Tempo duration

Featuring TheRunZone?s resident coach Tinman. All participants are welcome to post and reply to topics in this section whether you?re looking for advice, or sharing your own coaching experience.

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tcl
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:54 am

I was trying to use your example of "Tim," who seems to be a 16-minute 5K runner (I'm going on the simplistic logic that 5 x 1K at his 5K pace yields 16 minutes of work). My conjecture is that if you're trying to get a similar stimulus for oxidative FT fibers with reps at 5K, CV, or HM pace, at a similar effort cost, you might want to use different rep lengths. The differences among the various workouts might then have to do with what other fibers are being stimulated as well (more FT glycolytic with the 5K pace work, more ST with the HM paced work, I assume). I appreciate any thoughts you might have.

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:17 pm

TCl,
I need to know the exact recovery time between reps in order to calculatr total training stress.
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:20 pm

Tinman,
I suppose if I were designing the workouts I might figure something around 90 seconds recovery across the board (on the rough assumption that 4:30 @ 20K, 3:15 @ 10K, and 2:15 5K might all require similar recovery). However, my real question is whether tinkering with rep length and recovery length can result in workouts at 5K pace, 10K pace, and 20K pace that provide comparable oxidative FT fiber stimulus at comparable cost in effort. Or, on the contrary, whether reps at (say) 5K are inherently too fast to provide adequate stimulus before exhaustion or injury risk curtails the workout. This latter is what I understood you to imply with your "Tim" example, though I may have misunderstood you. Thanks for your attention to this question!

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:13 pm

I am typing on a smartphone until next Tuesday, so my replies must be concise.
Total stress can be different than acute stress that stimulates oxidative capacity of muscle fibers. However, in the range of paces above 2k pace, oxidative enhancement is created by the combination of intensity, duration, recovery, and frequency.
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:35 pm

1) 9.7 points
2) 13.9 points
3) 18.4 points
4) 14.6 points
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:22 am

Thanks, Tinman. I look forward to your elucidation of these numbers, whenever you get the chance.

In the meantime, is anyone else familiar with 1) these numbers and their meaning, or 2) the optimization of oxidative FT (IIa) stimulation in a given workout?

On 1), the units appear to be different from those given for "Tim" in Tinman's initial example. In that example, "total stress units" were 148.8 for 5 x 1K @ 5K effort and 182 for 8 x 1K @ 10K. These appear to be of a different magnitude from the 9.7, 13.9, 18.4, and 14.6 that Tinman has posted above. On the other hand, those also don't quite seem right for units of stimulation RATE (per minute) either. "Tim's" values were 9.3 and 7 for 5K and 10K pace, respectively. It's hard to understand how the stimulation rate for 4:30 reps @ threshold/20K could be as high as 18.4 (and perhaps even harder to see how the rate--as distinct from total load--could be greater for 20K paced work than for 5K paced worked).

Of course, the use for most of us will be heuristic rather than scientific. That's why the real question for us should probably be 2) (optimization). I think Tinman introduced the numbers as a way to help us understand the concept that a) total stimulus can be compared across workouts involving different paces, and b) there is potential advantage to be gained in the tradeoffs between intensity and volume.

Intuition would suggest that these tradeoffs might occur in either direction within a range of (say) marathon to 2K pace. Short of a master-formula encompassing intensity, duration, frequency, recovery, initial fitness, and probably some other parameters as well, the best we can do is to compare individual workouts. That's what Tinman was doing with 5 x 1K @5K and 8 x 1K @10K. My question is prompted by the notion that repeat 1Ks may well be an optimal way to accumulate volume of stimulus at 10K pace, whereas repeat 1Ks may not be an optimal way to accumulate volume of stimulus at 5K pace. Perhaps better to compare 1K reps at 10K and, say, 700m reps at 5K?

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:14 pm

New formula but equal relative rating system. The results provided are totals per workout.
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:04 pm

Thank you. That's certainly counterintuitive for me, assuming that your figures are in the same order as the workouts I listed. If I compare the first and third workouts:

8 x 2:15 @ 5K pace = 18 minutes of work = 9.7 workout points
8 x 4:30 @ 20K pace = 36 minutes of work = 18.4 workout point

it seems that doubling the amount of work time yields very close to double the amount of workout points, and that a rather significant difference in pace is therefore nearly irrelevant to the total stimulus. Presumably if "Tim" cranked out 16 x 2:15 @ 5K effort in a Herculean effort, and didn't break down, he would amass 9.7 x 2 = 19.4 points--only one more point than he would get from the far more humane 8 x 4:30 @ 20K.

If you're not fed up with this line of inquiry and would entertain one last scenario, how many IIa stimulus points would "Tim" get from a workout consisting of 8 x 6 minutes @ marathon pace (as always, 90 seconds' rest)? I hope it goes without saying you should respond only if interested and when convenient.

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:45 pm

22.2 pts
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:31 pm

Thanks, Tinman.
Does anyone else find this fascinating? Given that these seem to me, anyway, to be more or less equivalent workouts in terms of stress, it's hard to imagine why you'd ever choose anything for year-round training but marathon paced reps, striders for coordination, and perhaps some hills for power/strength, except for specific race preparation. Marathon-paced reps give you better IIa stimulus (because you can safely perform greater volume in a workout) than 10K pace, and surely they also give better slow-twitch stimulus for the same reason. I must be missing something obvious--where is the advantage of CV/10K pace, or indeed of training across a spectrum of paces? Tinman is working from a smart phone and unable to type extensively; perhaps someone else can help me out here.

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:00 pm

I  never said that stress points per workout were only for type IIa muscle fibers.
The stress points were for the total impact of the workouts analyzed.
Marathon Pace per unit time doesn't impact type IIa fibers as much as somewhat faster paces.
Your ideal stressor of type IIa fibers is 82%-92% of velocity of V.O2 max. That's a tempo pace to
about 10k pace. Per minute, you get more impact on type IIa fibers running CV or Threshold pace.
Note that you cannot limit your focus of training to type IIa fibers. Some workouts must focus on those
fibers, but other workouts must focus on type I fibers, and if you want to sprint you need to focus some
training on type IIx fibers (short, fast, and with a lot of rest between reps).

However, it's very interesting to analyze workouts and know the impact of them, relative to other workouts.
You might learn, for example, that a solid 90-minute run is more stressful than a 1 hour run with 20 minutes of intervals included.
If you want to excel to your highest level, either get a coach who can analyze workouts well and prescribe appropriate intensities, durations, and frequencies, or have someone analyze your training and provide you with specific feedback.

As I ponder this whole topic, I wonder about offering a service for runners or coaches who think having accurate analysis of training employed would be useful. Certainly, one might be able to identify trends in performance due to stress applied from workouts. By the way, I can analyze any type of running training. Distance runs, tempos, intervals, you name it. I'd like some feedback before I go ahead and offer the service. Is there an interest?

Regards,

Tinman
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:37 pm

Thank you. In the example with "Tim," you said the numbers referred to stress on his intermediate fibers, so I figured that's what we were still talking about. Perhaps that's a difference between your initial scoring system (with values of 100-plus) and the second (values in the teens and twenties) I apologize for being dense about that.

The service you suggest sounds intriguing. Personally I would not take it up--something stubbornly amateur about my running, joy of discovery, making my own dumb mistakes, bounce ideas off fellow runners, etc. But I'll tell you one thing: if I were a high school coach, I would consider it very seriously.

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:34 pm

tcl -

If you really just want to learn from your errors, then why did you ask me to calculate the numbers for workouts and compare them? 

Take care,

Tinman
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:37 pm

Based on emails, since I posted the service I may offer, there is an interest. Runners want to know how one workout or distance run compares to another. According to one runner, "I never know if the workout I just ran is really that hard or not. Sometimes I'm totally exhausted after a workout and I think I'm not very fit. Now I wonder if the workout was really hard." Another runner said, "Maybe that 10-mile tempo run I did  last Tuesday was harder than the 800s I did yesterday at 5k pace? Can you really tell me which one was harder and by how much?"  The answer is yes, I can tell which one was harder, and I can tell you by how much.

Regarding analysis of workout stress levels, I am thinking about doing is creating a comparison matrix for runners. Basically, I would use a time-frame, like a calendar month, and then rate each workout or distance run relative to the highest stressor of the month. Or, I could rate all workouts relative to a race. For example, a 5k race might score 15 points and equal 100% stress. Then, all workouts or distance runs could be compared to that race or 100% value.

Input or ideas from others are welcome!

Take care,

Tom
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:22 pm

Tinman,

I think you introduced a hypothetical example ("Tim") and two workouts, with numeric scores for each, to illustrate how you think about the costs and benefits of two kinds of workouts. A small picture to illustrate a larger point, as it were. Since something about that small picture seemed odd to me, I asked if you were willing to fill in a bit more of the picture, with scores for more example workouts. I assumed this was part of a general discussion of training principles, not a blueprint for me personally (or anyone else) to follow. Indeed, all of the workouts I suggested are somewhat too hard for me; I'm more of a 17-minute 5K guy at the moment. I put them forward because they seemed to me, intuitively, to be equally demanding. I'm more than willing to defer to your opinion that they aren't, but to me it's still a conversation about training principles (something that interests me) rather than individualized analysis (something I'm keen to carry out on myself, notwithstanding likely mistakes and inefficiencies).

However, I gather I've encroached on your generosity. Your posts contain the most helpful information and explanations that I've found anywhere on the web or in print, and I'm very sorry if I have overstepped. Be assured I will desist. I do, though, want to say I'm delighted but not surprised that you've already had positive responses to your proposed service; I'm sure the people who use it will benefit significantly.

Best wishes, and apologies for the questions.

tcl

-------

tcl -

If you really just want to learn from your errors, then why did you ask me to calculate the numbers for workouts and compare them?

Take care,

Tinman

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