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

Monday, August 17, 2015

Brief Quandary

I was in great shape in 2007. My training looked like this:

Saturday: 30-40 miles @9-10 min./mile
Sunday -Tuesday: 12 miles @ 8-8.5
Wednesday-Friday: 4 miles

I'd love to get back there, if I could (I'd only run long every other week, though). I figured the thing to do would be to just grind out what miles I could, to get used to running fairly long day after day, with 2 days off per week as a concession to age. I just kept getting slower. The idea of "the grind" was to keep glycogen levels low, so I'd start running more efficiently on fat. That doesn't work for me, though others swear by it. I just do less, slower, until I grind to a halt.

So how did I get there in 2007? In 2004, I was trying to break 5:00 in the mile, was running about 50 miles per week, ran about 7.5-8 min./mile (and was about 162 pounds, rather than 150 today). I can't find my records of 2005 or 2006, so I don't know how that build up occurred.

There's a few basic approaches to consider:

1) Long and slow and add speed later (e.g. Van Aaken and Maffetone methods)
2) Start fast and short and add volume later (e.g. Hanson bros. method)
3) Work from both extremes to the middle (e.g. Hudson method)
4) Do a little of everything from the start (most other systems)

None of these seem to work for me any more.

Where do I go from here?


Anonymous said...

I would say start with what has worked in the past and make minor adjustments moving forward. Of course there are a few more variables involved considering you were 8 years younger back then however getting back in the groove always has had a good impact with me as I struggled through injuries. Best of luck.

Ben said...

Steve, how many miles do you feel a sub 2:45:00 marathoner should run to break the 5:00 minute mile barrier?

SteveQ said...

Ben, the short answer is: fewer. 5:00 is about the same as a sub-3 marathon as far as ability goes, but it takes a completely different kind of training - less mileage, but faster. A maximum of 5 hours per week running, at 7.5-8 min./mile... or 35-40 miles per week. 5-10 of those miles, however, should be at 5 min/mile or faster.

Ben said...

your post piqued my curiosity so I picked up Clayton's book "Running to the Top" What a pioneer of distance running. He ran 85% of his weekly mileage at race pace, he had the heart of a lion. No wonder he had 9 injury related surgeries during his short career.