July 28, 2011

Yasso 800s

Last week I ended up running 94km, a little short of the 100km goal, in five days. I took a rest day to recover from an ART treatment on Tuesday and used the day to research my training a bit more. As mentioned in the previous post, I'm now following a schedule from the book Advanced Marathoning as it holds everything that I had already begun doing in terms of volume and intensity.

Sunday's long run included 19km at marathon race pace. Initially I'd considered adding a 6km run in the afternoon to get to my weekly 100 but I changed my mind once the long morning run was done: it was a solid, solid workout that took a lot of mental energy. Plus, done at the end of three weeks of the biggest weekly running volume I have ever done, I decided that a little 6km (which wasn't on the Advanced Marathoning program anyway) would make little difference to my fitness.

Since I jumped into the Advanced Marathoning program in the middle of week 9, I had to adjust a couple of sessions last week. This week I am swapping the two medium long runs around as well, to accommodate the Squamish 10km race this Sunday. This week is dubbed a Recovery week on the program, totalling 93km.

After a rest day on Monday, standard in this schedule, I ran 14km on Tuesday. My legs could still feel the remnants of Sunday's effort. Wednesday's session called for another 14km, including 6 X 800m at 5km race pace. I used my most recent 10km time (Vancouver Sun Run in April) of 40:09 in Merv's Running Calculator to come up with the 5km time, as I have not raced one since 2008.

(I ran four 5km time trials earlier this year with the Squamish Titans, finishing them between 19:30 and 19:39, well below the sub-19 PB I ran in a 2008 race but based on my 40:09 April 10km time as well as my 3:07 May marathon time,  Merv's calculates my 5km at 19:07, and I didn't want to run the 800s too "slow".)

With Merv's I determined my 800m goal at 3:04, which sounded challenging given my tired legs. I chose to do the repeats on the Don Ross (dirt) running track. I like the routine of churning laps on the track for certain workouts, definitely for 800s, and I also wanted accurate feedback on my times.

First, I ran 7.5km on the beautiful and shaded Ray Peters trail, close to the track. Having done most of the track workouts with the Squamish Titans this year, it felt very lonely to arrive on an empty field. I did a few stretches, mostly to delay the start of the workout, and took a few deep breaths. Marking a start (and finish) point on the track, I got my watch ready and started the first repeat.

Erring on the side of caution, my first lap was 97 seconds - which would give me 3:14, or 10 seconds slower than my goal, if I stayed on the same pace for the second lap, so I picked it up and finished the first 800m in 3:06, so with a second lap of 89 seconds.

The rest was 50 to 90% of the time it takes to run the 800m. I started the second feeling my pace a bit better and finished it in 3:01. Then I ran a 2:59, followed by a 3:01, 3:01 and ... a 3:01. While those 800s took effort, it was what I'd consider a 5km effort feel, definitely not an all-out. I was stoked with my times, and a little surprised since my legs had felt far from fresh.

Earlier this year we did 800m repeats with the Squamish Titans.While I did 10 repeats in that workout, I clearly remember them taking more effort than yesterday's and you can see why I was thrilled with yesterday's times as back then I ran 3:10, 3:11, 3:05, 3:10, 3:06, 3:04, 3:04, 3:04, 3:02 and 2:54.Rest period then was a similar amount of time it took run each repeat, so in my case a little over 3 minutes, more rest than I took yesterday between each.

While Advanced Marathoning doesn't refer to these as Yasso 800s, I couldn't help but think about Bart Yasso who found that the time it takes you in minutes to do 800m repeats often correlates with your marathon time in hours.

Yesterday's session was a great unexpected confidence booster. I hope my legs will save some energy for Sunday's Squamish 10km, which I'll be running for the third time. Today's a recovery day with an easy 10km, while Friday calls for a 24km run at 10 to 20% below marathon goal race pace.

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