"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Periodization 5

This post is confusing and poorly written. Sorry in advance.

Let's take a look at one approach to periodized training. The rationale goes like this: the goal is to run faster, but the faster you run, the less distance you can do, so you start by doing a lot of slow miles and then, as you approach the race, do fewer but faster miles. The high mileage version of this adds: after any workout, you're not completely spent, so you could add another slow mile or two, even if you had to walk, and you could add a second or third run each day, if you do it slowly enough. This is a huge increase in time, but only a small increase in overall stress. This slight increase in stress, however, can lead to an improvement. If you do a lot of slow miles early, then, as you start interval training, where you used to be able to do (say) 4 one mile repeats at a given pace, you can now do 5, as the stress level of doing 5 is equal to the stress of the earlier mileage. And, if you can do 5 at that pace, then you could do 4 at a faster pace than before. So, the reasoning goes, running further leads to running faster.

If you can follow that logic, it seems to make sense, though there are some holes in the reasoning.

Those who are against this idea reason as follows: Training is too specific for "garbage miles" to have any benefit. You just train yourself to run slower and more often. This too seems reasonable.

So what's my take on the matter? One gets used to a certain amount of training stress. Increasing one's mileage can increase that stress, but one tends to keep the stress level constant by decreasing the pace, so the added miles don't add anything unless one carefully and conciously tries to keep the stress level increased. If one suddenly increases mileage by tacking on slower miles, one can generally manage to keep up the pace in the rest of the running for four to ten days (depending on a lot of factors) before one starts to slow or get nagging injuries. Short periods of increased mileage every now and then may prove beneficial.

1 comment:

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

But how does this account for the Twins' being a playoff team last year, first on their division - and their now being the worst team (record-wise) in MLB?

Look toward Wisconsin and Scott Walker. He knows the culprit is collective bargaining.

Take that away from the Twins and ... problem solved! You too could be like the Brewers - i.e., two wins under .500.