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Winter-adjusted Pfitz Training Question (Read 283 times)

BruceD555


    So, today’s run during the snowstorm brought a few questions to mind for my upcoming Pfitz cycle. Running through wet snow and slush definitely raised the exertion level and was an awesome workout. However, in looking ahead to Pfitz I have a few questions for how others have dealt with winter weather.

     

    I’ve read through his 2nd edition several times and the various workouts based on HR (rather than time) make a whole lot of sense. However, I had a practical question for folks as to how they went about actually doing this during workouts. Did you simply don the HR monitor whenever the weather threw a curve ball and put you outside the “norm” for your workouts? If something like slushy footing or extra clothing because of frigid temps raises the effort level for a particular workout did you just “go by feel” from past experience or use the monitor to actually hit the training zone? 

    Train smart ... race smarter.

    runmomto3boys


      Eeeekkkers - you are scaring me!  I haven't run in snow yet and I'll be training "with" you this winter in our lovely state.  Regarding the substantive question, I have no clue b/c I have never run in snow, nor have I ever worn a HRM, although I have one.  It's something I definitely want to toy with down the road, though.  I'm going to follow this thread though...

        I was lucky enough to have a TM while training through last winter (which was pretty mild here in WI), so that's where I went for speedwork, tempos and the occasional marathon pace run during a Pfitz plan. While the TM is NOT a fun way to do an 18-miler w/14 at MP, it got the job done. It might be worth seeking out a low-cost gym just to have that option.

        Nakedbabytoes


        levitation specialist

          Perfect timing!

          I have no idea but am doing the same program. I posted a question on distance and snow/inclement weather and if people took into account effort and time or if it was distance that mattered. People said distance all the way and that your pace will adjust accordingly to conditions(as in, honey badger don't care). A marathon is still 26.2 in the Bahamas or in Alaska. Your pace will suffer due to conditions but the distance stays the same.

          I plan on utilizing my HRM during training that starts for my first full on Dec 24th(odd start to an 18 weeker!) as I know that sometimes on my runs and their called for paces, that there is no way I can keep a 5k pace for VO2 Max sessions in the snow. But if I know my normal HR for that pace in dry conditions, at least I can be sure I get a workout!

          So yes.....but no....according to the noob that I amWink

            Know the purpose of your workout.

             

            If it's to train your legs and body to maintain x pace for y distance through whatever weather and footing ma nature throws at you, then you get to do that. I'll go out on a limb and say you probably can't do that under some weather conditions. This is more of a biomechanical training approach.

             

            If the goal is to train LT or whatever, then it makes sense to go by time and intensity. You may not run the intended distance, but you won't overtrain trying to run through a foot of fresh snow on your long run. (well, you might if you're not used to running in snow) You should end up with the same time on feet as needed for your race. This approach depends more on the physiology. Physiological adaptations depend on time and intensity.

             

            Now, if your snow conditions are just hardpacked snow, almost like a summer trail, then the paces and efforts won't be that far off.

             

            Consider your potential race conditions - will you have snow or wind? How do you adjust for wind? What happens in your race when you get blasted with wind and driving rain?

             

            I've always trained by time and intensity (HR), but 95% of my races are hilly trail races, and it's too confusing to figure out paces for uphill and downhill, different slopes, etc. I wear my hrm on all my runs to gather data, but I rarely look at it while running (other than as a watch). The pace chart for a fall race I did had the per mile pace varying by almost 50% among the various miles. But going by relatively constant effort resulted in somewhat similar paces - and it was much easier to deal with.

             

            PS: I've never attempted to train by pace partly because we usually have snow in the winter (dust bowl right now).

            "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
            BruceD555


              runmomto3boys: Don't be scared, yesterday's med/long run in the snow was awesome fun. I just don't like wearing the HR monitor much for runs over about 10 miles - tends to chafe even with BodyGlide. I'd much prefer to just run by perceived intensity rather than try to monitor HR during intervals, etc. I think I'll end up occasionally using it to keep myself "honest" and in the right zone for workouts.

               

              StepbyStep-SH: I really can't stand running on a treadmill but I may have to resort to it occasionally if we actually do get a real WI winter this year. I do have access to one at the office so I do have that as an easy option that I could hit over lunch. However, I shudder to think about spending 18 miles on one .... bleh!

               

              Nakedbabytoes: Exactly! I know I can't hit my 5k pace for VO2 max workouts if the weather was as sloppy as yesterday. However, even though my legs won't be turning over as quickly I can certainly hit the same intensity level - for the same amount time while running in the snow. It's just that my pace will be slower. So, it sounds like you and I are on the same page in thinking through this training. BTW, what race are you planning for next year? I start my Pfitz plan on December 24th as well ... I'm running the Illinois Marathon.

               

              AKTrail: Thanks for the advice & sharing your experience with winter running - you obviously get enough of that based on your location Wink Your answers pretty much matched what I was thinking. For LT workouts the key point is the intensity and time spent. To a lesser extent you're also working through biomechanics of efficient turnover but thats still a secondary factor to the LT workout.  Long run is all about time - but with Pfitz he also throws in 4 of the long runs with a set portion at MP (i.e. 18 mile with 14 @MP). So, from my perspective this will mean I need to kick it up to that equivalent level of intensity (HR) - even if my actual pace is slower because of the running conditions.

              Train smart ... race smarter.

                While I agree with AK about knowing the purpose of your workout, I do not think you derive the same benefit from a speed session at a slower pace than you do at a faster pace.  Your VO2max and lactate threshold may make the same adaptations but not necessarily your muscles and the rest of your support structure.  On an easy run or a long run without quality work during the long run, it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference since the point is time on feet.  When it comes to lactate threshold, it makes more of a difference and when you are doing VO2max or speed reps, it makes a lot of difference.  

                 

                At least for me, I continue to do my easy and long runs outdoors.  I move my lactate threshold, VO2max, and speed reps to the treadmill.  I just give up on marathon pace runs until I can run outside on clear pavement again.

                 

                I don't own a heart rate monitor and think it is quite likely the most useless piece of equipment ever invented for newer runners.

                Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                Nakedbabytoes


                levitation specialist

                  Bruce:

                  I'm doing the Lincoln National Guard Marathon on May 5th. My first full! I am excited! I created and uploaded workouts for the lactate, general aerobic, V02 max x XX00, and recovery runs & then set my Virtual Pacer for my mid and long range runs to my suggested pace in the book, to my Garmin 610 last night.

                  On a note about Lactate(which would be my first run on the 24th), I basically ran that route and mileage this morning, although not that pacing. Between the minus 7 degrees temps and all the gear I had on, I have no idea how I am going to be able to achieve that pace sustained! But I will give it my best shot!

                  BruceD555


                    LTH: Thanks for the response and I do understand your perspective but that brings me to a follow-up question. If I'm doing a LT workout - either a tempo run or LT interval - isn't the main purpose to run hard enough so that lactate is beginning to accumulate in the muscles and blood. The training provides the stimulus for physiological improvements in my lactate threshold overall. Now, my question is how does it differ if I'm running a bit slower through snow (but at a sufficient pace) that produces the same lactate production rate as if I were running at 50 degrees on dry pavement? My guess is that my HR would be nearly equivalent for those two scenarios, even though my actual pace would be different. 

                     

                    Pfitz seems to make most of his recommendations based on heart rate intensities (either % of max or as heart rate reserve) throughout the training. He also gives them as ranges and even discusses HR drift to account for higher temperatures during training. I do completely understand your point on pace being the real-life measurable but would HR governed quality workouts make that much of a difference to adaptations in muscle & support structure? Honest question here, no barbs intended.

                    Train smart ... race smarter.

                      You are correct about the primary purpose of a lactate threshold run.  In an absolutely ideal world, you would run at increasingly fast speeds while someone took repeated blood samples.  At some speed, the lactate in your blood would begin to increase rapidly rather than building very slowly.  The idea of a lactate threshold run is to run just slower than that speed so your body gets better at burning lactate as a fuel.  Of course, none of us live in that perfect world so using a Daniels "T" pace works just fine.  Here's what I see as a snow problem.

                       

                      At least theoretically, if you were running through snow of a uniform depth, over a uniform surface, at the same level of intensity as a run over a clear, flat surface, you would prompt the same beneficial adaptation in terms of your ability to burn lactate.  Of course, the snow is never a uniform depth and you're not running over a uniform surface.  Thus, rather than a continuous run, you end up with something more like poorly executed intervals than a lactate threshold workout.  Moreover, there is no question that, even if you get the same lactate burning stimulus, you do not get the same neuromuscular stimulus.  I'll concede that you don't get the same neuromuscular stimulus on a treadmill either but it's a whole lot closer than running through snow.  Nor do I think hills are the answer.

                       

                      Don't get me wrong.  I'm a strong proponent of running on hills.  They do all kinds of good things for you.  However, the point of a tempo run is to engage in a 20-60 minute constant effort and it's nearly impossible to do that on hills.  

                       

                      The problem with training by heartrate is that, while it normally is a fairly good indicator of your intensity, that is not always the case.  There are any number of things that can affect your heartrate other than intensity of exercise and weather is one of them.  On a 50 degree day, I'll finish an easy run with my heartrate around 140.  Given the same weather conditions, I'll finish a tempo run with my heartrate around 160.  Compare that to a 95 degree day when I'll finish an easy run with my heartrate around 160 and I don't even try tempo runs.  (Well, that's not completely accurate.  I've tried them and blown up and walked 3 miles back to the car more than once).  So, for the last couple of miles of that easy run, I'll have a heartrate around 160 while running a pace around 8:00.  There is no way you'll convince me that I'm making the same neuromuscular adaptations at that 8:00 pace as I am when I'm running a tempo run at a 6:30 pace in cool weather.  Moreover, I doubt I'm stressing my lactate burning capacity either.  The only thing I"m stressing is my body's cooling mechanism.   

                       

                      All of that assumes, of course, that the technology on which you are relying is flawless and that you accurately know your maximum heartrate and the reality is that newer runners typically don't have the endurance needed to undertake a true heartrate max test.  It consists of something like: run 3 miles easy for a warm up.  Then, on a 3-5% slope, run up 300-400 yards at 5K effort.  When you get to the top, turn around and  run back to your starting point.  Don't jog back.  Run back hard.  Turn around and run up again.  Run hard back down again.  On the third repeat, run up very, very hard.  About halfway up, sprint for all you are worth.  Keep sprinting until you are ready to collapse or puke and then sprint a little farther.  Welcome to maxland.  

                       

                      Last but not least, that's not to say that you won't benefit from a lactate threshold run in the snow.  Hell, you'll benefit from any run.  I just think you'll get more benefit from moving a quality workout to the treadmill because then you'll stimulate neurmuscular improvements as well as lactate burning improvements.  

                       

                      For the record, I hate the treadmill.

                      Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                      Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                      Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                      Nakedbabytoes


                      levitation specialist

                        So for those of us with no hope of a treadmill run, what do you suggest? No VO2 max or lactate runs until the surface clears and the weather is kind enough for less restrictive clothing?  I see your point, LTH, but again, we have to work with what we've got in our less than perfect world and still hope to somewhat/mostly follow a training program in prep for our various goal races.

                          So for those of us with no hope of a treadmill run, what do you suggest? No VO2 max or lactate runs until the surface clears and the weather is kind enough for less restrictive clothing?  I see your point, LTH, but again, we have to work with what we've got in our less than perfect world and still hope to somewhat/mostly follow a training program in prep for our various goal races.

                          You can still do those types of runs at the intended intensity. They will likely be at a slower pace.

                           

                          Or you could opt for the desired pace with greater intensity which would likely result in a shorter duration than intended.

                           

                          Back to my original statement. Know what the objective of your workout is. While some canned programs assume you can achieve 2 objectives with one workout if you're running on a flat surface with ideal weather and footing, that may not be possible in the real world. What are your race conditions like?

                           

                          Physiology and neuromuscular system can be trained separately. Well, they're both there all the time, but the objectives might have to be separated. While you're achieving your neuromuscular goal, you may not achieve your physiological goal and vice versa. You can do tempos on hills - and they're a heck of a good workout - running uphill for 20-40 min. You can run even effort over snow (depending upon what kind of snow). You can run even effort over rolling hills if the downhills aren't too steep. Uphill tempos will be at constant pace (assuming constant grade and wind) but slower than your tempo pace on flat ground. Rolling hills and varying snow conditions will use varying pace. Are you training pace or cardio?

                           

                          Speed is a neuromuscular aspect. Speed is when you run faster, not necessarily harder, downhill or downwind or even on the flats (this would be harder).

                           

                          FWIW, I was doing some "speed" (loose use of term) work around the soccer fields yesterday - just out and back along one side. Speed / outbound / downwind was about 40sec, recovery / inbound / upwind was about 80 sec. (If I believe the gps, it was about 9-10min/mi downwind, 17-18min/mi upwind; my 1-hr race pace is about 12min/mi, yea, old and slow, but still moving).  HR average was similar in both - about 75-77% HRmax - unintentionally, just what they came out to be. I used to run those things hard upwind, recover on the downwind - which is ok for resistance training. But for speed training, you run gracefully downwind, recover upwind. Same thing for hills - uphills are resistance while downhills are speed. (I usually only use downhill for speed on gentle hills or snow.)

                           

                          Look around for some of Nobby's posts on speed. I know there's been at least one good one in the last month since the RWOL meltdown. He does a good job of separating speed from intensity. I think Healthy Intelligent Training does a good job of separating speed and intensity also.

                           

                          I'll admit I've never tried to use a canned program based on pace because they don't make sense for hilly trails and snow, which is what I run in 90% of the time, including races.

                           

                          The books probably tell you what their objective(s) is (are). If you can't do both on one run, then you may need to select one and go with that - probably choosing what you think is the most important for you and your races.

                           

                          (FWIW, I usually go by intensity since speed is so dependent on environment.)

                          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                            So for those of us with no hope of a treadmill run, what do you suggest? No VO2 max or lactate runs until the surface clears and the weather is kind enough for less restrictive clothing?  I see your point, LTH, but again, we have to work with what we've got in our less than perfect world and still hope to somewhat/mostly follow a training program in prep for our various goal races.

                             

                            I think you start with the perfect world scenario.  You need something as a "gold standard" against which to measure your training.  Then, given that none of us live in that perfect world, you ask yourself, "how can I come as close to that as possible given my situation?"  A couple of examples.

                             

                            I have gone to the track only to find it closed to the public.  I don't have a Garmin so I don't know how far "x" distance is on the road.  Nevertheless, I know that I run roughly a 6:00 pace on VO2max intervals and roughly a 10:00 pace on my recoveries.  So, I can fairly closely replicate 1,000's by running hard for 3:45 and running easy for 2:30.  It won't be exact but it will be close enough not to matter.  

                             

                            Perhaps I have a 6 mile tempo run planned but it's 90+ degrees.  Tempo runs of that length are nearly impossible in that heat.  So, maybe I'll run a 3 mile tempo run instead.  I can probably do 3 miles before starting to overheat.  Maybe I'll skip the tempo run and go do some hill work on a shaded trail.  I won't get the same benefit but I'll get some benefit anyway.

                             

                            Still, the original question was whether doing a run in a bunch of snow provides the same stimulus as doing a tempo run on clear, flat ground and I think the answer is "no."  

                            Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                            Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                            Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).