Observations

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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BoilerTom90
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Re: Observations

Post by BoilerTom90 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:46 pm

Monica,

There are many factors to recoverabilty. Genetics, age, sleep, diet/nutrition, stress from job/home/relationships, etc.

When I was younger and competing, I never felt like I was one to recover quickly from workouts either so I can relate to what you're saying.  Looking back, I believe my biggest problems were running too fast on easy days, not enough sleep, and a lousy diet.

You really to find what works for you. If you can recover from 2 but not 3 hard workouts, perhaps that just means you need to scale back the amount of hard stuff in each of the 3 workouts to be no more than what you did in the 2.  I don't know if there's a benefit in 3 vs 2 workouts if the net amount of quality is the same. 

You could try a little experiment. If for example, in a given week you were going to 2 hard workouts consisting of a total of 3 miles of CV pace, and 5 miles of TT pace.  Try splitting that workout 3 ways (#1 - 2 miles of CV, #2 - 1 mile of CV and 2 miles of TT, #3 - 3 miles of TT).  The thinking here is that you're spreading that same amount of stress over 3 workouts instead of 2 and you won't be as beat up after each one.  Plus, if you give your body little amounts of stress more often, it might learn to adapt in different ways (just a theory, but I could be all wet).

Tinman originally trained me with the 2 workout approach, and that worked well. After a few cycles, and before my major injury last year, he switched to the 3 workout model and that also worked well. In fact, my times dropped even more with the 3 workout model.

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Re: Observations

Post by FTIR » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:01 pm

Monica,

Having read Tinman's post below, it is also possible I am mistaking creakiness for incomplete recovery....

I think age has made me more sensitive to when I am overdoing it, but that is more because 25 years ago, nothing suggested in the slightest I was overdoing it until I would wake up sick.

Previously on the thread about you not being able to do more than 30 odd miles per week, did you describe how you KNOW you are breaking down?

For example, many days I have walked around thinking, there is no way I'm going to be able to run tomorrow.  As I go to bed, I'm sure I will get up and not be able to move the potentially injured leg.  All night, it can annoy me and even walking up the stairs to check the temperature when I get up, doesn't have to go well.  I get dressed, walk to the end of the street, start jogging around the block and by a mile everything is starting to warm up and I'm wondering what I was worried about. 

My normal warmup at 5:15 am is 3 miles and includes some tempo pace strides because I know as I approach 50 some things are just creaky but not broken.  Now a couple months back, after a walking warmup, when it felt like someone was stabbing my outer thigh when I tried to run, that was a clear sign of breakdown and I saw my doctor and hired Tinman to get me back on track.

Is it possible you are confusing breakdown with soreness/creakiness?
Last edited by FTIR on Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Observations

Post by Tinman » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:02 pm

Monica,

I know you are frustrated. However, but let's be real and deal with your (own) situation, not others.

# 1. Forget about what other people can do. They are not you! Deal with your needs only. If you need several days to recover from a workout, even when the workout is sensible / appropriate, then run easy or take as many rest days between your workouts as you need. I've given the same advice for 30 years: focus on yourself.

# 2. Setting aside your natural rate of recovery, which may be slower or take longer than other people's rates, evaluate the factors that may lengthen (or shorten) YOUR rate of recovery. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating right? Do you drink too much coffee, which drains your body of iron and magnesium!

No matter how you look at it, lifestyle details are your (singular) domain. If you have a stressful job, then figure out how to deal with it better. If you don't get enough sunlight, get more. If your friends are a drag, don't spend as much time with them. If your bed is lumpy, get a new one somehow. If your legs ache and you have shored up your nutrition practices and sleep, maybe your shoes are the problem. Try a different brand or style.

In my opinion, getting enough sleep, every day, not just some days, is the first factor in recovery. The second is nutrition. The third is how your body responds to various types of workouts. Maybe you respond to modest paced mileage and long runs, rather than quality workouts. If that's the case, run distance and avoid quality workouts. I've known runners who did zero "hard" workouts and raced well, given their genetic endowment. The key is to do what works for you, and you only!

Best of luck!
Last edited by Tinman on Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Observations

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:53 pm

What Tinman said was much better than my response that I just deleted.

I will confirm that dealing with your own situation is critical.  I had to deal with this on my Boston training cycle as I was watching folks knock out killer workouts back in January and the beginning of February while I was just trying to get traction.  I knew that patience would pay off and remained patient which is hard for me to do with my personality.  I had trust in Tom and the process and it paid off.
Last edited by dkggpeters on Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Observations

Post by monica » Thu May 01, 2014 2:35 pm

Thanks to everyone so much! :)

BoilerTom90 wrote: Plus, if you give your body little amounts of stress more often, it might learn to adapt in different ways (just a theory, but I could be all wet).

Tinman originally trained me with the 2 workout approach, and that worked well. After a few cycles, and before my major injury last year, he switched to the 3 workout model and that also worked well. In fact, my times dropped even more with the 3 workout model.
Thanks, this is definitely very interesting. I do want to find a way to shake up things to get my body more used to training loads, I'll let you know if this worked. :)

FTIR wrote:I think age has made me more sensitive to when I am overdoing it, but that is more because 25 years ago, nothing suggested in the slightest I was overdoing it until I would wake up sick.
Sick, like having a cold?

Previously on the thread about you not being able to do more than 30 odd miles per week, did you describe how you KNOW you are breaking down?
Yes, I described it, I see it by being unable to run anything faster than recovery pace without serious pain even after the usual recovery days. I do feel fine otherwise, not sick, not tired, not injured, not burned out mentally.

Though sometimes I can feel niggles of injury but those aren't serious and go away fast - I do actually think I have very good recovery capacity for recovering from little injuries. It's almost like recovery is a several-dimensional thing :)

And when I say I don't feel tired, it doesn't necessarily mean anything because I'm pretty good at automatically ignoring feeling of slight tiredness. So who knows. But no major issue with feeling tired, for sure.

For example, many days I have walked around thinking, there is no way I'm going to be able to run tomorrow.  As I go to bed, I'm sure I will get up and not be able to move the potentially injured leg.  All night, it can annoy me and even walking up the stairs to check the temperature when I get up, doesn't have to go well.  I get dressed, walk to the end of the street, start jogging around the block and by a mile everything is starting to warm up and I'm wondering what I was worried about.
The opposite for me, often no symptom until starting the run, though too much of a burning feeling when walking up stairs and when keeping up a squatting position (or just leaning deep enough) can be signs that the run won't be going well.

My normal warmup at 5:15 am is 3 miles and includes some tempo pace strides because I know as I approach 50 some things are just creaky but not broken.  Now a couple months back, after a walking warmup, when it felt like someone was stabbing my outer thigh when I tried to run, that was a clear sign of breakdown and I saw my doctor and hired Tinman to get me back on track.
Yeah, that pain feels like stabbing if I force it too much.. I don't thinnk it's something for the doctor though in my case. Hiring Tinman is something I'd like to be able to do, a bit later.. :)

Is it possible you are confusing breakdown with soreness/creakiness?
That's not a bad question at all, I might very well be confusing the two, but whenever I try to run through the pain it just gets worse and more broken down. What works is some extra recovery days and then easing back into training by doing limited mileage with some intensity to shake the legs back into normal. I can't really explain why but it seems like a little intensity (but with limited mileage) helps me get back on track faster. Of course only doing this after the legs already partially recovered.

Tinman wrote: (...) In my opinion, getting enough sleep, every day, not just some days, is the first factor in recovery. The second is nutrition. The third is how your body responds to various types of workouts. Maybe you respond to modest paced mileage and long runs, rather than quality workouts. If that's the case, run distance and avoid quality workouts. I've known runners who did zero "hard" workouts and raced well, given their genetic endowment. The key is to do what works for you, and you only!
Many thanks for the tips, I will be checking out a couple (mainly more sunlight, sleep - these do seem to make some difference with the problem, just need to pay a lot more attention!).

I don't try to compare myself to others that much but I thought this difference may mean something that I could actually fix somehow. And what's frustrating is I don't know yet what the fix may be :) have to experiment and the tips help a lot :)

It's interesting what you say about different kinds of training. I tried quality workouts and another times tried moderate paced training too. Both worked but in a different way... only the former type of training has me ready for racing. Moderate paced training improves my paces but it doesn't make me ready for race paces. It's like you can run some nice pace for a while but not any faster and even the nice pace "breaks down" after a while. I mean, this is very interesting, without adding the faster quality stuff I will just develop the same issue I've been complaining about here and that's what holds me back in races. Training may be fine but I will get the problem during the race! So I'm pretty sure I can't entirely leave quality out of my training. I don't know if this makes sense to you! It sounds almost paradoxical to me, though maybe not, if I look at it as some issue related to strength.

dkggpeters wrote: What Tinman said was much better than my response that I just deleted.

I will confirm that dealing with your own situation is critical.  I had to deal with this on my Boston training cycle as I was watching folks knock out killer workouts back in January and the beginning of February while I was just trying to get traction.  I knew that patience would pay off and remained patient which is hard for me to do with my personality.  I had trust in Tom and the process and it paid off.
What was your response about? I'm sure it was good too! So if you don't mind, you could post about it again. Btw my take on what you've said here, patience is what makes running a really mental sport! 8)
Last edited by monica on Thu May 01, 2014 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FTIR
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Re: Observations

Post by FTIR » Thu May 01, 2014 3:07 pm

Yes, sick like having a cold.

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Re: Observations

Post by Tinman » Thu May 01, 2014 3:15 pm

Monica -

My guess is you have mostly slow twitch fibers and a small percentage of fast fibers. Hence, easy and moderate paced training makes you thrive. All you have to do is frequent striders - like almost every day - within your distance runs. Do a time-trial, let's say 2 miles or run a 5km race. Train with easy or moderate paces, run 5-10 x 10-20 seconds striders 4-5 times per week, and then a month later re-test yourself. Find out if that strategy works for you.
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Re: Observations

Post by dkggpeters » Thu May 01, 2014 4:20 pm

This may sound like a non-issue to you, because after all I can train alright if I make sure I don't overstep my limits. I have a training schedule that works for that. I've been consistent with it and body is very well used to it. But I want to know if there is actually some problem in terms of optimizing my recovery, because if there is, I can solve that and make things better, improve faster and whatnot. Extend my limits if I can. Because right now, I know very well where the limits are and I know that if I make even one little step beyond the limits, things will break down instantly! I don't like that. Other people don't seem to be like this with their limits. I hope I managed to explain my issue better now.
My observation is that if you know what your limits are, it sounds like maybe you are going to close to your limits.  Recovery is not always linear.  It is possible for me to do high volume one week in both mileage and quality and be able to recover from it.  Other weeks I may do half that amount and not recover.  Sometimes you can identify culprits as to why you are not recovering and sometimes it just doesn't make sense.  Maybe you are not giving yourself enough recovery time and maybe a 9 or 10 day cycle would make more sense than a 7 day cycle.  Or you are running your hard workouts to hard.  Or the third option is you need to tone down the hard workouts and recover longer, hence a 10 day cycle.

I also look at recover in two ways.  The first is can I recover enough to be able to perform my next quality session at the right intensities.  I should feel fairly fresh and ready to go.  Granted, you will have a couple where you still feel tired but it shouldn't be that deep fatigue feeling.  The second part of recovery is structural in nature.  I may be recovered enough to perform the next workout and feel fresh but my muscles and/or connective tissue may not be recovered yet.  For me, I usually have a problem with connective tissue and run the risk of tendonitis.  So if I conitnually get injured then I need to allow adequate recovery time before my next session.

For the most part, just backing off a bit on intensity is enough to allow me recover in both aspects.

From what I see, it appears that you are having problems structurally as I keep hearing about stabbing pain.  My recommendation is to do what Tinman says and go light on the quality and over time you can slowly increase the volume.

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Re: Observations

Post by monica » Thu May 01, 2014 11:56 pm

Tinman wrote: Monica -

My guess is you have mostly slow twitch fibers and a small percentage of fast fibers. Hence, easy and moderate paced training makes you thrive. All you have to do is frequent striders - like almost every day - within your distance runs. Do a time-trial, let's say 2 miles or run a 5km race. Train with easy or moderate paces, run 5-10 x 10-20 seconds striders 4-5 times per week, and then a month later re-test yourself. Find out if that strategy works for you.
Thanks. So the striders would be enough to keep me ready for race paces? Is this what you are trying to say?

And yeah...I'm pretty sure I'm not the sprinter type :)

I'm going to do a 5K race in 2 weeks.

dkggpeters wrote:My observation is that if you know what your limits are, it sounds like maybe you are going to close to your limits.
Yeah I agree and actually my question is how to expand these limits. :) Thanks for the tips so much.

Recovery is not always linear.  It is possible for me to do high volume one week in both mileage and quality and be able to recover from it.  Other weeks I may do half that amount and not recover.  Sometimes you can identify culprits as to why you are not recovering and sometimes it just doesn't make sense.  Maybe you are not giving yourself enough recovery time and maybe a 9 or 10 day cycle would make more sense than a 7 day cycle.  Or you are running your hard workouts to hard.  Or the third option is you need to tone down the hard workouts and recover longer, hence a 10 day cycle.
That's one thing I do need to try, do less in hard workouts. I never feel too wiped afterwards, I actually am fine running up a long steep hill back home (the track is near the bottom of the hill that I live on). Still it's possible I can get more out of less, I guess I need to try and see to know.

I also look at recover in two ways.  The first is can I recover enough to be able to perform my next quality session at the right intensities.  I should feel fairly fresh and ready to go.  Granted, you will have a couple where you still feel tired but it shouldn't be that deep fatigue feeling.  The second part of recovery is structural in nature.  I may be recovered enough to perform the next workout and feel fresh but my muscles and/or connective tissue may not be recovered yet.  For me, I usually have a problem with connective tissue and run the risk of tendonitis.  So if I conitnually get injured then I need to allow adequate recovery time before my next session.

For the most part, just backing off a bit on intensity is enough to allow me recover in both aspects.

From what I see, it appears that you are having problems structurally as I keep hearing about stabbing pain.  My recommendation is to do what Tinman says and go light on the quality and over time you can slowly increase the volume.
Yes it's structural. I don't have feelings of deep fatigue and feel pretty fresh and all that. Weird how these two aspects of recovery can be so disconnected :P

It would be nice if the two could get "in sync", bring the weaker aspect up to par with the stronger one.

Well though..if I try to keep hammering it, I won't even be able to do the workouts pretty soon. So they are connected on some level.

Anyway yeah thanks, I'll definitely try the ideas here and report back later how stuff is working out for me :)
Last edited by monica on Fri May 02, 2014 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Observations

Post by dkggpeters » Fri May 02, 2014 7:55 am

Yeah I agree and actually my question is how to expand these limits. :) Thanks for the tips so much.
Patience, consistency, and time.  For example, if you run your quality sessions at 95% then you would be able to do them week in and week out.  Over a long period of time you will notice an increase in fitness and performance.  I see people hammer away at 100% and get a few really good weeks in, then they start failing workouts, then they start to miss workouts.

Look at it this way which is really simple by the example below.  The correct column would be doing them at the right intensity and the incorrect column would be hammering them.

Session  Correct  Incorrect
1                  95%          100%
2                  95%          100%
3                  95%          100%
4                  95%          80%
5                  95%          100%
6                  95%          75%
7                  95%          85%
8                  95%          100%
9                  95%          50%
10                95%        100%
Avg              95%        89%


It gets even worse if you miss just one session

Session  Correct  Incorrect
1                  95%          100%
2                  95%          100%
3                  95%          100%
4                  95%          80%
5                  95%          100%
6                  95%          00%
7                  95%          85%
8                  95%          100%
9                  95%          50%
10                95%        100%
Avg              95%        82%


As you can see, even doing them at 95% means that you are consistent and getting in 95% of the work that you could have done.  By trying to hammer you fail and miss workouts causing you to get in a lot less work over time.  10 sessions would only be 5 weeks of workouts.  Imagine this over a training cycle where you had 12 or more weeks of quality sessions.  The differences week to week are very minor but really add up over time.

Not to mention that you have a better chance of recovering and getting the benefits of supercompensation and have a lower risk of injury.

I see a lot of what I call training log runners which try and impress you with there workouts within that particular week.  They appear to have these great workouts when you look at in a good week, but yet their race  times never improve and they get injured or are on the verge of an injury all the time.  The best quote I heard is from a teammate in my running club whom is fast stated "I don't care what my training looks like, I want my race results to look good." 

When people ask me the best way to get better the first thing I say is to be consistent and not hammer your workouts.  It pays off in a big way over time.
Last edited by dkggpeters on Fri May 02, 2014 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Observations

Post by monica » Fri May 02, 2014 11:27 pm

dkggpeters wrote: Patience, consistency, and time.  For example, if you run your quality sessions at 95% then you would be able to do them week in and week out.  Over a long period of time you will notice an increase in fitness and performance.
Yeah I totally get that, it's just interesting that I've got a lot more increase in performance over time than in the ability to recover from efforts that are higher than what I'm used to :P I got much faster, basically, while still staying within certain limits. Well, the latter may have improved a bit too though I mainly noticed improvement after I tried to go beyond the limits a tiny little bit. Not too much because that's counterproductive obviously. Hard to be precise enough about that though. The ability to be more precise about it seems to come with experience. If this makes sense.

I see people hammer away at 100% and get a few really good weeks in, then they start failing workouts, then they start to miss workouts.
Yeah see funny I can't get "a few good weeks" in if I try to hammer it at 100%. I get the problem with structural aspect of recovery within a few days of training too hard :) I guess it's useful that I get the signal so fast heh.


Look at it this way which is really simple by the example below.  The correct column would be doing them at the right intensity and the incorrect column would be hammering them.
Yes thanks nice example. I like the idea of averaging up the workout %'s!

The incorrect column for me would look like this:

1. 100%
2. 80%
3. 40% or already 0% :D
4.-10. N/A

So yes I much prefer 95%.

Of course if I get fitter with expanded limits then what was previously 100% would be a 95%. Which would be cool.
Last edited by monica on Fri May 02, 2014 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Observations

Post by Captainblood » Sat May 03, 2014 9:17 am

In regards to sleep I believe it is a huge factor in recovery.  It's when the body heals and recharges.  Elites will sometimes sleep 8 to 9 hours and take a mid-day nap.  In my opinion it is the most important detail of training that isn't talked about.  If I have a few days of poor sleep I start to get sick.  Every time.

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Re: Observations

Post by dkggpeters » Mon May 05, 2014 8:18 am

Hard to be precise enough about that though. The ability to be more precise about it seems to come with experience. If this makes sense.
Monica,  the secret is to not be so precise.  Learn to run by effort and don't be so tied to exact paces.

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Re: Observations

Post by monica » Tue May 06, 2014 7:40 pm

Captainblood wrote: In regards to sleep I believe it is a huge factor in recovery.  It's when the body heals and recharges.  Elites will sometimes sleep 8 to 9 hours and take a mid-day nap.  In my opinion it is the most important detail of training that isn't talked about.  If I have a few days of poor sleep I start to get sick.  Every time.
Thanks and yeah it makes sense.

dkggpeters wrote:
Hard to be precise enough about that though. The ability to be more precise about it seems to come with experience. If this makes sense.
Monica,  the secret is to not be so precise.  Learn to run by effort and don't be so tied to exact paces.
I do appreciate you trying to help but I believe you skimmed my previous post too fast. I was not talking about precision in terms of paces at all. It was in terms of feeling where the limits are and how to carefully extend them. I feel the same issue is involved in hitting the optimum training load, exactly that - as much as possible anyway - and not less and not more. The two are related for sure.

As for pacing, I did say before on this forum that I run by HRM and by effort - where effort is "measured" by several different physical cues. I know some people don't like the idea of HRM but I'm not a slave to it, it's part of a complex equation really. I do check the pace too but it's again just one variable in the whole equation :P
Last edited by monica on Tue May 06, 2014 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Observations

Post by dkggpeters » Wed May 07, 2014 8:29 am

It was in terms of feeling where the limits are and how to carefully extend them. I feel the same issue is involved in hitting the optimum training load, exactly that - as much as possible anyway - and not less and not more. The two are related for sure.
No, I meant don't try and be so precise.  This goes for training load as well as it impacts, recovery, etc, can change from day to day and week to week due to a lot of variables.  Sure, if you could find that sweet spot then you would get 100% benefit.  If you get within a certain range that provides some safety then you will still get 99% or so.  Over time this adds up while if you try and get 100% run the risk of overextending because other variables came into play not allowing you to recover from your quality efforts.

Think of it like the river carving the grand canyon.  To me, optimizing is guaranteeing forward progress and not 100% benefit for a particular time period.

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