is very broken somehow, as in not even in the ballpark.  Just for fun yesterday I took the interview to see what it would give me for a VO2max.  It only gave me about 30!!  My race capability would suggest something WAY higher than that.  (And for that matter I've actually been lab tested, so I'm pretty sure what mine is, give or take a bit).  So, it's hard to say where the issues are, but you might consider using the Jackson estimate as your starting point for people to assess where they are.  It would at least get a lot closer than the tool you have now.  If you'd like more information on that, I can help you.  Purely FYI.

                              Joe:

                               

                              Thanks for your concern! ;o)  But actually VO2Max is DESIGNED to do just that.  ANY experienced runner, like yourself who can run a sub-3 marathon should NOT even attempt our VO2Max Interview.  I thought there was a disclaimer comment somewhere and, if not, we do need to add it.  Our VO2Max Interview is provided for THOSE WHO HAD NEVER RUN A RACE AND HAD NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE to get the ball-park figure of where they start IN RUNNING.  Here we are talking about some one who can't even run 15-minutes non-stop.  If you can run for a half an hour without any problem, at least I personally always encourage them to just get out to a local high school track and run 4 laps and get a mile time and use it.  VO2Max Interview is for those who can't even do that--or those whom I would not suggest to do that..

                               

                              If you done through all the questions, you must have noticed that most questions, until the last part, have nothing to do with running; body type, what you eat, how you sleep...  THAT is the part that works fine and equivalent to the one at NASA.  But NASA is not looking for a running performance.  In fact, where they work in weightless.  Us runners have to deal with gravity...and poundings.  Let me tell you a behind-the-scene story.  When we set this up, I actually brought this to the gym and asked about 40 people out there who work out fairly regularly.  Some very fit-looking ladies who work out up to 2 hours at the gym.  You would think they are very fit.  And have them run a mile time test or some even ran a 5k "fun run".  The times came out waaay off.  Because VO2Max actually got nothing to do with poundings.  Take Lance Armstrong, for example...I don't know his exact VO2Max but, if he uses our VO2Max Interview, his would probably come out not as some 90+ monster but probably more like 3:15 marathon runner.  He did well, but he was, in reality, ONLY a 2:45 or so guy.  It's not because of VO2Max but because of his poundings.  If you've done the interview, you had realized that the factor for "2-hour a day exercise (in the gym)" is equivalent to something like 20-minutes of running???  We got a lot of resistance from people at the gym...until they actually ran.

                               

                              Our goal with this interview is not to find the accurate VO2Max; but to find the most appropriate and reasonable starting point of RUNNING training.  Above woman, who works out a lot, turned out her estimated 5k time was supposed to be 24-minutes and, when she actually ran her first 5k race, it turned out to be 34-minutes.  Do you think it's appropriate to give her training pace based on estimated 24-minutes 5k simply because it's the correct calculation of VO2Max or based on 34-minutes because it's closer to "reality" (well, it WAS the reality for her!)?  So we actually added this hidden "factor" based more on experience and statistics, rather than science.  Someone like you, someone who can run 2:50 for a marathon, yeah, it would come out waaay too low.  Don Kardong, a 2:11 marathon runner, actually came out as his VO2Max being more like 45!!  But you guys are NOT a beginner who can't even manage 15-minutes non-stop running.

                               

                              If above people got their training pace waaay slow, that's NOT because VO2Max is VERY wrong; but somewhere along the way, the information plugged in was wrong.  The program is working fine.  But we still hadn't quite figured out how we can convey the message that "You couldn't push yourself hard enough in the race so your estimated training run pace would come out very slow..."  There's no way we can do that.  This happens more apparently when people who can run a decent 5k or 10k plug in their very poor marathon time simply because they want to train for a marathon and their training pace would come out VERY slow.  It is not because the program is wrong; but the information chosen to be plugged in was not accurate.  Do we need to be that precise and go on and on and on at the interview section when most people we deal with had probably run one or two races in their life-time?  Well, we may have to....  But, as far as I'm concerned, that's where there's more experience and practicality involved in coaching, not just straight-forward number calculation.  But we DO need to put a disclaimer for sure because, once in a while, we do get some very experienced runner, out of curiosity, go through VO2Max Interview and freak out because the figure would come out VERY off.  But, hey, I didn't want to discourage beginners by telling them; "Oh, by the way, you are so very unfit that we'll start you out with VERY conservative pace at first..."  They wouldn't need to know that.  They need to get the RIGHT training pace; and if we are off on a conservative side, that's probably better than more aggressive side.

                              Supersono99


                                Nobby,

                                This makes sense. Everything about RW has made sense to me so far in my 17 weeks (except the description of intervals). I am one of the people that you're referring to here that couldn't possibly enter in correct information because I didnt and still don't know what my abilities are. I thought some of the questions were hard to answer in that interview, I forget what they were now, but I recall thinking "I don't know" a lot. I will be providing feedback to you once I'm done with the program as you requested in terms of trying to help you figure out a way to make the program work for the people that can't run 15 mins straight and don't necessarily have a race planned but just want to run x minutes without needing a walk.

                                Joe:

                                 

                                Thanks for your concern! ;o)  But actually VO2Max is DESIGNED to do just that.  ANY experienced runner, like yourself who can run a sub-3 marathon should NOT even attempt our VO2Max Interview.  I thought there was a disclaimer comment somewhere and, if not, we do need to add it.  Our VO2Max Interview is provided for THOSE WHO HAD NEVER RUN A RACE AND HAD NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE to get the ball-park figure of where they start IN RUNNING.  Here we are talking about some one who can't even run 15-minutes non-stop.  If you can run for a half an hour without any problem, at least I personally always encourage them to just get out to a local high school track and run 4 laps and get a mile time and use it.  VO2Max Interview is for those who can't even do that--or those whom I would not suggest to do that..

                                 

                                If you done through all the questions, you must have noticed that most questions, until the last part, have nothing to do with running; body type, what you eat, how you sleep...  THAT is the part that works fine and equivalent to the one at NASA.  But NASA is not looking for a running performance.  In fact, where they work in weightless.  Us runners have to deal with gravity...and poundings.  Let me tell you a behind-the-scene story.  When we set this up, I actually brought this to the gym and asked about 40 people out there who work out fairly regularly.  Some very fit-looking ladies who work out up to 2 hours at the gym.  You would think they are very fit.  And have them run a mile time test or some even ran a 5k "fun run".  The times came out waaay off.  Because VO2Max actually got nothing to do with poundings.  Take Lance Armstrong, for example...I don't know his exact VO2Max but, if he uses our VO2Max Interview, his would probably come out not as some 90+ monster but probably more like 3:15 marathon runner.  He did well, but he was, in reality, ONLY a 2:45 or so guy.  It's not because of VO2Max but because of his poundings.  If you've done the interview, you had realized that the factor for "2-hour a day exercise (in the gym)" is equivalent to something like 20-minutes of running???  We got a lot of resistance from people at the gym...until they actually ran.

                                 

                                Our goal with this interview is not to find the accurate VO2Max; but to find the most appropriate and reasonable starting point of RUNNING training.  Above woman, who works out a lot, turned out her estimated 5k time was supposed to be 24-minutes and, when she actually ran her first 5k race, it turned out to be 34-minutes.  Do you think it's appropriate to give her training pace based on estimated 24-minutes 5k simply because it's the correct calculation of VO2Max or based on 34-minutes because it's closer to "reality" (well, it WAS the reality for her!)?  So we actually added this hidden "factor" based more on experience and statistics, rather than science.  Someone like you, someone who can run 2:50 for a marathon, yeah, it would come out waaay too low.  Don Kardong, a 2:11 marathon runner, actually came out as his VO2Max being more like 45!!  But you guys are NOT a beginner who can't even manage 15-minutes non-stop running.

                                 

                                If above people got their training pace waaay slow, that's NOT because VO2Max is VERY wrong; but somewhere along the way, the information plugged in was wrong.  The program is working fine.  But we still hadn't quite figured out how we can convey the message that "You couldn't push yourself hard enough in the race so your estimated training run pace would come out very slow..."  There's no way we can do that.  This happens more apparently when people who can run a decent 5k or 10k plug in their very poor marathon time simply because they want to train for a marathon and their training pace would come out VERY slow.  It is not because the program is wrong; but the information chosen to be plugged in was not accurate.  Do we need to be that precise and go on and on and on at the interview section when most people we deal with had probably run one or two races in their life-time?  Well, we may have to....  But, as far as I'm concerned, that's where there's more experience and practicality involved in coaching, not just straight-forward number calculation.  But we DO need to put a disclaimer for sure because, once in a while, we do get some very experienced runner, out of curiosity, go through VO2Max Interview and freak out because the figure would come out VERY off.  But, hey, I didn't want to discourage beginners by telling them; "Oh, by the way, you are so very unfit that we'll start you out with VERY conservative pace at first..."  They wouldn't need to know that.  They need to get the RIGHT training pace; and if we are off on a conservative side, that's probably better than more aggressive side.

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