My experiment with all-moderate training

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KTJ
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My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by KTJ » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:34 pm

Situation: 41 years old, male, trying to break 17 minutes for 5K using the all-moderate “Mike” approach.  I’m at 17:30 now.

Background: Ran about 15:55 in college (don’t recall exact time) on the track on 40 miles a week.  Quit running when I was 20. Fast forward a few years: I’ve been doing a who’s who of training approaches, including Tinman, Daniels, etc. 

Current:  I run in the early AM, and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to do intervals anymore.  I don’t enjoy them, never did, so I’m abandoning them in favor of the all-moderate approach that we’ve all read so much about here.

I’ve been doing this for three weeks now.  Note that I have modified it somewhat to include a tempo/speed day, an easy day, and a longish day.  Here is my week:

Monday-Thursday: 1 hour at 7:00 pace. 
Friday:                      Tempo OR 3X1K @ 5K pace (alternating weeks)
Saturday:                 45 minutes easy
Sunday:                    90 minutes at 7:00 pace
  Total: 60-65 mpw

Observations: 
-The daily pace varies a lot, from 6:30-7:20 pace, depending on how I feel, terrain, weather, etc.  But I aim for 7 minutes based on the McMillan calculator.  I don’t time the first 2 miles of each run, using them as a warmup.  At 2 miles, I start the watch and settle into a groove. 
-I enjoy the longish run.  I’ve been doing 12 miles, typically in progression form and usually get down to 6:30 pace the last few miles.  Before, I was doing 14-15 miles (on about 60 mpw), and I think that was too much for that mileage level.
-The Friday tempo is tough.  This morning I did 5 miles at 6:10 pace over a hilly course.  Definitely some residual fatigue from running steady all week versus taking an easy day on Thursday. 
-I’m doing the 3X1K every other week to balance things (based on another post by Tinman) and keep some speed.
-I love this approach.  I run how I feel without worrying about the following day’s training.  I no longer feel the stress and dread of doing mile repeats at 4:30AM in a cold, rainy park.
-Next race is a 5K in a few weeks.  I plan on racing about twice a month most of this year.
-I weigh 148 pounds.  I'm working on getting down to 138 pounds in a couple of months.

Questions:
1) Doubles.  I can squeeze in a few doubles each week.  I was thinking of doing a few shakeout 4 milers.  Is this recommended?
2) My alternating tempo/speed day.  Any thoughts on this?

Thanks, and I will keep you all updated. 

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by ap4305 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:50 pm

[quote="KTJ"]

Questions:
1) Doubles.  I can squeeze in a few doubles each week.  I was thinking of doing a few shakeout 4 milers.  Is this recommended?
2) My alternating tempo/speed day.  Any thoughts on this?

[/quote]

1)  I'd wait and see how your upcoming race(s) plays out.  Something that occasionally happens when people jump on the all-moderate train is they start looking for ways to edge closer back to a normal schedule.  One important concession with the all-moderate approach is that your mileage needs to be below your max tolerance.  Otherwise, with the addition of workouts you can eventually evolve back into a traditional schedule but instead of running easy on your easy days you're running moderate on your easy days because you think you're on an "all-moderate" plan!  If the Friday tempo feels tough under the present circumstances, then I'd wait for more objective feedback in the form of a race result to determine whether modifications are needed.   

2.  Obviously you have gotten sound advice if Tinman gave you the 1ks as a speed day.  Only thing I might consider for modification is that you don't need to alternate on a 1/1 ratio indefinitely.  You might have times based on your long term seasonal plan when a 2/1 (two weeks tempo/one week speed) ratio or some other combination is desired. 
Allan Phillips
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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by KTJ » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:05 am

Thanks for the reply, AP.  I'll hold off from doubles for a while so that I don't over-do things.  My next race is a 5K in two weeks (May 7th).  Next week will be a normal week, and I will do the 3X1K on Friday to add a little zip to my legs.  I should probably add strides a few days a week, but I've neglected to do so.

One thing that occurred to me this morning as I did my easy Saturday 6 miles is that I'm running probably 15-20 miles per week under 7 minute pace, whereas on a 'traditional' schedule I was doing maybe 10 miles a week under 7 minutes.  Of course, some of those miles were MUCH faster intervals, but there is definitely an increase in overall workload with the moderate approach. 

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by Tinman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:56 am

KTJ -

I think you will continue to enjoy the moderate approach to training for races (that last up to about an hour). Essentially, you are performing a combination of the approach my friend Mike used and the one I used during my best year of racing.  Had I been in a better situation - where I didn't have to work very hard, long hours at the hospital, on my feet - I would have run 1 hour per day (so, about 8-9 miles most days, sometimes 10), and probably would have broke 15 minutes in a 5km race. My friend, Mike, and teammate, used a basic 1-hour method for many weeks in a row, and I saw a huge transformation in his racing ability. Mike was a quiet guy and didn't talk about training much, so I had to wait for the right moment to spring a question on him. Two moments in particular I obtained a clear idea of what was going on in his mind, regarding training.

First, Mike didn't like to be controlled. He wanted to just run, not mess around with the team pressure. He was from a family of doctors (I think lawyers too) and felt pressure to perform. Thus, the whole idea of being tasked to hit interval times in a team training atmosphere rubbed him the wrong way. He felt some anxiety and pressure when pressed to run with everyone or at a given pace. He wanted to run as he felt. Second, the enjoyment factor was a big hot-button for Mike. He enjoyed just going for a run, not having to meet anyone else's expectations. On his own or with 1-2 close friends who just wanted to run, Mike was at his best - he was free and enjoyed running.

Second, to Mike running had to be simple. He put on a heart rate monitor and headed out the door. He didn't want to stretch or mess around waiting for team time. He would rather stop in a say hi to the coach and then go for a 10 mile run somewhere.

Third - Running 1 hour every single day, no rest breaks, proved very helpful for control of Mike's weight. He lost fat and became super fit with no days off and just putting in a solid 1-hour run. I believe that part of that success was the consistency (regularity) of training. I think the other part was the mental relaxation of not having to think too much about what was coming next. This goes back to the pressures he felt as a child and young adult. With a simple, solid 1 hour run he had low pressure, and he relaxed. And when Mike relaxed he was incredibly tough to beat. A couple times in particular amazed me, in this regard. At our home meet, the Drew's Invitational cross-country race, he hammered on some very elite D3 guys, and he was so relaxed it was as if the other guys were not in the race. The others, like Tom Morris, struggled to keep up with Mike, and Morris placed 2nd at nationals that year, and he won the track 10,000m title at Nationals.

---------
Le me suggest the following:

1) Continue to NOT time the first couple of miles of any run. This is a progressive warm up period, and focusing on pace is a bad idea.

2) Twice per week you should run easy, regardless of how everything is going for you (even if you are feeling good, it's a good idea to set aside two days when you just run slowly and relax). This will prevent staleness, fatigue from becoming too much, and illness.

3) Continue running hard once per week. That could be any sort of fast continuous (tempo or faster) distance run, hill reps, fartlek, or a simple workout - such as 3 reps of something; like 3 x 1km at 5km pace or faster or 3 x 1 mile or 3 x 1/2 mile at 3k-1500m pace. Just once per week run faster; no more! If you run fast more than once per week while running a moderate pace nearly every other day per week, you will get fried. IF you use rule number two, shown above, and set aside two slow running days per week (in non-succession), you probably can run faster twice per week, but not every week. I would suggest running faster 3-times in a two-week period, provided you run slowly twice per week. IF you don't want to run slowly twice per week, then continue to limit your fast running to just once per week.

4) If you notice that three days in a row your legs are dead, rest for a day or two. You probably are just depleted of carbs and need to restock supplies.

5) After every 5-6 weeks, regardless of how you are doing, ease back for 4-7 days and run slower. You might throw in some 100m striders at 5k-3km speed for coordination and neural "pop," but don't run hard that week.

Take care,

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by KTJ » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:27 pm

Thank you for the detailed reply, Tinman.  As usual, I take away a lot from your posts (as well as AP, Timmins, HRE, RXB, and the other frequent contributors).

A few notes:

1.  I'm finding that I naturally take a couple of easier days per week.  One is obvious: my 45 minute Saturday run.  However, I'm finding that I need to take Thursday a little easier than normal if I want to be able to hammer my Friday tempo. 

2.  I'll take an easy week after my next race (in 2 weeks).  I hadn't thought of taking an easy week, but will do so now per your advice.

3.  I have a lot of energy with this program.  With traditional 2-workout/week schedule, I noticed I was generally more fatigued and ALWAYS more sore.  Before, I always had tired legs and hobbled around the office.  Groin problems had plagued me for 2 years.  In the three weeks I've been just running steady every day, most of those issues are gone. 

4.  I've got to shed a few more pounds!  According to the Daniels book if I lose 8 pounds (I have some extra padding that I could lose) I could drop 30 seconds from my 5K.

5.  There's a guy who lives not far from me who is around 60 years old and still runs 10Ks in the 35 minute range (he used to run 31-32 minutes in his early 40's).  I met him briefly at a road race a year ago and asked about his training.  He said, "I don't have a program.  I just lace up my shoes and head out the door."  I've got the feeling he does a very similar approach as what we're discussing.
Last edited by KTJ on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by Tinman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:35 pm

KTJ -

What is your current racing time (what you can do now) and your weight? Assuming you can lose some fat weight, I can calculate your predicted time at a new weight.

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by BoilerTom90 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:44 pm

[quote="KTJ"]

A few notes:

1.  I'm finding that I naturally take a couple of easier days per week.  One is obvious: my 45 minute Saturday run.  However, I'm finding that I need to take Thursday a little easier than normal if I want to be able to hammer my Friday tempo. 


5.  There's a guy who lives not far from me who is around 60 years old and still runs 10Ks in the 35 minute range (he used to run 31-32 minutes in his early 40's).  I met him briefly at a road race a year ago and asked about his training.  He said, "I don't have a program.  I just lace up my shoes and head out the door."  I've got the feeling he does a very similar approach as what we're discussing.
[/quote]

I'm a bit confused. What does it mean to "Hammer my Friday tempo" in the context of an "all moderate program?" That sounds like that an effort much faster than moderate.

Curious...

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by KTJ » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:50 pm

Good point, Tom.  For me, 'hammer' means *around* 6:10 pace, which I shoot for based on Tinman's charts, McMillan's calculator, etc.  It's not exact, but none of my running is.  That's the beauty of this program.  My tempo is 'comfortably hard' and is something I could do the next day if need be.  I purposely venture out of the comfort zone on Fridays.  In a month, I'm not going to time ANY of my workouts.  I'm going to run 100% by feel. 

Tinman -- my current weight is 148 @  5'9".  I definitely have some padding around the middle that I could stand to lose.  I think 140 is reasonable, and I'd love to hit 138.  I've got to lay off the beer and sweets (no, I don't eat them at the same time!).

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by Tinman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:45 pm

KTJ -

I need your racing time - such as a 5km, to predict a change in performance, along with a weight change of 8lbs.

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by TexNav » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:29 pm

Though I couldn't train this way, and am not suggesting it, it also makes me think of this post/link I copied. What I find interesting is that Rui Lopes's daily training also appears somewhat similar in that no one day was outwardly a lot harder than any other, except of course the workout and/or race. And as it is admitted, the workout does appear "weak" as there is more than a full recovery between workbouts...but who wouldn't need that with the daily LT runs.

http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read. ... 38&page=27

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by Tinman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:41 pm

A huge factor in one's progress is knowing how hard and how often one can run hard in training. This, to me, is even more important than how many miles one runs. It is no coincidence that I seldom allow runners I train to run hard more than twice per week. I simply do not think that more than two hard workouts per week works as good as 1 or 2 per week. As I mentioned before, in a perfect world I would give runners a "hard" workout every 5-days (perhaps 6 or 7 days for older runners).

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by KTJ » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:13 am

I'm in 17:30 shape right now (hilly road courses).

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by Tinman » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:15 am

KTJ -

Provided you don't lose fitness or strength, your 5km racing times will be as follows:

17:30 (148lbs)
17:16 (146lbs)
17:02 (144lbs)
16:49 (142lbs)
16:35 (140lbs)
16:22 (138lbs)

Just remember not to lose weight too fast! I believe 1% of body weight is the maximum for a runner to lose per week. I'd rather see .5%, to be honest, because I think you risk getting sick or injured by dropping weight too fast. Be sure the weight you lose is fat weight, not lean tissue! Always, always consult a medical doctor for guidance, and get a periodic (regular) physical too. Be safe; be smart!

Take care,

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Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by TexNav » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:00 pm

This was a tough link to find, hadn't thought of it for some time until thinking again about the moderate and also Tom's 3-day rotation. Scroll down to read the posts by "ghost" (he also has some of the best postings about others training).

http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read. ... 038&page=1

incarnadine

Re: My experiment with all-moderate training

Post by incarnadine » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:57 pm

Tinman,

Is there a body fat percentage it's unwise to dip below, or at a certain point does weight loss start to sap muscle mass from crucial running musculature?

I don't anticipate really changing my weight much if at all; I've been 135 pounds for a decade, at about 6% fat and 5'7". I am fascinated that such a huge change in speed is predicted for a ten pound loss in weight.

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