I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ernst van Aaken and Arthur Lydiard

Nobody cancelled training, so back on the horse.

Monday: 6M in the morning, upper body weight training plus abs at night plus 6M on treadmill. This was my first time on the ‘mill after a long while, and I alternated between power-walking at 4.5 mph on 8% grade and running 7mph on -3% grade for a mile each. That was fun.
Tuesday: 6M in the morning, 6M at the track at night with Red Lizards. The speedwork was a fun one. It was 12x400m on 200m jog with a twist: we had to guesstimate our time and hit it on the mark every time, and afterwards coach Rick assessed by computer how many points each of us lost (by adding seconds off the goal time). I predicted 1:55 just in case after the Chuckanut as I felt my legs were hardly getting lifted off the ground. My splits went all over the place: 1:47, 1:51, 1:56, then 4 of 1:55, 1:52, 3 of 1:51 and finishing with 1:46. There were awards for those who had least points accumulated (hit the splits closest to prediction evenly), I “placed” right in the middle, but got a random drawing award of a t-shirt! May be it’s time to join Lizards as a club? I finally hung out after the workout (how else would I get my prize?) and the names of members started to sink in to my fuzzy brain.
Wednesday: missed the morning run, and even more on sleep – had to take Oleg to the airport at 4 am (he went to NYS for a meeting for 3 days), but had a good gym workout at night: the schedule I follow in general (loosely) made by Scott Jurek in 2005 called for a first official hill workout: 75 min run with middle 25 min at 6-8% grade of 2 min on - 2 min off (flat) with a heart rate of 170s on the hill. I did 3x6% at 6mph (10 min/mile), 3x7% same pace and squeezed one at 8% at 5.5mph. I haven’t worn my HRM for a longest time, and was eager to see the results. The HR got up to 175 on first 4 repeats and maxed out at 181 on the next 3 (thus the speed dropped). After that I did 30 min of lower body weight training.
Thursday: 6M regular road route in the morning and 7M trails in the afternoon. Now legs are really heavy, though at the trails they felt better. Our silly dog Charlie is learning to run “near” and not pull away. It is good, of course, although I enjoyed him pulling me up the hill. Now as soon as I slow down, he starts walking and gives me this look: OK, since this is all you can do…He was really tired today in the afternoon and stopped even more than I wanted, but he did jerk me at times on down parts to the point I was wondering if his force would make me fall and break my neck.
Friday: repeat Monday morning, but no night run (only upper body) – no time, another drive to the airport to meet Oleg’s flight.
Saturday: hopefully will be able to put 20M as I have to take Oleg and Alex to Seattle airport for their trip to Latvia for a week. Will have to start from the house and will run through Marquam Hill trail system to the Zoo (beginning of Forest Park) and back (less driving time, need to leave car at home for final shopping). Once I drop my big boys at the SeaTac, I plan to have dinner with Kendra and Lisa B!!
Sunday: should go with Gail to the Gorge, don’t know the route yet.

I actually wanted to share with you an article I read in Marathon&Beyond by Rich Englehart on Ernst van Aaken and his training method. Interestingly, ultra-list has a discussion going about it a couple of months ago (did they sneak a pick on the publication?) There was an athlete and a coach back in the middle of last century from Germany, who was a proponent of what Joe Henderson later called LSD (long slow distance) running. His idea was – no speed, no push, just lots and lots of miles. For marathoners he suggested about 15 to 25 miles A DAY! All done at the very easy pace and with walking breaks. This, of course, goes completely opposite to the teaching of famous Arthur Lydiard who claims one can’t run fast if one doesn’t train fast – including pretty much all the workouts at faster “working” pace. The author of the article went as far as to seek example of Emil Zatopek, known for doing crazy speed workouts – and said that the times for his intervals were actually NOT fast for that man at all! Van Aaken thought of running 20-40 miles of endurance work for each mile of fast training.

Now, of course it would be nice to go for 100s of miles a week at a slow enjoyable pace, wouldn’t it? I think many coaches came about all the variations of speed/hill work and cross-training for a normal person who simply can’t commit to running 3-4 hrs daily (and that includes what, all of us?). Both of these methods work. Lisa Smith-Batchen is a huge fan of all types of alternative aerobic conditioning and many runs of over 1.5 hrs with walk breaks and not-so-long long runs on weekend. Scott Jurek has more of long interval/tempo/hill runs prescribed interspersed with easy runs and really long and hard back-to-backs on weekend. Both are all for weight training and yoga. At the same time I know of people who only run lots of miles with no official speed as we know it. Tom , for one, stated many times how all he does is makes 100 miles week for 3 months in a raw, “perfecting 14 min/mile pace” (in his own words – what of course is not that pace at all, but the idea is obvious: just run lots). It worked beautiful for him last year (just awesome, I’d say) and so far giving great results in 2007. Another bright example is Jenn Shelton, a young VA gal. Her first 50M was Masochist in 2003 and she ran Umstead in 2004 (you can say we started together). She showed good solid results – but that’s about it (we ran minutes apart at Umstead and Masochist in 2004). From that point her running career took off like a shooting star. She bagged a CR at one of Horton's 50k on a very bad weather day, posted great times at local races and HURT 100k, challenged the ever-greatest Nikki Kimball at the Masochist in 2006 and just recently ran ONLY 30 min slower than Scott Jurek at Copper canyon 47M race in Mexico, competing with Tarahumara Indians! What does she do for training? Runs 20 miles a day, day in and day out, with may be a 30-miler on the weekend, no speed (of course, it is relative, her easy runs would leave me breathless) or other interval stuff. Oh, and we can’t forget Ed Whitlock, who at 70+ years old keeps breaking 3 hrs in the marathons. His secret? 3 hrs daily runs around the cemetery he lives near. And then, certainly, we have a huge number of folks who focus on 3 runs a week - speed, hill and long run. Nothing else - and they keep taking minutes and seconds off their race times. I bet you know those too.

Where am I going with it – I have no idea. As everything in life, training for a race is an experiment of one. We have to try different things and see what fits our life style and our mental/emotional being. Personally, I think I did best when I raced myself in shape. It seems to also work perfect for Van Phan. I guess it would be like Lydiard partially – effort runs many times in a raw? But overall, even though I am somebody who does speed work religiously (or at least tries to), I simply try to get as many miles as I possibly can, and those of my “miles” are easy. In the best case I can call some of the runs “progressive” (van Aaken term, when the run is divided by 3 parts and the effort picks up as you go, only mine are a notch lower to begin with). And with not been able to race a lot for the last year (and near future) I just have to stick with something in between.

For the thinking bunch:) I believe it is very hard to figure out what is best training per se. Been a scientist, I would say none of these experiments are pure. We can not compare different people following different methods at different times. We could try and have a single person go for a year on one schedule and another year on the opposite, but we could also argue that fitness rise might be due to the base that was put the previous year or fitness drop may be because of overtraining before. Not to mention life stresses:) I think if we have a few pairs of identical tweens with same genetic material (prefferably good) and put them on the same regimen and different schedules, we can obtain data. Not going to happen. But it is nice to learn about all this stuff. Consider me obsessed with pure knowledge.

p.s. BTW, van Aaken was one of the first to promote women’s running of long distance – yay, man! Oh, and he coached quite a few many natinal and international champions.

p.p.s. Just for fun. I was walking to work on Thursday, and I have to admit I wear Montrail Team jacket (photo by Rick) a lot – not to show it (nobody knows what it is anyway, although my lab-mates are aware of distances I run) but because I am a well-known frugal gal (if I have a free jacket, why do I want to buy another one? Besides it is my style and the color fits my eyes perfectly). There was a (rather big) man following me, and he asks what the “Ultrarunning” means (written on my back). I tell him it is anything more than a marathon. He says – like what? I answer: I like 50 and 100M. He says: so it takes you 4 hrs?? Man, it takes me 4 hrs to run a marathon, these (did I mention I like them in the mountains?) take much longer!
And speaking of frugality, last week, 3 days before Chuck, I (gasp!) went to a hair salon to dye my hair! Usually it is $3 a bottle of something from a supermarket and do-it-yourself project (or a friend). I can’t say it was worth a $100 experience (or result), not to mention this style only lasted 2 hrs: my normal routine includes a morning run, a 3 min shower, throw some clothes on (that I can find without waking Oleg up), and forgo not only styling, but even brushing my hair AND breakfast (did I mention I am frugal? Thank God for free coffe at work! And occasional catering from Big People), grab the kids and on to driving them to school and straight to work. Make-up? What exactly is that?

And for the final accord is some quote I stumbled upon don’t remember where:

I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe your dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within.

--Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire


Meghan said...

Hi Olga,

There are a hellalotta ideas in this post. I'll have to ponder, and come back and read again. With all of the different training methods you've spoken about, which have you found yourself being most successful through? Just curious...

Happy running!

Jack said...

I appreciate your thinking out loud, it offers a lot to chew on and ponder.

Wes said...

How one trains is entirely a personal thing! I couldn't agree more. Do what works for you! While its true you may lose the style in your hair, at least the color will last, and you can still do whatever you want with it, ultra runner/frugal style :-)

Backofpack said...

I wish I had the time for those lsd's every day - instead, I do ssd's! I love your discussion - it makes me feel much better about my slower pace and walk breaks - which is silly, because I know they work for me. My pace has been improving - at least over the short distances, but I'm still no speedster. I just like thinking that someone, somewhere thinks slow and walk breaks are good!

You should teach Charlie to heel. Once we taught our dogs that, they were much better to run with - they never surged ahead, never crossed in front. The only time there was trouble was when they suddenly stopped to do their business.

Also, your hair looks great - post run as well. Very natural and cute!

Sarah said...

Cute hair! You look great. Hey, do you not eat breakfast at all? You know its the most important meal of the day, right? ; ) : )

As others said, lots to chew on in your post! I agree, its an experiment of one and there's no one right way for everyone. I was just reading in an old Running Times about different marathon training programs/philosophies. For some, pure volume is the way to go. Other's need the speed work. I'm still just trying to get my mileage up there. I figure 50 mpw is a good minimum for a 50m race training.

I'll stop now before this becomes a blog post! ; ) : )

Eudemus said...

Great post, Olga. Lots to think about. I love hearing about all the different training routines people do and what works for different people. I think part of what makes (especially ultra) training so personal is that so much of it is the mental aspect. I really believe that the most important training you can do is the one that convinces you that it will work for you.

Kendra Borgmann said...

I agree heartily with everyone -- things are so insane with me right now, but I love to read just the types of things you wrote about today and will come back to do so. Seeing you and Lisa B is going to be such a nice break for me... you can give me tips on how to make my condo look irresistable to potential buyers. :) see you soon, have a safe drive tomorrow.

mtnrunR said...

i agree, the jacket does go with your eyes.... oh, the hair would go with my skirt... if you ever want to borrow it let me know.

but really olga, great post. and yes if one wants to run fast you do have to train fast also. but hey, i will never claim to be a seed deamon. so i will leave the fast running for you.

have a good weekend!

Kelly S. Nichols said...

I ran cross-country and track in college and I can tell you from personal experience that you need to do speed work and LSD. I think that the reason trail/ultra runners run so slow is that they don't do enough speed work. Running/Racing is about speed not endurance.

Bob Gentile said...

WHEW I need a NAP after reading that NOT That it was boring it was a great post, just that I am a slow reader and it took some time :-)

OLGA Said:I finally hung out after the workout (how else would I get my prize?)
LOL that was funny!!

I agree though on NO exact Perfect way to train depends on what the person wants to achieve.

and track work is a Humble experience for me... My speed is pretty good but boy Oh Boy does it knock me out--lol but will continue to keep on top of the speedwork... it's like spinach, I don't like it but I will eat it cuz of what it will do for me!

Awesome Post Olga and your Hair pics look great!

King Arthur said...

You run twice as much as I do. With the 3 little kids I don't get much time to run other than racing and while they are asleep.

Ryan said...

Wow that’s a lot to digest in one post, thanks for sharing all the great info! So many approaches to running long distances I agree I would love to find the time for more LSD running, but short hard workouts is all that fit into my busy schedule and this seems to work out okay but I’m envious of all those people who get to spend hours running, maybe someday when I retire = )

Perfect quote to finish the post with.

Have a good weekend

Jessica Deline said...

Great post and reflections on training. Oh and cute hair too! :)

robtherunner said...

I like the look and I am so surprised you went and spent the money, but remember you're worth it:)

Sounds like you were in town today. I actually mentioned to Eric this morning as we were running that I thought I remember you saying something about being in town at some point and wanting to get a run in at Tiger Mt. Hope you had a good meet up with Kendra and Lisa.

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