Winter Base Building

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monica
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Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:44 pm

I think I haven't figured out this one yet. By end of winter I invariably end up with perhaps better paces at lower intensities/heart rates but I don't seem to have the leg stamina for racing a HM (or any other race really). I can't do faster workouts very well either, anything faster than moderate pace and I might start off with great pace at great heart rate but then muscles just start to break down really soon. Or even the initial pace isn't that great because legs might be too stiff for faster pace. So that messes with the chance to set great PR's even though I do improve in the easier paces in training :( What should I change in my training? I know something's off but I don't know enough to fix it. I have several thoughts but not sure what's the actual answer.

Should I accept that losing this kind of stamina is the natural result of base building and then do I just need to add a few weeks of specifically preparing with faster paces and lower mileage before I go for the first race? But then of course I will have less time to do higher mileage base building. Or can I avoid such issues somehow? In that case, my question is the following; what kind of structure should my winter training plan have? My feeling on this is that it should be avoidable. I think I really should feel more springy at moderate or higher intensities even when base building and not feel worn down in any way... I feel so much better in seasons that are a bit lower mileage with some faster runs and I want to keep feeling this way in base build too if possible.

A bit of background data: 30yr old female, been running for 4 years (no sports before that ever), I can do ~20min 5K, perhaps a bit faster than that, sub-42 10K. I currently find that I thrive really well on 2 fast workouts + couple of really easy runs + one progression LR, 5 runs a week ~35mpw.

I have never been able to maintain substantially more than that for more than a couple weeks though. With the faster sessions in racing seasons I simply felt that I shouldn't attempt going higher mileage as it all just felt optimal at 35-ish... and when I try base building then I just dunno, something would always come up, usually I just started feeling slightly run down at around 40-45mpw unless it was *all* very easy miles but then the problem was that I didn't get faster/better at all. The 100% very easy miles at recovery pace are great, I feel good, I stay "springy" but I obviously want to improve too! I think I just need to find a balanced way of base build, some good mix of easy runs and something faster so I don't lose the stamina for higher than moderate intensities and don't overload myself, instead I want to find the optimal training load.

Goals, I would like to go higher with mileage and keep that higher mileage consistently and of course get the aerobic benefits from it, I want to get faster at every distance from 5K to HM (and then later want fast marathon too, have run 1 marathon so far).
Last edited by monica on Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

monica
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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:03 pm

Let me add, I've checked out the articles section and I might try that ATR workout along with the 12k-20k paced intervals but the article wasn't really specific on the easy paces. Would all of it be "very easy" or some of it simply easy or even moderate? Possibly my problem is at least partly to do with doing too much at some pace between "very easy" and moderate pace. Not sure though... because I wasn't doing fast workouts so there was not much to recover from so I should have been able to take those runs? I need to understand more about how much load those mid-easy paces mean.

Btw I call that "very easy pace" in the pace charts my recovery pace and I must say the chart is totally spot on for my recovery/very easy pace going by 20min 5K time! :)

PS: I wonder, is the verification request on every post only temporary and disappears after a few posts or something? I hope so :o
Last edited by monica on Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by Linus » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:30 pm

Hi monica,
I think you need stamina work during base training to. I had problem with a bursitis for a couple of month and could only run slow. My performance level dropped a lot. I can now do CV and tempos again and my performance is going up. To build up endurance in the intermediate muscle fibers is one key in improving performance, to skip that during base training is not a good thing.

Check this http://www.therunzone.com//viewtopic.php?t=0

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:25 am

[quote="Linus"]
Hi monica,
I think you need stamina work during base training to. I had problem with a bursitis for a couple of month and could only run slow. My performance level dropped a lot. I can now do CV and tempos again and my performance is going up. To build up endurance in the intermediate muscle fibers is one key in improving performance, to skip that during base training is not a good thing.

Check this http://www.therunzone.com//viewtopic.php?t=0
[/quote]


thank you :)

Yes that makes sense. I think I just need to make sure that if I add such things then I keep the easy runs truly easy.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by dkggpeters » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:09 am

If you neglect the quality workouts over base building then your speed and stamina will decrease as is expected.  The good news is that these will come back fairly quickly once you incorporate them back in.  There are pros and cons to doing quality all year round which you may want to consider if you want to always be able to race very well.

1.)  Burnout can occur from doing to much quality.  You will really need to learn to walk that fine line.  Running the correct paces and intensities is a must.  Do not race those workouts (this applies no matter what method you use but is really critical if you do quality year round).  I personally like having the month or two after a marathon of just easy running.
2.)  You may feel like you are grinding all year and seeing small improvements.  Granted, losing that speed and stamina during easy base building may not provide any better PR's but you will see improvement in speed and stamina because you lost some of it.  This can be motivating as the improvement is really noticeable.
3.)  Doing faster running all year round could increase your risk of injury.

You need to find what works for you.  I know a lot of people want every race to be a PR potential which can be mentally draining as well.  I like to use my races prior to my A event as a gauge as to where my fitness is at and am not concerned about PR's.

Dave

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:54 pm

Thank you a lot for your reply! :)

Yes I'm sure stamina/speed decreases but how about general muscle issues? I see that in base building you're supposed to do some tempos and maybe these CV intervals fartlek etc. The problem is, I may not be able to do them at all if I try to get the mileage higher than about 34-35mpw unless I do all the rest very easy just like in racing season. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to do the base building like that too...?

In the initial post in this thread, I didn't go into details too deep but I also have the problem of failing even at easy runs if things get really bad in base building. I only complained about not being able to do higher intensities in the first post, but that's actually a manageable thing I guess you're right about that. The issue with easier paces is a different and bigger problem for me. That to me sounds like the bad kind of overreaching but I just don't understand why that would happen in base building.

Case in point; I'm finally past the marathon I think (30mpw mostly easy stuff for some weeks). So now I wanted to start real base building. I tried going just a tiny little bit higher than 35mpw two weeks ago. My last two weeks were 39 and 38 miles respectively. However, I could not finish the second week without this annoying muscle problem. I had the long run last Sunday, I was running easy, and yet I could not go without muscle pain after about 4-5 miles. I was far from home, no way to get home, it was too cold weather for walking so I kept running but the last 30 minutes I could only do with three short (~50sec) stops to make the pain go away temporarily. It's then pain free for a few minutes then starts to get worse again. My heart rate was also low, I couldn't really even think of pushing it higher, not that I wanted to anyway. That was true for running on flat roads at least. At the end of this long run, I had to run up a big hill (more than a mile long and it's a pretty decent grade!), going uphill I was able to push up heart rate to an extent without pain. So it's not about being low on calories or anything, I think. More like some kind of fatigue in certain parts in the muscles I dunno though.

I hate this. And I'm totally fed up with this. What's this, a built-in hard limit at 35 miles specifically for base building?

I am going to call this a paradox. Because, I was able to do more than 35 miles per week in racing season without issues (I did 38-39 miles for a few weeks), that was really simple, I did two hard runs (intervals tempo whatnot), I did two easy runs, I did a long run (easy and pick up for last few miles). 5 runs a week. I was happy with that, muscles were happy, and I was improving, had big jump up in level of fitness.

The base building is still 5 days of running a week. No true hard runs. Still two easy runs and the long run mostly easy too just like in racing season. The rest of the runs moderately easy, when slightly faster, it's not ever really faster than marathon pace in this early phase of base building. Seems to me like it's not too much. I must be doing it wrong somewhere though and it IS too much in some way. Or actually the opposite, too little?? I know though that I never had this issue on lower mileage. I just don't get this.

What I also don't get is this, the first week of these two first "higher mileage" base building weeks, I did a bit more intensity than in the second week. I didn't have a problem first week but just to be sure (still had a slight nag of a little "injury" as well, that's gone since then), second week I decreased the intensity, so it was easier overall than first week. So why this then? :/

Okay, sorry for the rant... But this is now a very fresh experience with yet again failing at this. And it's also frustrating that no one ever could so far explain what the hell's going on with me about that. Maybe I have some special problem genetically. -.-

Ok, don't take those last words seriously, I do believe I can fix this, I just don't have any idea about how...

PS: You raised a point about some people always trying to PR in races. Well I'm still a beginner enough to expect that for myself but yeah I'm sure I'll get to a point eventually where I can't expect big PR's that easily. I just hope I'll be fast enough by then ;)



[quote="dkggpeters"]
If you neglect the quality workouts over base building then your speed and stamina will decrease as is expected.  The good news is that these will come back fairly quickly once you incorporate them back in.  There are pros and cons to doing quality all year round which you may want to consider if you want to always be able to race very well.

1.)  Burnout can occur from doing to much quality.  You will really need to learn to walk that fine line.  Running the correct paces and intensities is a must.  Do not race those workouts (this applies no matter what method you use but is really critical if you do quality year round).  I personally like having the month or two after a marathon of just easy running.
2.)  You may feel like you are grinding all year and seeing small improvements.  Granted, losing that speed and stamina during easy base building may not provide any better PR's but you will see improvement in speed and stamina because you lost some of it.  This can be motivating as the improvement is really noticeable.
3.)  Doing faster running all year round could increase your risk of injury.

You need to find what works for you.  I know a lot of people want every race to be a PR potential which can be mentally draining as well.  I like to use my races prior to my A event as a gauge as to where my fitness is at and am not concerned about PR's.

Dave
[/quote]
Last edited by monica on Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FTIR
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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by FTIR » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:18 am

I really don't think there is any difference between a 35 and a 38 mile week.  That is to say, you should be able to alternate 35 and 38 mile weeks and never know which week you are going to end up with which number.

What else has changed?

Is the ground frozen?  Are your shoes getting old?  Did you change the time of day you are running?

Just like you need to warmup for a hard workout, you may need to have a couple of days of strides during base building to make sure your muscles don't tighten up.  There is no better stretch for running than running fast and easy for a short while.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by Captainblood » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:52 am

FTIR has a good point with the shoes.  A lot of runners don't realize that when the shoes go the body feels it.  After 400 miles my tendons start to get sore and I know it is time to change shoes.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by dkggpeters » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:57 am

Monica,

How long ago did you do your marathon?

I know some people that can start doing quality again fairly quickly after running a marathon.  After I ran Boston last year I had zero desire to do any hard running for about 6 weeks afterwards so I didn't and just ran.  I didn't plan any hard efforts and if I felt good one day then I would do an impromptu progression run usually finishing slower than MP.  I quit looking at what others were doing and listened to my body.

I agree with FTIR as your body shouldn't be able to really notice the difference between 35 and 38 mile weeks.  Some things to check is are you burnt out?  Maybe your body is just tired and you are to close to the marathon date and need time?  Trying to force things when you are not ready can be frustrating and unmotivating.  Is it due to weather?  Some folks have a hard time running in cold weather and some thrive on it.  Are you running your easy runs to hard?  I know that I have been caught in this trap repeatably.  What I used to define as easy was not easy at all.  It is hard to really gauge what easy is as it can be subjective.  I know a lot of people that run training sessions in which I would call moderate pace and they call it easy.  I am also 15 to 20 minutes faster then them on the marathon.  I still think I run my easy runs to fast.

Like I stated, for a while after my marathon just running MP felt unusually hard even for a short period of time.  I remember thinking, I ran that for 26 miles and felt like I was struggling at 1/2 mile.  In training I had no problem running 20+ with 10+ at MP on Saturday and turn around on Sunday and run 13 to 15 at a moderate pace.  Racing a marathon just takes a lot out of me.  I just didn't force it and waited until my body told me it was time to start running fast again.  Everyone has their own timetable as to how long they need to wait after a marathon before they can proceed with hard training again.

Part of it may be mental fatigue rather then physical fatigue as well.  Running hard all the time can take it's toll mentally as well.  If you run your hard efforts to hard or race to often this can happen easily.  Sometimes you just go through a rough patch for a week or two that there is no explanation at all and then one day everything feels good again.

Just run for 2 or 3 weeks without worrying about running fast runs and you may find after a week or two that a switch will flip and things will feel easy again.  Just taking off the pressure and not worrying about pace etc can do wonders.

Dave

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:38 pm

[quote="FTIR"]
I really don't think there is any difference between a 35 and a 38 mile week.  That is to say, you should be able to alternate 35 and 38 mile weeks and never know which week you are going to end up with which number.

What else has changed?

Is the ground frozen?  Are your shoes getting old?  Did you change the time of day you are running?

Just like you need to warmup for a hard workout, you may need to have a couple of days of strides during base building to make sure your muscles don't tighten up.  There is no better stretch for running than running fast and easy for a short while.
[/quote]

Thanks so much for the replies :)

Yeah, I was not totally serious about the limit thing being exactly 35 miles but it does seem like there's some sort of limit for some reason.

Here's my replies to the questions:

What changed is structure of training plan. And weather is colder. The ground is not frozen, we haven't had snow yet, just plain cold weather. However you do have a good point, I think I run into this limit more easily in winter compared to summer. I'm not sure why.

As for the shoes, some are old, some aren't, I have never seen a relation to shoes though. This is a muscle issue, not a tendon issue. Specifically front of thigh muscles (front and a bit to the side maybe). It's almost always that muscle. Time of day varies by default, I haven't seen a connection to that.

As for strides, I actually introduced some strides in this second week. I enjoyed these strides, and I don't think I overdid it...?

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:51 pm

I did the marathon about 2 months ago (13th Oct). I had a really bad day that day so the marathon wasn't done to my full ability, I could not do the pace I normally could, and so in the second half I didn't force myself to go for best possible time (5 mins slower second half than first half). Had no problem with it otherwise. At the end, I could sprint to the finish line and I kind of didn't realize I ran a full marathon. I still don't. :) It was too easy in that sense, or I dunno. It just wasn't a full race effort though if you get what I mean. Even though I felt shit in a way, had a cold coming out before it and for some reason I could not even eat anything during the race. I did have sore muscles for a couple of days after marathon but nothing crazy.

Afterwards, I did 5 weeks of about 30mpw, not very structured training. By the end of that I felt like my paces, muscle feedback related to pace (=how easy it feels muscle wise), and especially consistency in pace were back to normal. During those weeks, I could sometimes have a good day with pace and effort and sometimes a bad day. I wasn't worried because I understood that was because of the marathon. These issues were gone by 5th week.

So 30mpw without hard workouts wasn't a lot for me, I don't feel burnt out or tired. I didn't really have other races either in the last few months because of preparing for the marathon (just one half marathon ran at 95% effort). Also this problem is definitely not related to marathon, I have struggled with it for years. Usually in winter because that's when I try to do higher mileage but I just can't seem to increase mileage compared to race season, unless it's all very easy miles. I dunno though, in summer I do seem to be able to do this a bit better. I have seen the issue in summer but it was after higher load than in winter so I'm not complaining about summer now, just winter :).

I like the cold weather otherwise, psychologically no issue with it :). I also don't believe that it'd be mental fatigue after just doing two weeks of "higher mileage". I enjoy it mentally. E.g. I really enjoyed this new route I wanted to run for this long run that turned out so bad :( I really enjoyed running easy until the pain came.

As for what is easy; that's a good point. In this bad long run, I was running at about 72-73% of maxHR if that helps. It feels pretty easy to me. I do this 72-73% for easy runs in racing season and it allows me to fully recover for the hard runs.

I'm not worried about pace right now (paces are actually pretty nice since I finally recovered from marathon). I'm worried about how I can't figure out what this thing is. It seems like I cannot take the load for base building that other runners can. They can run quite some miles at "plain easy" instead of "very easy", able to mix the two together and yet keeping high mileage, perhaps even running everyday. I can't mix them like that with high mileage. Sure, at 30mpw and 4 days of running I could do that but that's not a lot of running then.

So I wondered... Should I run just all very easy miles for entire base building? Could it just be that it can take years to be able to incorporate some moderate workouts into that? Or am I simply doing something wrong? I would like to know what the case is, because then I can take action based on that. :)

PS: "very easy" = this 70%-ish HR. Usually around 72-73% though; Then, "plain easy" = 75-80%-ish, up to 85% sometimes. All of it slower than marathon pace.


[quote="dkggpeters"]
Monica,

How long ago did you do your marathon?

I know some people that can start doing quality again fairly quickly after running a marathon.  After I ran Boston last year I had zero desire to do any hard running for about 6 weeks afterwards so I didn't and just ran.  I didn't plan any hard efforts and if I felt good one day then I would do an impromptu progression run usually finishing slower than MP.  I quit looking at what others were doing and listened to my body.

I agree with FTIR as your body shouldn't be able to really notice the difference between 35 and 38 mile weeks.  Some things to check is are you burnt out?  Maybe your body is just tired and you are to close to the marathon date and need time?  Trying to force things when you are not ready can be frustrating and unmotivating.  Is it due to weather?  Some folks have a hard time running in cold weather and some thrive on it.  Are you running your easy runs to hard?  I know that I have been caught in this trap repeatably.  What I used to define as easy was not easy at all.  It is hard to really gauge what easy is as it can be subjective.  I know a lot of people that run training sessions in which I would call moderate pace and they call it easy.  I am also 15 to 20 minutes faster then them on the marathon.  I still think I run my easy runs to fast.

Like I stated, for a while after my marathon just running MP felt unusually hard even for a short period of time.  I remember thinking, I ran that for 26 miles and felt like I was struggling at 1/2 mile.  In training I had no problem running 20+ with 10+ at MP on Saturday and turn around on Sunday and run 13 to 15 at a moderate pace.  Racing a marathon just takes a lot out of me.  I just didn't force it and waited until my body told me it was time to start running fast again.  Everyone has their own timetable as to how long they need to wait after a marathon before they can proceed with hard training again.

Part of it may be mental fatigue rather then physical fatigue as well.  Running hard all the time can take it's toll mentally as well.  If you run your hard efforts to hard or race to often this can happen easily.  Sometimes you just go through a rough patch for a week or two that there is no explanation at all and then one day everything feels good again.

Just run for 2 or 3 weeks without worrying about running fast runs and you may find after a week or two that a switch will flip and things will feel easy again.  Just taking off the pressure and not worrying about pace etc can do wonders.

Dave
[/quote]
Last edited by monica on Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:59 pm

Just one last post for now. I found it interesting how on Saturday my legs were still fine; I did 53 mins of easy (around 76-77% maxHR) with some really short strides at the end (I didn't have time for more :( ). It was also done uphill, those quick "sprints". The run itself was mostly on flat roads. Pace/HR relationship was normal, legs were alright with this low intensity. Then Sunday, running 4-5miles at even lower intensity, and thighs were suddenly just turning toast. After about 40 minutes or so. Oh and Friday was an off day.

I don't get that. Is it some kind of delayed fatigue or is it something else?

Since then I ran on Tuesday, at 72-73% less than 50 minutes, I was OK, legs felt "springy" for that pace, though if I was going slightly uphill and so HR went up a bit (into range of 75-76%), I felt a bit of muscle soreness still and no longer "springy" feeling. Muscles back to normal though when HR lowered back to the 72-73% range. Thursday was the same run, same HR, same pace, almost same length/time, same time of day, muscles weren't as great though it was manageable, a bit of burning in thigh at about 30mins, it got better after that (found a better rhythm? not sure - I didn't really slow down). It got to be same pace/HR as on Tuesday because I didn't feel I could run any faster without issue. So, I don't think the problem is gone. Had Wednesday off just in case.. and of course Monday was an off day too.

PS: I guess there is a difference between 34 (less than 35) and 38-39 miles, it's more than 10%, and if 34 is the optimal load then 39 will be too much. I'm not saying 34 miles is optimal load for me in base build period. In race season 38-39 seemed like the optimal number though. So, my problem is more this, why should I only be able to do lower mileage (<35) in base building?
Last edited by monica on Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:29 pm

Update on my issue: so, I ran only twice this week so far and only short and easy. Result? Today (Friday) I have some slight soreness in the anterior thigh muscles that's almost like DOMS, just quite a bit less strong than DOMS.

Didn't have this until today.

Anyone got an idea why?

PS: I've been taking iron, vitamin D, protein for quite a while now so it's none of those.
Last edited by monica on Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by dkggpeters » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:24 am

Also, not sure if it was mentioned but get bloodwork done to check if you are anemic.  I was diagnosed as being anemic  about 2 years ago and once I took supplementation for it my training took off in a big time way.  My doctors were really concerned with me being anemic as I am a male and they told me that it is rare for males in western societies to be anemic as a lot of food is fortified with iron making it hard to be deficient.  I was able to increase my weekly mileage dramatically over the 2 year period from 50 MPW to 90 to 100 MPW and the intensity and volume on quality days jumped up even higher.

It was night and day for me and easy to do.

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Re: Winter Base Building

Post by monica » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:14 pm

[quote="dkggpeters"]
Also, not sure if it was mentioned but get bloodwork done to check if you are anemic.  I was diagnosed as being anemic  about 2 years ago and once I took supplementation for it my training took off in a big time way.  My doctors were really concerned with me being anemic as I am a male and they told me that it is rare for males in western societies to be anemic as a lot of food is fortified with iron making it hard to be deficient.  I was able to increase my weekly mileage dramatically over the 2 year period from 50 MPW to 90 to 100 MPW and the intensity and volume on quality days jumped up even higher.

It was night and day for me and easy to do.
[/quote]

I'm not anemic since I've been taking iron. This is exactly why I mentioned it, excluding it as the reason.

Btw in my country food is not fortified with iron and I'm female and I don't like to eat much meat so none of that helps. I find that with regular running I absolutely must take iron supplements in a pretty large dose to keep the hemoglobin levels and also iron stores (ferritin) stable. I found that interesting, how without supplement iron stores would deplete so fast just because of the running. But I guess that issue is sorted since I'm taking supplements.

Thanks anyway :)

Btw I ran on Saturday, I went for hills, not low HR, not short. I was fine so maybe I recovered from who knows whatever it is. I'm going to try and add some slightly faster paces next week, maybe that's what I need, with the other runs being very easy to make sure recovery is okay. This would be a bit like the race season training but the workouts would of course not be hard like that at all (it would be stuff like on this site, CV, tempo, whatnot) and I hope I can get the mileage up that way because it would force me to run very easy on all the other days.

This idea of doing moderately easy runs a bit more often than hard workouts in race season seems no good for me, I can't do more of these than interval workouts. You'd think I would recover faster from moderately easy (=anything from slightly faster than recovery pace up to marathon pace), but my guess is the problem is that I just don't.

I hope that makes sense. ??? What do you think?

Also, how often do you go any faster than recovery pace in those 90mpw base building weeks? How many times a week? Say, your recovery pace is X min/mile and marathon pace is Y min/mile, and so the question is, how often do you run in the range between X and Y paces? How many days a week and how much total mileage of those runs?

Thanks. :)

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