Tuesday, January 5, 2010


So, i was rereading Daniels' chapter one, and in forming a training program for a runner he suggests getting to know the runner's strengths- whether they respond well to hard fast intervals or tempo runs at a steady state but moderate hard/hard pace, or long slow distance, or whatever.

And so I tried to think about what my strengths might be. I considered what training regimens in the past have been useful and helpful, or fun. What I've done in the past that's been most beneficial.

I couldn't really think of anything off the top of my head.

not sure why that is- maybe because I don't have any objective measure to compare it to, or something. But when I look to the races I've enjoyed the most, it's pretty much been a spontaneous signing up and doing for the fun of it type thing, with no real training scheme in mind.

i enjoy running miles, especially on trails. Not an easy place to do speedwork, especially during winter.

i got lots of speed quickly when I was doing speedwork regularly on a track with my group of running friends, but I was also on a knife's edge of injury most of that summer. And my legs were fresh and didn't have the miles they do now.

On the other hand, a few years ago running at 10:30, 9:30, and 8:30 had certain effort levels associate with them. right now, that effort level has shifted one place to the right, and I'm not as strong as I was 18 months ago. Or even eight.

Today's speedwork session had its moments. Five minutes hard, four rest, times five with a two mile warm up. First interval was at a 7:09, the other four were at 7:22. Part of it was the conditions and terrain. Part of it was mental discipline, and a lack of will. I felt like I was running hard, but perhaps I was just fooling myself.

it's not that I didn't enjoy the run. it's just I didn't do particularly well in my own mind. perhaps the 2X 12 minute tempo run scheduled for Thursday will go better. Um... if I have my car. :P


Jeremy said...


I empathize with you in this conundrum, both in the immediate sense (why can't I run faster with all of this snow on the ground?), and in the long term (what speed workouts work to my strengths?).

I posit to you the following: Until a runner spends a significant amount of time working their way up an extended period at that knife edge of fitness, they won't or can't know, and thus can't reasonably be expected have an answer to that question. As with all things running, it depends on experimentation, which we don't really have enough of yet.

I think it takes three or four YEARS of running before a person can really understand the answer to that question, based on my experience and reading about other people's experiences in the swamp and other places where the fast people who put in lots of high miles talk (aka "the idiots like us"). Even more to the point, people like you and me, we are still in the kind of shape where we have so muc farther to go before we stop climbing the peak of our ability, and have to worry about tailoring our training to sharpen our ability by that magnitude. It's a depressing thought, but it provides room for so much improvement! ;-)

With this year, I know I've only really learned three things definitively, neither of which is the answer to the question Daniels asks. My high school experiences really only give me a direction to tailor my experimentation, but no more than that.

In the end, I think just going with the basic program as laid out for the first time, especially one as high mileage as Daniels, will really help more than any intensity will.

Fritz said...

Perhaps... though part of me really thinks I need more than miles. Really, what I would most benefit from is something of an attitude adjustment. I shouldn't be angry with myself that trying to maintain a cadence near 180 on a hilly, snow covered path wearing over a pound of stuff on my feet is difficult.

Especially the day after a tough run.