And that's the key, having accurate paces on the front end. If you've been running a while and you seem to be racing at the same pace as you train (or worse, slower), you've most likely been training too fast. This isn't just me talking here...take a look at an article on McMillan Running titled Finding Your Sweet Spot (Maximal vs. Optimal Adaptation Rate). Basically McMillan says
The maximal adaptation rate occurs when your body is adapting as fast as possible to the stresses you put on it. It summons all its resources to build new blood-delivering capillaries, energy-producing mitochondria, and stronger muscles and tendons. But adapting at the maximal rate requires that your body be stressed to its limit. Over time you're bound to push past that limit and get injured or burned out and perform poorly.
Remember my post a while back on Lactate Threshold Training? It's basically the same thing. In the Candy Shop episode of I Love Lucy (see the clip in the other post)...Lucy and Ethel were able to handle wrapping the chocolates in the beginning...and even when the conveyor belt sped up a little bit, but eventually the candies were coming out much faster than they could wrap them up. If you train too slow, you aren't challenging your body (and won't get faster). However, train too fast and you'll end up fatigued and/or hurt (and most likely running races at the same or slower paces than you do in training).
The optimal rate of adaptation, on the other hand, occurs when the body is stressed to a tolerable level, allowing it time to adapt without having to draw on every ounce of its physical and mental reserves. It gradually adapts and is at far less risk for injury or burnout. At the end of a training run you feel pleasantly fatigued but also know that you could have done a little more.
|Finding the "Sweet Spot" is just as important in running as in golf!|
After you have a starting point, you need to closely monitor your training. How are you feeling? Is your speed work getting faster? How do you feel the day after harder efforts (ie: long runs, speed work, hills)? Are recovery runs leaving you feeling recovered or exhausted?
If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment, or feel free to email me at I Will Run Strong at Gmail dot com (spelled out to hopefully avoid spam bots...no spaces).
Thanks for stopping in. Come again soon!