Easy week

Yet another week under 70 kilometers. This is turning into a bit of a habit. I wonder how many runners have gone sub 2.40 averaging 70 kilometers a week..

In my defense this was a recovery week of sorts after Glenbrook last Sunday so I’m not going to stress about it.

I took Monday off and then hit the treadmill to flush out the legs on Tuesday. Just an easy 5km and that seemed to help a lot as I was pretty sore after the race.

I didn’t get around to running on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday involved the typical commute home – 11km’s averaging 4.21’s – 4.25’s.

On Saturday the plan was to just take it easy as I have one eye on the Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon next Sunday. We were looking at house in Normanhurst so I decided to run back from there via St Ives and Frenchs Forest. A few pinchy hills but the pace felt easy enough on the flat stuff and the legs weren’t complaining too much.

The pace was fairly erratic throughout ranging from easy to faster than marathon pace. A nice drizzly afternoon for running but I was glad to be finished at the end. 30.31 kms in 1.58 (3.55’s). I had envisaged averaging 4.20’s but this felt easy enough.

Today I fished out the HR Monitor for the first time in years. I always get so frustrated with the garmin strap as it tends to give spikes and cuts out so I normally give up after a few goes. I’ve been reading Maffetones book which is all about training by heart rate. The idea is to really build up the aerobic system, so by the end of the training period you are running distances faster than you first did but with the same heart rate. It sounds sustainable as you are not thrashing yourself and keeping an eye maintaining your HR in the max aerobic zone which for me is apparently between 145-155 (no higher than 155).

Now all my training of late has been at a good effort, i would guess easily with my HR over 155. I know this isnt a sustainable way to train and after Melbourne i’ll use the Maff method during the long build up phase.

So just 10km’s today. The heart rate creeped over 155 just a couple of times and all in all i managed to maintain it quite well. At times it felt like i was just shuffling along but thats the whole idea. No doubt I would have gone alot faster without it which isnt great for recovery.

So 40 minutes 25 seconds (4.02’s). Not too slow so thats encouraging. Faster kilometer was the 2nd one at 3.41 and my slowest was the 10th at 4.12.

Just 67 kilometers for the week. Next week probably wont be any higher either as I wont run on Saturday to rest before the half on Sunday. I’ve no idea how i’ll go but next week i’ll run with HR monitor to ensure i’m not overreaching so I can go full pelt on Sunday. I’d be chuffed with 75 minutes

2 thoughts on “Easy week

  1. Ian – enjoying your blog – and your rather unconventional yet effective training, have attached one of Maffetone’s disciples yearly training plan – 6 time Kona Champ Mark Allen (i know it is triathlon but the take home message is the same……..

    Allen’s training approach was to divide his year into three phases (Allen 1996 table 6.27). The first phase would begin in January after two months of rest in November and December following the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon, which is contested on the first Saturday in October closest to the appearance of the new moon
    During the first phase, his Patience Phase, Allen combined aerobic training with weight training. This period would last three months. During this time, he would not train at a heart rate in excess of that allowed by the Maffetone formula, which was about 150 beats per minute during the last five years of his career. During this period of training, he was swimming 21 km per week, cycling 500 km per week, and running for 6 hours (approximately 90 km) per week. Thus, his total endurance training time was about 27 hours per week during this period. Allen would also undertake two strength training workouts each week but would always leave at least two clays between sessions.
    To monitor his progress, Allen would complete an 8-km run at his maximal allowed aerobic heart rate of about 150 beats per minute. During his Patience Phase his average pace when running at that heart rate would fall progressively. When he first started training according to the Maffetone approach, his aerobic pace during this test was 4:05 per km. During this phase, Allen would expect his running speed at his aerobic heart rate to fall by about 3 to 4 seconds per km per week.
    When Allen retired in 1995, his aerobic pace had improved to 3:19 per km, as the result of a steady progression during his entire career. For physiologists used to reporting human training studies lasting a few months, this is a remarkable finding. It shows that the human body may continue to adapt for 10 or more years to the form of prolonged, intensive training undertaken by Allen.
    He would terminate his Patience Phase when either
    -his speed during the 8-km aerobic run was no longer improving or was, in fact, deteriorating, indicating that he was no longer adapting to the aerobic training, or
    -he was about five or six weeks before the first race of the season, usually a standard distance triathlon.
    During the second phase of his training, the Speed-Work Phase, Allen reduced his training slightly but added two speed sessions, one on the bicycle and one running fartlek session. As a result, his training volume during this period included swimming 18.5 km per week, cycling 480 km per week, and running 8 hours per week.
    Allen advised that when he was young, presumably under 30, he could complete 10 to 12 weeks of this type of training. As he aged, he found it more difficult to maintain this volume of training for as long. At age 37, he could maintain this training for six weeks. He predicts this would be reduced to five for athletes over 40 and to none for athletes over 50.
    At the end of the previous phase, Allen would judge whether he had reaped all the benefit from this training schedule when his running pace at his aerobic heart rate plateaued. He wrote that
    “the key is to watch for a slowing of your pace at your maximum aerobic heart rate. When this happens, its time to go back to your base-building phase….It’s very subtle, but if your heart rate starts going up for a given effort in workouts, you know that you’re on the edge—just resting won’t help; you have to modify your training.” (Allen 1996b, p. 92)
    Allen notes that many other athletes would probably try to train through this plateau in an attempt to reach an illusive higher level of fitness, But Allen stresses that this will fail, as continuing to train when the body’s adaptation has plateaued will lead only to mental burnout, overtraining, injury, and a subpar performance on race day. When this happens, Allen’s advice is, “If you`re burned out, put a big ‘R’ for rest in your training diary, close it and put it away, Rather go and play” (Allen 1996b, p. 92).
    As he has grown older and is therefore unable to sustain this training phase for as long as before, he spends a few weeks of recuperation training, perhaps even including a full week of rest, in July and early August. During this period he does no speed training but reverts to training that does not elevate his heart rate above 150 beats per minute.
    Eight weeks before the Hawaiian Ironman, Allen begins the Push Phase of his training. This consists of four hard weeks of training and a four-week taper. During this time, Allen does not race at all. This period of training is, in my view, the most taxing training ever recorded by any modern human athlete, exceeding even that of the Kenyans (table 6,28). During his peak training week, Allen will swim 28 km (8 hours), cycle approximately 800 km (22 hours), and run for a further 8 hours, for a total training time of 38 hours, equivalent to the hours many of us spend at work during a five-day working week. To develop both speed and endurance, Allen reverts to doing long intervals of up to 20 minutes in both cycling and running during his long rides or runs.
    During his four-week taper period, Allen progressively reduces his cycling distance by 160 km per week so that in the final week of his taper, which includes the distance cycled during the Ironman, he cycles only 240 km. This means that he only cycles 60 km in the final six days before the Ironman. He reduces his weekly running distance by 24 km per week and only runs 16 km in the last six days before the Ironman.
    Other advice offered by Allen includes the following:
    -The key workouts each week during the Speed-Work and Push Phases are the two long-distance and two speed workouts, one each cycling and running. All training is built around those workouts.
    -During the Speed-Work Phase, only one or preferably two, but certainly no more, sessions should be set aside for all-out speed training.
    -His longest run before the Ironman was always five weeks before the race, and his longest cycle, four weeks before. His toughest speed session was three weeks before the race, during the tapering period.
    -For his long runs he would begin at 1 hour and then increase in stepped fashion by 10 minutes every second week, dropping back to the duration of the run two weeks earlier in the intervening week. Thus, the duration of the first seven consecutive long runs would be 60, 70, 60, 80, 70, 90, 80 minutes. After 15 weeks, this would increase to the 150-minute  long runs that Allen maintained during the Speed-Work and Push Phases.
    -In a discussion I had with him in Pajulahti, Finland, Allen added that the key to his longevity was the three months of gentle aerobic training in the Patience Phase. His belief is that once you begin speed training, the body enters a hyped-up state that wears you down, as you are unable to sleep properly and recover adequately during this period. Thus, in his opinion, intensive training produces a cumulative fatiguing effect, which is not due solely to the actual training performed but also to a residual effect that acts during the recovery period between training sessions.
    -In response to (Noakes) question why more triathletes do not follow his methods, which have clearly proved effective, Allen answered that many athletes are too ego-driven. They can’t wait to perform well and will not accept anyone else’s ideas.

    • Cheers Duncan! Mark Allen was an absolute beast!! Have you read The Dual?

      That training plan has a lot of good structure. I might pull some ideas for my next marathon whenever that will be. I like the idea of a long aerobic build up phase, the trouble is i just cant seem to stick to any sort of plan but i’ll make an effort to at some point.

      Yes my training is rather unconventional but it just goes to show that we all respond in different ways. I’m trying to get away with improving through running the least mileage possible. once i plateau then i’ll either have to increase mileage slightly or think about doing something differently. But so far so good!

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