Monday, November 20, 2006

Base Run Training

I have a question to all your runners out there: How do you "base" train when it comes to running? This morning I woke up to my premier workout of my new season's base phase. It could not have come sooner! I think I was going through a mild depression there for a while - a post-partum/race funk that was really bringing me down. I tapered for 2 weeks for the 1/2 Ironman race, then took a week off completely afterward, so really, except for the big effort of the race, I haven't hardly trained for 3 weeks. I think that depressed me. Anyway....

This morning's run was a lackluster, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other snoozefest for 6 miles and an hour and ten minutes. I averaged 141 for my HR - figuring my max HR is 184, that's 77% of max - which is still probably a bit high for the normally accepted "70% of max HR" consistent with base training. I set my Garmin to show current and average HR and not even display pace, so that was a nice surprise when the "run" was done. I think one of the things taken from the run is that I have to slow it down even more to get my average to 130. There may be some factor out there for big guy running that makes it impossible for a 245 lb guy to move without upping his HR to over 130, but if there is, I haven't found it yet.

So is it as simple as running for an hour and trying to stay steady and keep your HR down? Gosh I hope so. Tomorrow has a 60-mile bike ride on the schedule - and I'll have to really concentrate to keep the HR near 130 for the whole thing. Luckily the route is especially flat, so the HR spikes that come with hill work won't be a factor - now I just have to get lucky with the wind.

The plan is to put in a 3-week base period, then put in an easy week, followed by another 3-week base period. Its difficult to set a goal for where I want to be after those 6 - 8 weeks because staying strictly base, the goal has to be expressed in terms of pace at a base HR. I can wish for a drop in pace from the current 11:39 min/mile at 141 avgHR to, say, 10:00 min/mile at 135 avgHR, but since I'm in completely unknown territory here, it's any one's guess as to what's reasonable and to how my body will adapt to the training. All I can do is commit to the training, stay disciplined as to HR, and hope for the best.

If any of you have any base training advise or experience, I'd be happy to hear about it!


S. Baboo said...

Ahh, base running…something near and dear to my heart. What you can expect in practical terms, a faster pace at the same lower HR. Right now my pace over 10K at a base HR of about 143 is about 9:30 min mile depending on the hills. I certainly was not that last year.

What you can expect physiologically; your type IIa (fast twitch) muscle fibers begin to take on characteristics of type I (slow twitch) muscle fibers, which leads to greater fatigue resistance. Your metabolism becomes more adept at burning fat for fuel, which leads to a preservation of your glycogen stores for longer periods of time in races. This is most important in races over 2 hours in duration because it means more rapid energy delivery when you are still operating off glycogen stores. Your running economy improves. This means that your working muscles require less oxygen to perform the same work.

Psychologically, this is prime meditation time man!

The greatest benefits from base running come from longer runs, especially runs of 2 to 3 hours in duration. Believe me, I have given plenty of thought to seriously getting into ultra running just so I could spend more time base running.

You should take the winter to cozy up to a book called “The Lore of running” by Tim Noakes, MD.

Tri-Dummy said...

Can't say more than that. Myles pretty much said it all. Well done, Myles.

Which Garmin are you using?

Iron Pol said...

I spent three years pretty much building base. Speedwork was very limited. While I don't have my files handy, I'm pretty sure my initial pace was around 11 min/mile. And I was good for about 1.5 miles.

My first marathon was somewhere around the five hour mark. Last year, my marathon PR was 4:45, so I wasn't a jackrabbit.

Last year, I started adding speedwork, and improved to 3:55 in less than a year. Now, I'm back to base training, working from 26.2 to 140.6.

Slow but steady wins the race (in a personal sense).

Tri-Dummy said...

Cool banner, btw.

Bigun said...

thanks for the comments, guys - and I'm using the 301 Garmin, which seems to be working fine now....

The Stretch Doc said...

As a fellow clyds at 35 yrs old I try to keep my HR around 145-152 for recovery and 153-156 for steady base training, maybe too high but I feel very comfortable there. My pace is approx 11:45/mi. I have played with my HR's keeping it at the top end of 156-157 w/ a pace of 11:15 and when running 150 pace is 12:15.

As you said it seems tough for us big guys to barly move and the HR goes up, I can relate. Slow and steady is my key focus with higher cadence foot strikes.
Great Blog...