Tuesday, May 12

Vengeance Is a Very Useful Tool

Now that my running doubles as a mode of transportation, my choice of venue has narrowed during the week. So it was, with naught but the glare of the late afternoon sun and a blustery wind as company, I stepped back into the arena where there is no escaping the cruel truth. It was my inaugural visit to the hard packed dirt oval at Victoria High, and my second time since March, 2008, that I stood on a track. I wish this realization had hit home prior to the session.

I was unable to find where the start/finish or 200m mark was, and so decided to place stones at the apex of each corner. After an easy loop to remove some fallen braches, I touched my ears to their respective shoulder, gently jumped up and down a few times and then toed the line I had drawn in the dirt.

The plan was for 12x200m at 3kP but after looking at the McMillan Calculator, a tool I’ve never used before, I decided to aim for between 32.5 & 35.8. I thought the back end was generous as there was once a time when I could hit 35s in my sleep, and fully expected to pass the opening stone between 28.X and 32.5. I was in for a surprise.

What was once my bread and butter, a disproportionately fast 200m, all but appear to have been run out of my system. The times tell the story, and after recording 4 successive 37s, I decided to pull the pin at 10.

34.9, 35.0, 35.2, 35.7, 36.4
36.2, 37.2, 37.2, 37.6, 37.1

What I find amusing, is how strangely comforting I find the result. Yes I was running on a dirt track, and it was windy, hell, there’s no telling I wasn’t covering more than 200m. All that aside, what this has drawn to my attention is that a) it has been over 14 months since I’ve run regularly on the track, and b) efficiency at speed, once my bread and butter, is missing. I plan to change both these facts.

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: 1:06:31 with 10x200m (200m)


Thomas said...

But do you think that efficiency at speed will make you a better marathon runner?


ARTHUR lYDIARD was very keen on his runners doing a leg speed session on a regular basis, I try to fit one in every 1 or 2 weeks, I reckon they are even more important the older we get!
My reasoning of thinking is, if your 200 gets faster, then you can run 400 faster and then 1500 and so on, all leading to a faster 10k - 1/2 and finally THE MARATHON!

Chris said...

Yup Lydiard wanted 10 x 100m +/- every week for leg speed however, they were not anaerobic (being too short and not quite fast enough and not timed). It's a nuero-muscular stimulae. Meanwhile he didn't want you to run anaerobically during the conditioning phase, to not spoil the endurance and cardiac efficiency you are developing in this phase. To quote him from Run with Lydiard, "carefully protecting the very condition you are developing (by not racing and not doing anaerobic speed work)."

Mike said...

Hey Michael, I wouldn't be too concerned - the pace of volume 200s comes down pretty drastically in short order once you do them a few times.

On Nov 19th I did 12x200m at an average pace of about 33 and 6-weeks later I could do the same workout at an average of 30. The muscle memory kicks in after a bit and that efficiency at speed comes back.

Rick - I'm w/ you, being able to run faster shouldn't be a hinderance for longer distances meaning it can only help.

Just look at Gebreselassie - he didn't bother w/ the marathon until late in his career. He was a middle distance runner all the way down to the 1500m (3:33.73)

Michael said...

I don’t know what will make me a better marathon runner, but I know what won’t. I have to agree with Rick and Mike. My thought is that, if I can run a faster, 5k, 10k... then I should be able to run a faster marathon.

The other part of the equation is knowing yourself. What I mean by that, I knowing your strengths, and being sure to play to them. A strength for me is my short distance speed, and something I haven’t paid attention to in over a year. I’m going to rectify that.

Mark, sorry I missed your question. I’m opting to forgo 6-weeks of base training (I can see Chris rolling his eyes) and, instead us the next 7-weeks to focus on improving my 5k speed. After that, it’s 2-weeks easy(ish) and then a 12-week marathon build.

I’ll speak to the specifics of the program later. Chris, know this, if this approach doesn’t work… we’ll talk. Thanks for the comments!

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