Marathon Base Phase
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jab5161
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Marathon Base Phase

by jab5161 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:23 pm

I saw a post on LRC and I am in a similar position as the OP, so I thought i would ask on here.

I respect Steve Magness a lot as a coach and know that he advocates for some fast running (3-5k pace) running as the first workouts in a marathon block and then rep distance increases as speed decreases. The end of base phase workouts look very similar to a introductory 5k workout.

With that being said, I am pretty sure Tinman's approach to that would be different. I know he says the beginning of marathons should look a lot of 10k training. Does that mean CV and LT repeats right from the beginning that keep progressing until marathon specific work starts? I assume if this was the case, speed would come in 100s and 200s after a CV, LT rep, or Tempo workout.

Curious to hear more thoughts.

dilluh
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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by dilluh » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:29 pm

One should be able to do these things year 'round:

(1) Multi-pace training (a workout faster than LT (CV), a workout slower than LT (tempo), easy runs, very easy runs, strides, hill sprints and fast 200s). "Pure base" phase schemes are a relatively inefficient method at increasing stamina.

(2) Getting in a reasonable long run pretty much every week. It's a low-stress way to keep the mileage up and increase overall aerobic endurance and efficiency.

(3) Maintain week-to-week and month-to-month consistency in total weekly volume - no big dips or peaks. Explore new territory in high mileage conservatively and be willing to drop back to previous mileage levels if it's too much.

(4) Maintain week-to-week and month-to-month consistency in getting in two workouts per week. One could do a 20-30 min tempo workout and a 4-5x1000 CV workout every single week of the year, without break, and not burn out in the slightest - assuming proper paces are employed.

(5) Never neglecting your turnover - always get at least 2-3 sets of strides in every week. "Fast" work doesn't take much effort to add on to the back end of a CV or tempo workout - don't think too hard, just do them. Focus on fast/relaxed running feeling.

The specificity of your race distance and your natural strengths/weaknesses will dictate how one tweaks the workouts as you progress to a key race, but all of the principles still hold - even at the extremes. A marathoner needs to get in at least some running that gets their legs turning over. It might just be a short mid-week session of 5k-effort fartlek, but it's there. A miler still needs to get in mileage and a relaxed/easy long run suits that need. The focuses may change based on event, but the components are all still there.

Where the rubber meets the road is how to formulate a seamlessly changing schedule, from more general to more specific, that gets you into top form for the key race. This is what separates a good coach from the rest. Knowledge of the race, knowledge of the runner and their motivations, their injury and training history, and experience all play a roll in this formulation.

Tinman's underlying principle remains: you have to "keep the ball rolling" to perform your best. Consistency is the "magic" workout.

jab5161
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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by jab5161 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:01 pm

What have you found is the best rule of thumb for threshold reps using this approach?

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by dilluh » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:41 am

It depends on many factors. If we're talking about marathon training, LT reps can get to be a fairly high volume workout component near race date. As an example, 12 weeks from the marathon one might do 4x1200 @ LT. At 2 weeks from marathon, that workout might have progressed into a 2x3 mile or 1x5 mile LT workout. It may not seem like much but 5 miles at LT, in the middle of marathon training, sandwiched into a 14-15 mile run is no joke for most mere mortals. This is not to say CV could not be employed for marathon training - again, it depends on many factors.

If we're talking about 5k/10k training, I think there's more value/efficiency from doing CV workouts rather than LT workouts. Tinman has years and years of real world data to point to the fact that running just a little bit faster than LT, i.e., CV pace, is more effective at bettering your lactate threshold than actual LT-paced running.

jab5161
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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by jab5161 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:24 am

But in a marathon buildup, the idea would be to start broken LT work and progress it right through your marathon program.

For example, you mentioned 4 x 1200 turning into 3 x 2 miles. You just continue to build that out from early on? Does it every have a place in marathon training where LT reps go away?

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by dilluh » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:40 pm

dilluh wrote:This is not to say CV could not be employed for marathon training - again, it depends on many factors.


You could devise a reasonable marathon training plan that had no LT work, just CV work, as the faster than marathon pace workout. The marathon is a weird race - you need both high-end aerobic endurance (stamina) but also fuel efficiency/trauma absorption/muscle fatigue training. Long runs that may or may not include marathon pace work help the latter but those runs require a lot of your energy, and a lot of time, relatively, to recover from. You only have so much energy to expend on training while maintaining consistency. If CV workouts feel "great" to you, then they may be just fine for marathon training. If they don't, then maybe getting those big LT workouts in might be a better route.

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by jab5161 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:30 pm

Would it make sense to limit that work during the specific phase then (last 6-8 weeks)? Or at least cut back on it?

This is from The Science of Running by Magness when he is talking about speed side development during marathon training.

During the specific period, this work needs to be kept to a minimum. The reason is that larger doses of 5k, 10k, and LT work shifts the fuel system to rely more on glycogen. This happens because when running at these faster paces the fuel supply is never the issue; therefore the body is worried about what the best way is to supply energy rapidly, not on how to conserve it for a marathon. Therefore, only short maintenance work should be done.

Magness, Steve. The Science of Running: How to find your limit and train to maximize your performance (Kindle Locations 7221-7225). Origin Press. Kindle Edition.

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by dilluh » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:36 pm

6-8 weeks is a long time to not be doing substantial stamina work. That's all I'll say. Long tapers and/or specific training blocks leading up to the marathon hurt more marathon efforts than they help as I've witnessed from the experiences of 2:25 marathoners all the way to 3:45 marathoners.

You can look up Eliud Kipchoge's weekly training - it is very simple with little variation even up to the final two weeks before the marathon: a long tempo run with tons of work at marathon pace, a track workout with 1k-2k reps that hover around 10k pace, and a fartlek session. Week after week after week right up until about a 7-8 days before the race.

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by jab5161 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:01 pm

My conclusion was just that the work would shift to mostly running at marathon pace, which would be somewhat stamina oriented still, right?

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by fasterthanslow » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:35 pm

My simple take is that since Tinman Tempo pace (about marathon pace for most) provides so many benefits to marathoners and non-marathoners alike, why would anyone want to omit or reduce it? You can get to the overall stress of 80% of VO2max in many different ways. Shorter race distances might require a different approach in order to capture the overall effort level trying to be achieved by the stamina region.

However, if you are planning to race a marathon, I think you need to spend a good amount of time running at that effort. It will help you physiologically, metabolically, structurally and even psychologically when you toe the line.

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by jab5161 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:53 pm

I totally agree.

The effort I am talking about reducing is threshold and faster.

MY opinion is nearly all running in the last 6 weeks or so should be very close to marathon pace.

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by fasterthanslow » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:09 pm

Did you mean to say "....Nearly all hard running..." instead? If so, I agree.

I think that if you are a certain type of runner you can get back with most of your hard running being near marathon pace. However, I think there is enough evidence to say that running above and below race pace is very important. If you were going to eliminate LT, CV (and all the faster paces) from your schedule, I would still say you need a lot of fluid striders and some hill chargers. Muscles need variety for growth. I would also say that you should be doing marathon paced running over hills, regardless of if the race course is flat or hilly. You have to teach your body to apply force to the ground in more ways (and at more angles) than just marathon pace and "easy pace".

My $0.02.

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by jab5161 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:13 pm

That was what I meant, sorry.

All workouts are pretty much right around marathon pace. Not all running - all workout running.

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Re: Marathon Base Phase

by dilluh » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:34 pm

I will accept that the marathon is a bit of an outlier with respect to physiological/metabolic requirements, but I'll still stand behind the idea that multi-pace training which doesn't put too many eggs in one basket, even as one nears a key race, is efficient and effective.

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