DIARY: Miles at the wayside

First two days done, 32.7km lay slain at the wayside and I’m feeling great, so the new program is off to a good start, but not without a few hiccups.

I’ve done both my runs on the treadmill due to the freezing conditions here making quality workouts hard. Monday was a rest day before my 65 minutes aerobic with 10x100m strides interspersed (I calculated that this was 20 seconds at the treadmills maximum speed setting of 12mph/19.33kph).

I misread my instructions a bit, and was running the aerobic element too fast. 4:58min/km would have been adequate but I cruised along at 4:38min/km and felt so good that I did 11 strides instead of 10 doing a total of 14k in 1:05.

I probably paid a little bit for that on my second day: The first of two “medium-long” runs of the week. This week they are both 90 minutes and must be run at the higher end of aerobic spectrum (but slower than marathon and half-marathon race pace, which are also aerobic). My goal pace was 4:28min/km and I was doing well, first hitting 10k in 44:15 (4:26min/km) and still on target after 55 minutes. Then the chain fell off a bit though and I dropped to 5:19-4:58min/km for the last 35 minutes finishing off doing 18.7km/11.6miles (4:49min/km pace).

Sweating buckets seems to be what you do indoors, but my breathing and energy levels were very good and only my adductors seemed very sore which I put down to the skiing and the cross-trainer used last week. Anyway, a terrific start, my injuries are nowhere to be seen, partly thanks to my two new New Balance Ice-pack Straps which I constantly wrap around sore spots and walk around with. Today’s a recovery day, with a leisurely 45-minute run before I repeat today’s workout again tomorrow.

Aerobic Capacity

It only dawns on me now that all this time I have probably not fully utilised my true strength: A huge aerobic capacity. I’ll never be a lactate junkie; I’m not from a miler or team sports background and not genetically built to take huge quantities of lactate. (I should correct myself and note that its not the lactate that causes fatigue and thus you cannot be resistent to it or not, lactate simply correlates with the symptoms of fatigue and therefore serves as a useful phrase for describing the overall effects of non-aerobic running. These are not fully understood, but the main factors are your muscles ability to tolerate damage and your brain's acceptance threshold for the blood levels of the enzyme Interleukin-6 before it starts shutting down motor units, thus triggering the perception of fatigue).

But in training I haven’t really applied myself aerobically except for a brief spell in early 2008. I only realise now just how much quality work can be done with concentrated high-aerobic efforts and how important this is both for the Lydiard system and anyone who preaches its adaptations (such as Mark Wetmore and the authors of “Advanced Marathoning”).

I can only hope that this realisation proves the definitive turning point and helps me unearth my own full potential, and I hope other strongly aerobic runners out there take notice. Fact is, anaerobically talented runners will have an edge in such workouts, and you have to make up ground by doing aerobic workouts of a calibre that would really hurt these same anaerobic runners. So what you lose in one place, you gain back in another….