Sunday, August 24, 2008

13.1 total miles with 5 miles @ threshold

Today I ran another half marathon the day after the men's Olympic marathon. The workout last week included intervals, so today I included 5 miles at threshold pace. Threshold pace is defined as the pace at which your body STARTS to accumulate more lactate than it can clear. They call this "comfortably hard." To improve your lactate threshold you must spend time running at or near that point to improve your body's ability to clear it. It turns out to be the pace at which you can run all out for about one hour, or somewhere between 10k and 15k race pace. It is 88-92% of your velocity at VO2max or heart rate. Isn't it amazing, that a human can run at 90% of their maximum HR for an hour!

There are a few ways to do this type of training. Interestingly, Jack Daniels, PhD states that the ideal duration of a steady threshold run is 20 minutes (from Daniels' Running Formula). You can also break it up into cruise intervals, where you are running many shorter workbouts with a very short recovery. Or you can break up the 20 minutes or so into shorter workbouts also with little rest (I guess this would still be considered cruise intervals). Either way they should all be done at your threshold pace, not faster. Be careful not to go too fast on cruise intervals. If they feel too easy then do more, or shorten the rest.

One of Jack Daniels' runners Magdalena Lewy-Boulet qualifed for the US Olympic team in the marathon. In the last issue of Running Times she states that one of her marathon prep workouts is 5x2 miles at threshold pace. This would equal 10 miles at threshold pace, or very close to an hour at threshold pace.

Today I decided to use the same workout but step it down a bit, since I'm not a world class athlete. I did a 4 mile warm up. Then I did 2x2 miles at threshold pace and 1x1 mile at threshold pace with half a mile (4 minutes) recovery in between workbouts. I finished with a 3 mile cool down back home. The threshold workbouts were on the road around Lane Park, which is almost exactly 1 mile. The first 2 miles was done in 13:17, the second 2 miles was in 12:58, and the last mile was in 6:17. Total miles at threshold pace was 5, total time at threshold pace was a little over 30 minutes. My heart rate during the threshold workbouts was between 165-175. It was a tough workout for sure.

Total time for the 13.1 miles run today was 1:38:28. The HR graph looked totally cool on my new Garmin Forerunner 305.

Based on my last race time (18:20 for 5k) my threshold pace should be about 6:20 so I was very close most of the workout. My body is learning how to clear lactate more efficiently as we speak.

So the men's Olympic marathon was yesterday. I would say that was the most exciting race, for a distance event, in the entire Olympic games, other than the women's 10k. The athletes actually raced from the start!! The temperature was in the mid 80s for most of the race and many runners struggled with the heat. Twenty-one year old Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya won the race, and got the first gold medal for Kenya in the Olympic marathon, in 2:06:32. For the US Dathan Ritzenhein was 9th (2:11), Ryan Hall was 10th (2:12) , and Brian Sell was 22nd (2:16) for respectable finishes. The best recap can be found on

Video interview of Ritz after the Olympics on Article here.

OMG, check out video of Brian Sell's race shoes from the Olympic marathon here.

Also, US Bryan Clay, won the gold medal in the decathlon. He is a graduate of Asuza Pacific University (where Andi got here MPT) as was 1992 Olympian Dave Johnson (see APU school records). If you have the newest issue of Sports Illustrated (yeah the one with Michael Phelps on the cover) there is a great interview with Bruce Jenner in which he tells why the winner of the decathlon is truly the world's greatest athlete. Also read here and here. Bryan sounds like a great guy!

Anyone else as bummed as me about NBC's tape delayed coverage of the Olympics? Columnist Predicts Beijing is 'Last Olympics We Will Suffer Through in Tape Delay'

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