Friday, July 07, 2006


Based on yesterday’s post and Mike's comments, I thought I’d briefly recap my training from last winter for the throngs of new readers, those of you that read so many blogs you can’t remember one from the next, and most of all, just to jog my own memory.

Starting last November I made a concerted effort to follow the principles outlined in Ron Daws’ book; Running Your Best. Daws is an advocate of Lydiard’s training. During the initial stages of base building, Daws recommends evenly distributing your effort over the course of the week. For example; if you were running 70 mpw, you’d run 10 miles each day. At this point you forget all about hard/easy days and long runs. Once you reach the maximum mileage you’d like to maintain, hold it there for a week or two to make sure you can handle it – again, evenly distributing your effort. After you’ve done that, you can begin mixing in some hard/easy days, adding a long run, etc.

This worked great for me as I ran more miles than ever for the months of December – March, including taking my weekly all-time high from 85 to 100. This led to two of my fastest races in the last 10 years; a 29:15 8k in March and a 1:17:57 20K in April. These times were run off of just easy base miles and hills. By comparison, I spent the previous summer doing lots of speed work (and not many miles) and closed my season by running 39:02 for 10K. Following Daws’ program, less than 6 months later I’d hold that same pace for 20k.

Naturally, when I mentioned running faster during my training runs in yesterday’s post, Mike was all over it. I didn’t take the time to mention that I still plan on building my mileage back up prior to Chicago. Miles are still king. However, coming off of an injury, I need to be a little cautious. I won’t be following the 10% “rule” or anything like that, but I won’t be going from 32 to 100 in four weeks either.

My main reason for deciding to drop the pace is because, unlike last November, I don’t have the luxury of 8 months till my next marathon. Chicago is just over 3 months away – and approaching quickly.

You can call these runs whatever you want; easy, general aerobic, getting-the-miles-in, etc. I did a little math to see if my training paces are in-line with other runners. Say I currently do these runs at 8:00-8:15 pace. If I drop them to 7:30-7:45, it’d be (based on percentages) like a 2:40 marathoner running 6:40-6:55 or a 4:00 marathoner running 10:05-10:25. Heck, McMillan says a 3:00 marathoner should be running 7:23-7:53 for their easy days, so my times don’t seem out-of-whack.

I had one goal for last night and that was to be in bed by 9 PM. I missed, but only by about 10 minutes. It’s tough going to bed that early when your neighbors are out riding their bike, washing their car, walking the dog, etc. However, if I’m going to build my mileage back up it means getting up by at least 5 AM – and 7 hours of sleep is not going to cut it. Last night I got about 30-45 minutes more sleep than I had been getting and it felt great. This morning I ran 3.5 miles out/up in 27:30 and 3.5 miles back/down in 25:55. Throw in a mile with the dog for a total of 8. That gives me 56 for the week with 1 day left.

Today’s quote of the day is not from our Duncan, but I can see him saying it.

Someone once came up to Duncan MacDonald and said: “I saw you on television and read about you in the newspapers. How do you do it?” MacDonald answered: “I don’t watch television and I don’t read the papers.”


Greg said...

I was never a believer in mileage over speed...until I tried it. This year I have focused mostly on mileage and have just recently started mixing in tempo runs and some other speedwork. The results don't lie. I've PRed in every race I've run so far this year, and that ranges from a 5k to a marathon. It works. Good to see you're willing to give it a shot.

Anonymous said...


My opinion is you can't spend more than a couple more weeks getting your legs under you. Sometimes you have to start running fast a lot in these situations and trust the training you banked earlier. It's not so much about the program now as it is getting your body to run the pace you want to carry for 26.22 miles. You know what you have to do. Jump in. The waters fine.

SRR said...

Hey...did I just miss something? Bob has you linked for the Chicago Marathon. Are you running in it this fall? Oh Goodie!

Ryan said...

The "mileage over speed" is an interested debate. I received advice from a fellow Chicagoan after I told him I was following Pfitz's advice to run the last 25% of my long runs slightly faster than the first 75%. He stressed he was an "even S-L-O-W pace" philosopher. Apparently, he ran heavy mileage and 10:30's on long runs, which lead him to qualify for Boston. Go figure. I'm totally confused now.

Based on what I've read about your injury and your depth in experience, you seem to be ramping up pretty good. I wouldn't let Mike's razzing you change your plan.

Anonymous said...

Henry Rono on Let's Run. Is this a great country or what. God bless the internet, each and everyone. I still have a 70s RW mag w/ Rono/Salazar and the rest of WSU and Oregon runners tearing a$$ over a CC course.

Chad said...

Greg, it's amazing how easy it is to not believe in something we haven't tried.

double, as usual, you're right. I gotta trust that training from last winter. I haven't seen Rono on letsrun yet, I'll check it out.

RR, Chicago will be my 10th marathon, but first time in Chicago.

Ryan, you gotta find what works for you. Running "slow" (8:30 pace) in the winter worked for me. But again, I had lots of time to build my base - plus it's hard to run fast in MN in the winter.

I don't think Mike was razzing me. He just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to just stay at 50 mpw and add in some speed.

Mike said...

Thanks for the McMillan link - that is a pretty cool calculator!
I hear you on sleep..that is definitely my weakness

qcmier said...

Great thoughts, but I'll play devil's advocate and say that I don't believe miles are king.

I'm not really a distance runner, so my opinions probably don't have too much weight.

But I keep the mileage low to keep my legs fresher and more importantly injury free. I did my one and only marathon averaging about 35 mpw and 3-4 days of running workouts (Bike and swam as well)

I felt I could push the pace on those runs without having to worry about coming back for another tough run the next day.

I tried to push the volume up right before taper and ended up with fasciitis right before my race.

Bottom line, I think every athlete must train the way they are comfortable with, but never being so stubborn as to not try something that might help them.