May 28, 2008 at 2:31 am #9457
This has always puzzled me. Thinking back I always had trouble doing repeats 800 meters or longer on race pace as apposed to 400/200 meter repeats faster than race pace. In high school we mostly did 400's. But on one of the speed workout days we tried some 800 meter repeats for once. My coach said they were to be done at race pace. So at that time my goal was to run them on pace to run in the 4:30's. So 68-69 per lap. The first repeat was in 2:17. Ran it pretty evenly for both laps. But on the second rep I just died for the second lap. I would come in evenly on pace for the first lap and the second lap I would die. I think I died all the way down to a 6:00 mile pace for the second lap. This was only after the first repeat and we still had 3 more planned. But after that my coach got all disgruntled and pulled the rest in frustration and said “Ok we will now do 400's”. And when I went to do the 400's I had no problem hitting all of them all faster than race pace.
I have no idea why this happens. I remember having a pretty good base (6 days a week running) (not that big of a base but good enough to where I could do a 2+ hour run once a week). I never did any tempos, fartleks, or hills reps. Maybe that was the problem??? Or maybe since we have done so many 400's that my body just got used to running 400's??
It was like I could only do one longer repeat on pace but that was it. Just one longer repeat and after that any more of those longer repeats and I would be waay off pace. But for shorter repeats (400's) I would be able to hold on to a good pace for multiple reps.
Is this an aerobic problem?? A lactate threshold problem? My theory is I had good aerobic conditioning but my lactate threshold wasn't very high during the season through the whole season. So I did have the base which was good but I didn't have the threshold? Or maybe it was a strength problem. We did no hills in track.
What do you guys think? I figure I should try adding a tempo run once a week during base building. Maybe that shall help later on down the road when the real training starts.
I just want to know if anyone else has experienced this to wallow in the wisdom.
May 28, 2008 at 12:52 pm #25221
What were these paces in relation to? Race pace for what distance race? You say 68-69 per lap for the 800s, which is pretty fast, what paces were you hitting for the 400s? If you were talking 65-66 second 400s, I'd expect 68-69 for 800s to be difficult as that's going twice as far without slowing down a lot. What were the recoveries like for the 400s and the 800s?
If you're hurting that badly after only the first repeat, you haven't gone long enough to really stress your LT. While it may be a contributing factor, it's not the whole picture. My guess is you're trying to do a VO2max (roughly 5K race pace) workout and going far too fast for that kind of workout but some answers to the questions above may shed some light on whether or not that is the issue.
Or maybe since we have done so many 400's that my body just got used to running 400's??
This is a distinct possibility. For me, the longer intervals are always the most difficult and it takes some punishing workouts before I can do them relatively comfortably, meaning I don't feel like I'm about to fall over dead by the last couple of repeats. Sometimes, you just have to get through a couple of punishing workouts before you adapt to them and can handle them more comfortably.
May 28, 2008 at 1:13 pm #25222
It will be interesting to hear your answers to Ryans questions – If you were doing 800's @ 1600 meter race pace with short recoveries – That would be tough. On the other hand if you were doing 800's @ 1600 race pace with full recoveries (4-5 minutes) that might be manageable although I have never tried it.
May 28, 2008 at 1:51 pm #25223
Unless I'm missing something but I think I see a problem. Your intervals are plain old being run too fast. If you are trying to do 800 meter repeats are mile race pace that in my opinion is crazy hard. If you did 2 of those you are doing a mile at mile race pace, but you get a little rest. I think maybe you either need to slow down or increase rest.
If I was to do a workout like that I'd take a very long recovery between. Likely 8-10 minutes between repeats. I've done 3 x 800 before at faster than mile race pace. Once again very long recoveries. When I was a 4:30 miler the 800's would be something like 2:21, 2:15, 2:0X or all out. So we'd cut them down.
If I want to run a TRUE interval workout I generally run 5K race pace 1200-1300 meters or as close to 5 minute intervals as I can run. Then take equal recovery.
May 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm #25224
For me, the longer intervals are always the most difficult and it takes some punishing workouts before I can do them relatively comfortably, meaning I don't feel like I'm about to fall over dead by the last couple of repeats.
interesting point. That could be the reason why as well. I just have not done enough of them to start to feel comfortable with them.
Also In response to ryan. My 400 meter repeats can be anywhere from 60-67 depending on the recovery. I was able to do 6 X 400 meter reps with 1 minute recovery in between in about 66. If the recovery is full they will be in the low end of 60's (60-63). Based on what everyone has said its probably true that I was doing them way too fast. And My coach should have realized this and told me to slow it down. Oh, and the pace was in relation to the 1600 meters.
The 800 meter repeats were not full recovery since I remember not feeling fully revived going into the next rep. I don't exactly remember the recovery in between but I sure remember that I was not feeling fully recovered going into the next one.
800 meter repeats faster than race pace sounds brutal. Chris I envy your efforts.
Another question. You can still benefit doing speed workouts for 1500/1600/mile racing slower than race pace? Whats the logic behind that? I mean I believe it but I don't necessarily understand it. Because the whole idea of speed training is to adapt your body to a specific pace is it not?
May 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm #25225
Great posts. It really makes me think deeply of all the different variables (recovery, the pace ..etc.) that could have influenced the workout negatively. More than likely they were probably done too fast. I will keep all of this in mind when I reach the race prep stage of my training for this year.
May 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm #25226
Yes, 800s at mile race pace would most definitely require full recoveries, for the exact reason Chris pointed out. You'd be running a mile at mile race pace with relatively short recovery by the end of your second repeat.
If you're doing your 400s with 1:00 recovery in 66, that's a big step to do 800s in 68-69 pace regardless of recovery.
As for paces of speedwork, you're trying to train different aspects of running, whether energy systems or neuromuscular systems or something else. In order to best train these different systems, you have to train at paces faster, slower, and equal to race pace. One (admittedly non-scientific) way of looking at this is if you can train yourself to the point that 2 mile or 5K race pace feels comfortable, that's going to make mile race pace feel that much easier and allow you to finish your mile races strong while everyone else is tying up.
May 30, 2008 at 6:26 pm #25227
As for paces of speedwork, you're trying to train different aspects of running, whether energy systems or neuromuscular systems or something else. In order to best train these different systems, you have to train at paces faster, slower, and equal to race pace.
this reminded me of the McMillan site that has a detailed desciption of WHY you need to train at cetain paces (just like Ryan says, to train certain systems)… the chart sets up the old “picture is worth a thousand words”…
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