Breaking the Wall

November 29, 2020

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Location:

Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986

Gender:

Male

Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

Best marathon: 2:23:57 (2007, St. George). Won the Top of Utah Marathon twice (2003,2004). Won the USATF LDR circuit in Utah in 2006.

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

Did not know this until June 2012, but it turned out that I've been running with spina bifida occulta in L-4 vertebra my entire life, which explains the odd looking form, struggles with the top end speed, and the poor running economy (cannot break 16:00 in 5 K without pushing the VO2 max past 75).  

 

Short-Term Running Goals:

Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. With the standard of 2:19 on courses with the elevation drop not exceeding 450 feet this is impossible unless I find an uncanny way to compensate for the L-4 defect with my muscles. But I believe in miracles.

Long-Term Running Goals:

2:08 in the marathon. Become a world-class marathoner. This is impossible unless I find a way to fill the hole in L-4 and make it act healthy either by growing the bone or by inserting something artificial that is as good as the bone without breaking anything important around it. Science does not know how to do that yet, so it will take a miracle. But I believe in miracles.

Personal:

I was born in 1973. Grew up in Moscow, Russia. Started running in 1984 and so far have never missed more than 3 consecutive days. Joined the LDS Church in 1992, and came to Provo, Utah in 1993 to attend BYU. Served an LDS mission from 1994-96 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Got married soon after I got back. My wife Sarah and I are parents of eleven children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary,  Bella.  and Leigha. We home school our children.

I am a software engineer/computer programmer/hacker whatever you want to call it, and I am currently working for RedX. Aside from the Fast Running Blog, I have another project to create a device that is a good friend for a fast runner. I called it Fast Running Friend.

Favorite Quote:

...if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

 

Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 244.22 Year: 3545.74
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
18.200.000.000.0018.20

A.M. Almost uneventful 10.1 in 1:16:31. The events were that we ran at 5:00 AM, it was warmer (36 degrees), and it rained the entire time. We discussed why Ryan Hall beats me at the rate of about 45 seconds a mile on every distance from 400 m to the marathon. The fact that the gap does not change shows that we have equal propensity to distance running. We are about the same height and weight - I am 5'10 and weigh 145. His height and weight have been reported as both 5'10 and 140lb, and 6'0 and 142 lb. We train about the same, aside from the fact that he might be putting in another 20-30 miles a week, and would run everything 45 seconds a mile faster. The differences in training, if there are any of significance should not account for more than 5 seconds a mile difference.

My guess as the most probable cause - the difference is in some very difficult to change anatomical structure. I do feel like I stumble every time I land on my right foot, and never really feel or look like I am running smooth. He looks like a rolling wheel.

I do have the guts to propose that it is normal for a light boned male with a good heart, a propensity to distance running (slow-twitch dominance), no structural flaws, no health disorders, and proper training to run 2:12 marathon or faster. We think 2:12 is a big deal, but as a percentage of the world record, this is only like 10.37 in 100 meters. OTQ standard "B" is 10.28, which is equivalent to 2:10:56 marathon as a percentage of the world record. The standard is designed to gather a field of 32 participants. The reason we do not have 32 people sub-2:11 in the US is that while it is common to find light boned slow-twitch people with a good heart, it is more difficult to find such people that would also be free from running-impairing structural flaws. And out of those, we need to find those who are willing to consistently run 120 miles a week for several years. Thus sub-2:11 becomes a very big deal.

So the marathon, due to its demands on the training discipline, reduces the level of competition, and thus allows people with structural flaws to gain some status. Somebody who would have been stuck at 11.35 100 meters had he been a sprinter of equivalent "natural ability" (again using world record percentage for comparison), can run 2:25:00 ideal record-eligible marathon equivalent and make a local newspaper a couple of times a year, and even win some cash. I know that, it is great, or at least better than nothing, but I do not want to stop there. My interest is now in correcting the structural flaws. What structural flaws create an impairment in running? Which ones of them can be corrected, and how?

Why am I so interested in it? Marathon is one of the most honest sports - compared to others, your success is greatly a function of how hard you are willing to work. But not greatly enough. I want to make it more honest, make it so that work means more. If we can find a way to correct at least some of the currently "incurable" structural flaws that make you a slow runner, we would make it harder for the guys with talent but less than optimal work ethics to win. We will see better role models in the winners. It will be very good for us.

P.M. Jenny and Julia ran with Sarah. I ran 1.05 with Joseph in the stroller in 8:21, then 2 with Benjamin in 16:27 pushing Joseph, then 4 by myself in 27:57. At 9:00 PM  Benjamin started doing entering his data in the blog, and Jared, who came for a sleepover,  remembered that he had not yet run. So I took him out for 1.05 in 9:41.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments
From cody on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 15:33:59

I agree. Running Economy is everything. If, in your case structural problems cause poor economy then that is what is needed to be resolved in order to run 2:11. However, it seems that most people have some form of physical impairment. Those few who don't are considered "talented". As with the same amount of effort, they are able to crush those with impairments.

From Jon on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 00:16:34

I agree with some, but I have to respectfully disagree that it is normal to run a 2:12 marathon. It takes the right combination of work ethic, health, genetics, and coaching to run that fast- i.e. the elite. The elite, by definition, have all of them, or else they would not be faster than everyone. Hard work can take you a long ways in the marathon, but, like Cody says, most people would never be capable of being world class.

As for structural flaws- to a large degree, each body adapts to its quirks (flaws) and compensates for them. Trying to change them in adulthood to what is viewed as "ideal" will often result in losing the strengths your body has developed. I would be hesitant to say someone is flawed in such a way that it needs to be fixed by anything other than some stretching and strength training. Just my opinion.

From Jon on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 09:42:04

Another way to put this- I think a fair portion of running ability is determined by muscular and cardiovascular limitations rather than structural limitations. Bodies seem to adapt well to and compensate for structural "deficiencies", so I would be hesitant to make drastic changes. Muscular and cardiovascular can be improved through working out, obviously, to a point. But to be a world-class type (i.e. Olympic champion), you have to naturally have all of them, plus hard work.

From jhorn on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 17:22:50

I agree that physiological inefficiencies are minimized in longer distances. You have poured in so many miles that your body has adapted. That being said, you shouldn't feel as if you're weak in one foot. You should do weight-training, core-strengthening, rest, etc enough that you do not feel weak in one area of your body. As for the comparison to Ryan Hall, I think you need to be realistic about two things. Hall has been an elite runner in every single stage of his career--the cream rises to the top. I'm not in any way saying you can't break the wall and run a world-class marathon, but Hall is naturally gifted, as even he would acknowledge. Secondly, what are your actual miles that benefit you? Obviously your training sessions, but all the other miles you put in don't benefit you, in fact they wear you down. You have an incredible capacity for mileage, but you're limited by your family and work, etc. That's understandable. I don't believe that with your aerobic capacity, any mileage above 7:30 benefits you, especially if it's piecemeal. You don't have a system of recovery runs and you definitely don't have a system of rest. You also are not training specifically for one or two major marathons a year. A professional takes 4 months to build up a marathon, you run one every other month. Now I'm not trying to discourage you, but I think you should be realistic about your life, you blog like you don't understand why you can't bust out a 2:12, and that's ridiculous--you aren't really preparing yourself for that, you just aren't.

From Paul Petersen on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 17:27:32

Food for thought: why are Abdi and Hall roughly the same speed? Adbi has that weird-looking gait, whereas Hall looks absolutely beautiful when he runs. I'm not going anywhere with this, but was pondering it, so I thought I'd throw it out there to chew on.

From Superfly on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 18:31:55

I know I've said this before but the rest or time off could be a big issue. If guys like Hall and Sell take at least a week or two off of running during a so called off season then why in the world would any of us ever think we can go without. You can argue it all you want but those guys have professionals helping them make the right choices and it is obviously working. If you've been running like you said you have for all these years- you'd never know if time off would help because you've never tried it.

You can have one of the two goals: Break the wall and do everything in your power to do it.

Or keep doing what you've been doing (which there is nothing wrong with) and be the guy who never takes a break, runs marathons weeks apart, and most other races in Norther Utah and enjoy doing what you've been doing but not expecting much else.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 23:39:18

Ok, time to clear up misconceptions and false beliefs.

First, and foremost. Many of us get too caught up in bowing down to the world-class runners. We assume that if they DO something we do not, it must be that we would be much better off by doing what they do. To illustrate the folly involved in this reasoning - Rob de Castella was one once seen on TV wiping off with a sponge in a particular way. Pretty soon just about every Australian runner started doing that thinking there was some advantage to the method. It turned out later that de Castella was just wiping off the consequences of relieving himself on the go.

Rest is important, but it does not have to be time off. Different runners need different form of rest. Failure to take time off in and of itself will not preclude one from reaching world class times. As an example, the infamous Ron Hill that went so far as to never miss a day of running even if it meant hopping a mile on crutches was a 2:09 marathoner in his glory days and at one point held the world record. He did it without pacers too, so his 2:09 was probably worth today's 2:07.

Junk miles - myth. I'll let Ted expound on the details. However, it should suffice to say that every successful coach I know of preaches running the majority of your mileage at aerobic intensities, and does not put a limit on how slow you can go aside from 60% of max HR, which for me would be between 10:00 and 12:00 pace.

Muscle strength and weight training - I am yet to see a study, or even hear some believable testimonial, that will demonstrate that a distance runner can improve his running speed on any distance by increasing the strength of his muscles via non-running activities after the muscles have been strengthened to their optimal levels through running. It looks like Lydiard made a similar observation as well. At one point I was completely shocked to discover that while the strength of every muscle group on my leg was increased by at least 10% through weight training, my 100 meter sprint remained unchanged.

Time to go to bed - comment to be continued.

From Jon on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 23:59:03

Some good comments here- I agree with jhorn about rest being good, plus distinct cycles of base, peak, taper, and race, can result in 2-3 good marathons per year.

I agree with Clyde, too. For you, Sasha, trying some real rest days and a little time off would be bold and may really help you.

Weight training- I believe weight training helps towards the end of a marathon when your muscles are tired and you can recruit other muscles to help. It would not show up much in 100 meter times. Plus, I think trying to extrapolate anything from 100 meter times to marathon times is guesswork, at best.

Sasha, you asked the question. You wanted everyone's advice. Why do you seem to fight against what they say and defend yourself rather than listening, and maybe trying some of it.

From James on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 00:47:28

This is a good one, sorry I've missed out!

From Superfly on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 01:10:04

Taking time of isn't a fade like using a sponge. You might find 1 in 1000 or 10,000 runners that can do what Ron Hill did.

The bottom line Sasha is you've never tried just giving yourself a week off and letting your body fully recover. So there really isn't a debate here. You've tried a lot of things but not that. If your shooting from the hip trying to find ways to improve I'd look at taking some time off. The fact that Hall and Sell and most other elite's take time off isn't because it's cool. It's because scientifically there are more Pro's to it than Con's.

From James W on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 01:57:09

OK, I am going to jump in here with a few comments:

1. Rest can be defined in different ways. It does NOT have to mean not running at all. Everyone is different, what works for one person will not work for another. That being said, it certainly would be interesting to try it, but we might see Sasha go insane from the effort . . . "must . . . grunt . . . not . . . run . . . AAAHHHHH!"

2. I have to disagree with the weight training. The body will naturally recruit the muscles that are necessary for running. Building up additional muscle groups is only going to serve to take glycogen away from those muscles that need it, IMHO. My only caveat to this is core strengthening exercises, which I believe do serve a very important purpose in helping with running form and posture.

3. The original point I believe Sasha was trying to make was regarding correcting biomechanical deficiencies in a 2:25 marathoner to help him achieve his maximum potential. I think this absolutely has merit. Just because a runner's body has adapted to the deficiencies he/she has doesn't mean it can't adapt again if/when those deficiencies are corrected. I was going to post a comment on this earlier, but if you compare Sasha's upper legs (especially quads) to someone like Ryan Hall's, there is a huge difference, suggesting muscular compensation for a biomechanical deficiency. As a result, Sasha has a great deal more mass in his legs, which not only serves as a less efficient lever (takes more energy to rotate the greater mass around the fulcrum), but also uses up more glycogen due to greater muscular mass. Biomechanical issues can be either anatomic (problems with bones, etc.) or muscular-related (tendons, ligaments, etc.). One point that has not been made is that of stretching, which certainly could cause issues. If a particular muscle group is tight and remains tight all the time, it will cause bones to shift or rotate to compensate, thus placing a greater emphasis on a particular muscle group. Although I do not stretch before runs, I do stretch afterwards to ensure that none of my muscles get too tight, because I know they will alter my form. Sorry for the huge post, just my thoughts on this.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 14:34:35

OK, let's try this one more time. I do not think my message regarding looking up to elites quite got through.

I have studied what makes a 2:10 guy run 2:10 vs. another guy running 2:30 off the same training for a long time. I did quite a bit more than read a running book or publication or a web site, and say, yes, this is it! I have also done a fair share of reading to be able to tell the difference between somebody speaking from experience, and somebody who did not go far beyond the reading, so please do not be offended when I call your bluff :-)

So, regarding the elite training. I took a fairly thorough look at how Brian Sell and other Hanson runners training (see athleticore.com, you need to set up an account there to get access to their logs). And one thing became very apparent. Not that I did not suspect it before, but it now came out in very plain view. They train pretty much exactly like I do (with the exception of the speed), but I handle it a lot better! I practically do not have blah days ever - maybe if I did not get enough sleep or if I am sick being the only exception. They write about feeling blah about one day out of three. They are beating me on speed, but not on health!

Thus I am not particularly interested in advice from world-class marathoners regarding training health. They do not have much to offer of what I do not have already. If you find somebody who deals with mileage and hard workouts better than I do, I am all ears for the advice from him, regardless of how fast he actually is.

Nor am I particularly interested in the advice from world-class guys in the way of developing endurance. If you find somebody who consistently for years ran at least 40 miles a week in high school, still could not break 9:36 in 3000 then, but in spite of that has been able to beat my marathon times, I am all ears again - he has something to offer that I do not have.

Overtime, it became clear to me that the world-class marathoners do not beat me in their training methods, or recovery routine. They do not have more slow-twitch fibers. They do not have stronger muscles, at least not as a group. My height and weight are within standard elite range.

What is missing is what some will call speed, but I prefer to use a different term to avoid confusion. When we say someone lacks speed, the impulsive prescription for the cure is to do speed work. This quality is not developed with speed work. Some will call it natural talent. To me this is an immediate concession of defeat. There is an implication that we cannot develop it at all and are not willing to try. For lack of a better term, I am going to call it Quality X.

Here is what I know about Quality X. It is not in the muscle power, you cannot get in in a weight room. Nor do you lose it if you never touch weights. It is not in the endurance training. You can optimize your endurance, but the Quality X will not come. I have encountered many examples of people losing their Quality X, but have only one testimonial of somebody gaining it (Trever Ball). Quality X can be permanently lost when you gain weight. You drop the weight, and it still may never fully come back. Quality X can be lost through an injury, particularly back injury.

I think James W is getting somewhere with this. Quality X has a very strong structural component, and in order for me to improve significantly I need to carefully research and understand this area. There is no way I will go sub-2:23 on an honest course unless I obtain more Quality X. I have suspected this for a while, and did quite a bit of research. What I find to be the biggest obstacle is that there is no solid science of how the anatomy and muscle/ligament/tendon flexibility and balance affect running speed. Sure, we can detect imbalances, and in some cases we even know how to correct it, but you could easily spend a year correcting something that has little or no relevance to your running speed (speaking very much from experience :-) ). Quality X to an extent correlates with running visually straight and smooth. But as Paul points out with Abdi's example, you can deviate from straight without losing much of the Quality X. There is more than meets the eye.

I suspect that there are not many people out there that are willing to pioneer that type of science. However, for many of our bloggers, including myself, if we want to be in the Trials 2012, we need to make our contribution to jump start it. Paul, Sean, Nick Miller, Nick McCombs, and possibly Logan have enough Quality X to dip under 2:19 on an honest course, the rest of us do not yet. Even for them, they could use more of it. The rest of us need to either grow it from scratch (hard), or restore the lost amount (easier).

Nobody will do it for us. As I said before, the 31:00 10 K runner is not somebody that a lot of people with the exception of their friends and family care about. It is more profitable to find people who already have a lot of Quality X than to try to help those who do not develop it. We need to work together to make it happen.

From Jon on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 15:01:05

I'm all for more Quality X. And I'm guessing it won't be a medical discovery you can take in pill form.

From James on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 15:31:12

This discussion is a beaut! Sasha and I have hashed this stuff over many times, so I won't say much. Rest can be different for everyone to some degree. Easy days can recover the body, but not fully. Anyone who thinks that their muscles can recovery properly from doing light work instead of no work is kidding themself. If people do not take time off and let their bodies heal, they will never recover fully. Our muscles will adapt and heal, but our cells will heal themselves with scar tissue and calcuim deposits. I am sure that a good part of us have a lot muscles in our bodies that are in these stages, because we do take time off and get real rest. Time off is rest, and easy run is only partial recovery, for everyone, that is how the body is made!

As for weight lifting, it will only help any of of us, and in a lot more ways than have been mentioned.

The funny thing about this post is a bunch of stubborn guys are telling everyone that they are right, and defending their addictions. The best thing is, I know I am right!:-)

Sasha- a week off might do you wonders, but it might not because you haven't ever taken one, and your muscles probably have so much scar tissue that they will never fully recover. As for making changes, rest and strength training would help, but nothing drastic. Although that might be drastic for you.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 16:28:52

James:

If you think you are right, do you have a reasonable explanation of the following facts:

* Ability to race multiple marathons back to back at the speed that nobody I know in my 5 K speed range except Mike Kirk was able to match (which would indicate that I am actually racing close to my potential) and not feel sore.

* Never feeling sore after a workout.

* Virtually no injuries in 23 years of continuous running.

* In the last 17 years, no loss of all-out speed since it maxed out at the age of 17.

You have taken a fair share of breaks, and you will score a big minus on the above four points. Your theory, if right, would suggest it should be the other way around. All of the scars and calcium deposits overtime would have put a more and more constraining limit on the range of motion, and it would have at least killed my all out speed. On the other hand, you would not have trained enough to have those limiting factors, and at least your all-out speed should be fine.

From James on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 17:13:18

I said nothing about flexibility (range of motion). No one has been able to prove that flexibility helps in athletics, not even with injury prevention. I am talking about your ability to maxmize muscular potential. Whatever your genetic disposition, you can still maximize your muscular potential.

Your above 4 points are valid for you. Your body adapted to your routine years ago. However, if you would have rested more over the years I would bet you would be faster. But that is hindsight, we are talking about now. You do run very consistently in back to back races, but you having been running essentially the same times since I met you in 1994 or whenever that was. I think you could be near your potential, but we might never know if that is false because you train the same year after year. The only thing that I have seen you really change is the amount of miles you put in. And it has paid off with dropping some time off your marathons, but not that much time.

Your success with running back to back so well, not getting injured, and not losing speed is from never getting out of shape. That is where I get the "minus".

When I have gotten injured it is from being out of shape and coming back too fast. I have always admired your consistency in your running and your values. I do think your zealous running, and doing the exact same training, with zero rest (other than Sundays), for so long, has held you back some over the years. I think you can maintain your speed at this level for a while, but the question is can you get faster. I say you can, but not by doing exactly what you having been doing for 23 years. Your improvement will continue to be minimal, if you see any at all. You might be at that point in your running where you need to mix things up a bit. I could be wrong, but I may be right!

From Paul Petersen on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 17:14:49

As long as everyone is shooting from the hip, I'll take aim myself.

Sasha - perhaps your leg muscles have simply adapted to your biomechanical imperfections. That may explain why your leg muscles are so big in proportion to your upper body, and in comparison to most other marathoners.

A few examples of your body adapting to stresses: you never buy new shoes, yet you never get injured. Why? Because your muscles have adapted and are stronger from lack of shoe support. I imagine if you did buy news shoes all the time, you might get injured more! I also imagine you would adapt to barefoot running or wearing minimalist shoes quite readily. This is a good thing, so kudos.

In the same way, since your training has been so consistent, your muscles have adapted to your gait. They have had to work harder than someone with a more economical stride. As a result, they are stronger, and perhaps (shooting from the hip here) bigger. This is both good and bad. The good is that you will never get injured, because your muscles are very strong and keep everything locked in place (patellar tracking issues? Forget it!) The bad is that your muscles are very strong and keep everything locked in place. Huh? In other words, I think the same adaptation that keeps you injury-free, helps you recover faster, and helps consistent performance, also may lock your body and mechanics to its present form. It also adds about 10 lbs of bulk to your frame, which gives a "double whammy" to your economy.

Not to say biomechanical adjustment can't be done, but it might take many many years. For example, I had "chronic" SI issues for a couple years. After about two years of chiropractic, massage, and PT treatment, my imperfection has been adjusted enough so that it stays in place when corrected. I no longer have any SI pain, and haven't had any for about 6 months. But it took a couple years for my muscles to "unlearn" their old habits and "relearn" good habits that help keep my hips (and biomechanics) in line, rather than constantly torquing everything back off.

My point? Change is possible, but may take a long long time, probably in proportion to the amount of time your muscles adapted the "wrong" way and became strong and "locked". Your strength may be your weakness.

How to change it? I don't know. I'm just a geographer with a running habit. The only thing I'm an expert in is my own opinion.

Regarding the separate issue of time off, I think a few days here and there is good to separate training cycles. Longer, if recovering from illness or injury. But runners start losing aerobic fitness at 5 days and blood volume at 3 days. And you lose running economy every day you don't run. Anyone who has followed my training can see that I take time off when I need it, but my running didn't start blossoming until I quit taking long, pointless hiatuses (ie - longer than two weeks). Just a few years ago I could barely break 1:17 in the half marathon...off of 4 days a week training. I thought I was being cute and smart by taking so many breaks and running a short schedule, but in reality the only way to get good at running is to run a lot. Like 10-14 times/week. 7 days/week. "Days off" for me are now 6-mile runs at 7:30 pace, assuming I'm healthy.

From Paul Petersen on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 17:23:25

Oh, and regarding the idea, er, myth of "junk miles" -- no such thing.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 18:57:21

Paul is making some sense, and he has some solid experience to back up his words.

James - I improved my 10 K by 2 minutes since we met in 1994. At the time I was running about 50 miles a week. My marathon improved by almost 16 minutes on the exact same course since 1998. I've tried numerous training methods and techniques overtime, and observed an unmistakable pattern. When I increased the mileage I ran faster on all distances 5 K and up given an adequate recovery routine (good sleep, healthy diet, proper calorie replenishment). When I reduced the mileage, I ran slower on all distances 5 K and up, no matter what else I did to make up for the reduction in mileage.

However, you are right that I am reaching the limits of what can be done with mileage alone. Something different needs to be done, but it is not an arbitrary time off. If you do not have a thorough plan of how you are going to come back with a bigger plus, time off is a plain waste, as we have seen in the past experiences of Paul, James, Jon, and Clyde.

I am not sure if I made it quite clear. What I am looking for is Quality X. When I get it, it will manifest itself with significant proportionate improvements in ALL distances 1 mile and up. If you are going to propose something, I would appreciate if you had an example of somebody who was in my situation, did what you are proposing, and improved on every distance 1 mile to the marathon at the rate of at least 10 seconds a mile.

P.S. Correction - Ron Hill never held WR in the marathon, but he did in 10 miles, 15 miles, and 25 K. He was the second man to break 2:10 after Derek Clayton. Interestingly enough, his "streak" had been going for 6 years prior to that.

From James on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 23:34:33

If someone did have an example and a plan would you use it?

I don't think anyone was suggesting you take a month off of running. I think if you took 4 days off after a marathon that would be enough for you, and I think that is what is being suggested. I personally wish I was as dedicated as you are to running, but I'm not.

I know you did improve 2 minutes, but that is still not much comparing a 50 mile week to 120 miles week. I think most people could improve that much with a 70 mile a week jump.

Anyways, you are a very committed talented runner, a good friend, and a smart man, but you take the cake for being more stubborn than me, Jon, Paul, or Clyde, and that is a pretty tall order!

The beauty of the blog and hashing things like this over, is that we often have a hard time taking a step back and analyzing ourselves, and we have people to do that for us. The problem is we don't always want to hear what they tell us or do anything about it. It is like the girlfiend or boyfriend that we like and don't see that they are pulling us down and don't like it when friends and family tell us about it. When we finally take a step back and get out of that situation we can see what others were talking about.

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