Monday, February 16, 2009

The Power of an Aerobic Base - February 2009 Installment

I remember reading about an elite woman marathon runner a few years back, and when asked "what have you done this year to get such great results?", she answered (I am paraphrasing)

"Don't look at what I did this year, look at what I did last year."

That was what I was thinking yesterday morning on a breakthrough run I was having.

Last year I took on the challenge of going low heart rate for 3 months, and I had some eye opening results about 2 months into it. Here is the post titled "The Power of an Aerobic Base". I even emailed the MN-DRS list (Dead Runners Society) titled "You can learn a lot from an idiot". I was the idiot, in case you were wondering.

So, yesterday was eye opening as it was almost a year ago. I broke through.

I have been looking forward to this tempo run today for a week. The HADD test showed promising signs of a new me. I could feel all of the pieces coming together over the last few months.

Cut to the chase. (treadmill run)

Warmup - 2 miles at 7mph (ending hr 125)
8 miles - 9.3 mph (6:28) avg hr - 152 max hr - 160
cool down - 2 miles - 7mph - hr ended below 140

I thought my average for the tempo segment was going to be 162-165. During the first two miles of the segment, I felt the standard elevated breathing whenever you pick up the pace. My hr was around 157. Then, 2.5 miles into it, I felt relaxed. Hmmm, that's funny, what's my hr.... 152?....

1 mile later it dropped down to 147. I have NEVER been able to run at that pace so comfortably. I seriously thought something was either wrong with my treadmill or my hr monitor.

I was only planning to do 6 miles at that pace, but 6 into I didn't even feel winded. I dropped it down after 8 so I wouldn't do anything stupid.

Now I know that it easier to do stuff like this on a treadmill a zero % grade, but it is also directional. I remember doing similar runs on the treadmill and being quite winded at a 7:04 pace.

I believe the base is similar to the bottom row of Maslow's triangle. Maslow's bottom row shows one's need for basic needs. Yes, you can have fast cars, nice clothes, etc, but if you don't have food, water and shelter, it doesn't matter.

I theorize that my base training was made that first row wider (more miles at low intensity, the wider it gets). Once it is strong enough to hold a row on top, you start putting on tempo work. The stronger the base is, the more tempo work you can do. Above that would be speed work (vo2 intervals), and at the top would be strides.

I also believe that if one starts doing tempo and speed work and lessens the base work, the base row shrinks. It has to be kept up.

This concept works for me. I have no proof to support it, but I am getting good results.

It looks like I will have the opportunity to train well in March, as all of my work travel got axed yesterday.

Happy Ice Trails

5 comments:

Get Primal said...

Wow, 8M at 6:28! The training is working, no doubt about it. I'd better get used to looking at your back this year.

SteveQ said...

That's a great run, but how'd you feel the next couple of days?

Matthew Patten said...

I felt great today.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

johnmaas said...

Matt,
Great results!
I like the comparison to Maslow's triangle and agree wholeheartedly with your approach.
Part of me wants to see you go out and run a sub 3:00 marathon right now. I'd bet you could do it.
But then I know you have different goals....
John

SteveQ said...

Self-actualization for me is taunting Abraham Maslow and his fat base.