Friday, September 09, 2005


Last night I only read one chapter from Daws’ Running Your Best, titled Aerobics and Anaerobics. It basically told me everything I’ve been doing during my base phase has been wrong. I’ve mentioned a few times that I need more up-tempo/progression runs in my training. Apparently I need A LOT more.

"During your buildup…it’s difficult to log much more than 30 to 40 percent of your mileage near your fastest aerobic pace."

“Fastest aerobic pace” meaning your marathon pace or a little slower. 30 to 40 percent? Man, I’m probably closer to 10 percent. I’ve been doing one such workout per week when it seems I need 3 or 4. But how do I get there when I’m running “high” mileage? Glad you asked. Read on.

“As you become fitter and have reached a high but endurable weekly mileage, you should not try to run more miles, but more at or near the fastest pace you can without becoming anaerobic.”

Hmm, so all this time of slogging through 85 mpw should have been 70 mpw at a faster pace? I’m definitely going to keep this in mind as I plan my next season.

In addition to the above quotes, I came across a VO2Max building workout that I thought would fit in nicely to my training; 10 x 90 seconds at 10k pace with a jog lasting only 1/3 to 1/2 the duration of the rep. I ended up doing 9 x 90 seconds with 45 second jog. The 9th one seem harder than the others and it didn’t seem like I was recovering as quickly, so I pulled the plug rather than force one more.


Anonymous said...

Good post. I have difficulty doing this at 6 AM or earlier.

Anonymous said...

I once read that your marathon pace is the average the fastest 26 miles you run each week leading up to the marathon, assuming you have a mileage base. If you are at 75 miles a week, that would be about 1/3 of your time near MP or faster.

Chad said...

Hey Mark,

Yeah there's and excel spreadsheet "out there" by David Hays that's downloadable and it calculates your faster 26 miles for the week.

Maybe it's accurate in theory, but how many marathon training programs have you run a third of your mileage at MP?

Anonymous said...

The key word in what Daws wrote is "near." And we could debate that for a while.

I've seen discussions which identify "near" best aerobic pace as anything up to 20 seconds over marathon pace. MP + 20 is not hard to get to in your run if you're concentrating, and keep up for a few miles a few times a week.

MP and below is of course harder to get to, and harder to sustain ... So to answer Chad's question "how many marathon training programs have you run a third of your mileage at MP?"

Daniels Running Formula has stuff about weekly percentages at various paces -- I forget what he says about M pace. But, in practice his schedules have about 12-15 miles at marathon pace and 8-12 at tempo over the week, which is pretty close to what Mark is saying.

However, Daniels marathon programs seem to be predicated on doing 85 miles or more, so you're supporting that 20-25 miles at or below M pace with more easy miles.

I think Pfitzinger's 70 and 70+ schedules have around 20 miles a week at M or T pace, so that's getting into the same ballpark figure of 1/3 or 26 miles at or near pace each week.


Chad said...

I haven't looked at Daniels or Pfitz for awhile. Are they doing these M and/or T paced runs during their build-up phases? Daws is talking about 12+ weeks of these kinds of runs.

Granted, MP + 20 seconds is not difficult IF you're used to doing them on a regular basis. My problem is that somewhere along the line I started making nearly all of my base runs easy. I focused mainly on distance with roughly 10% near MP.

If you look at all the examples listed in the comments, they're all still less than 30% of weekly mileage. Daws mentions 30% on the low-end, 40% on the high end. Let's not even get into Lydiard's "as much as possible" statement.

Anonymous said...

No, Daniels and Pfitz don't have M or T paced runs during the base phase. It's mostly easy runs with strides for 5-6 weeks. Both say that if you're going to extend any phase, it should be that base-building phase.

My sense from reading interviews with elites is that very few would do 30-40% of milage at marathon pace or faster, even in a pre-marathon peaking phase. And Daniels' elite program has no more than 25 miles at marathon/tempo pace.

This suggests to me that when Daws suggests running 30-40% of mileage at "near" best aerobic pace in the base phase, that he must mean something a bit slower than actual marathon pace.

For arguments sake, let's say your marathon pace is 6:40 (2:55 marathon), your easy pace is 7:40, and you are running 80 miles a week in your base phase. 30% of that is 24 miles. Doing that at marathon pace is pretty intimidating, but doing 24-32 miles at 7:00-7:10 probably sounds a lot easier when spread out over 5 runs. Right?

If you aren't doing other workouts, then you'll probably find yourself pushing the pace a little and getting down to this kind of pace anyway.

No workouts is key to this -- if you're doing anything anaerobic other than walk-back strides, or pick-ups with long recoveries, you'll be too fatigued to push close to marathon pace.

Chad said...

Good points Evan. While I find Daws a lot easier to understand than Lydiard, he is still vague with some things. Their whole thing is about listening to your body and how you feel rather than doing exactly what is printed in a book. I think that's where their vagueness comes in.

Again, your example of a 2:55 marathoner doing easy runs at 7:40 sounds good. My "problem" is that my easy runs are probably about 30 seconds slower than that. I think that's one of the reasons why I struggled on that run with you and Debbie. You guys are used to pushing the pace, I'm not (unless it's a race).

Intuitively, I think that's one of the reasons the calculators (like McMillan) don't work for me when I jump to the marathon. I don't have enough work "near" marathon pace.

Anonymous said...

We should get together for a run sometime to talk about this. I've been reading Daws too.

Away this weekend but back by late next week.

The way I remember that run with you and Debbie is that she started off a little quicker than I'm used to, and I was struggling until at least 45 minutes into it!

Chad said...

Yeah, but I struggled for 90 minutes. :)