Sunday, 8 June 2014

Week of training Sunday June 1st - Saturday June 7th + JJ's Weekly Training Wrap Up + Why are so many marathoners overweight?

Hey friends,

I hope your all training hard and are putting in some good miles. I had another large week in training hitting some stellar sessions and a ton of mileage (142miles). I'm pretty tired and depleted but I'm going to drop things down this week and do 2 races. 1st a 5000m on the track where I intend to pace my boy Matt Noseworthy to his Jr. Nationals qualifying standard of sub 15:20. We will start off running 74's for the first mile then I'll take things down to 73's for the following mile. If things are good and Matt's on pace I'll try to really get after the last mile and run a 15:05-15:10. I'll get after a sub 15 at the NL age class championships meet and the next twilight that has a 5000m. But for this one the goal is to get Matt that standard as it's the only opportunity he has before Nationals. Then on Sunday I'll run the uniformed services 10km. This will more then likely be done as a hard tempo run as it's not a very long turn around after a 5000m in spikes. So I'll look to just run a 32:30 and dial in half marathon goal pace for this fall.

Why are so many marathoners now a day overweight? 

I bring this point up as I saw it was posted on the message boards of It really got me thinking about it. I went on YouTube and watched some clips from Boston, London and a few other large marathons and it's pretty shocking to see. When you think that people can't just get off the couch and run 26.2 miles, they have to train and run a decent amount of mileage just in order to be ready to complete the race at whatever pace they so choose to run it at. I'd venture to say the least amount of miles per week someone training for the marathon would do is around 35 miles/week. Lets say for the sake of simplicity that an average person burns 100 calories/mile run. (obviously this is not perfectly accurate, many variables effect the energy output to cover a mile, body weight, grade of the ground, wind, etc...). So let's say a person runs 35 miles a week and burns 100 calories/mile. Said individual who is training at 35 miles per week is burning an extra 3500ish calories each week. And one pound of body fat can be generally lost through having a caloric deficit of that exact number 3500 calories. Not to mention the calorie burning effect after interval sessions or harder workouts like hill repeats where the calorie burning continues long after the exercise is finished. Yet we continue to see people shuffling around the marathon course at much higher body weights then they should be.

I'm not trying to say that anyone who is overweight shouldn't run a Marathon, actually I think it's a great way to shed that extra weight and get healthy. However what I am trying to get across is that don't think because you run 30 minutes to an hour a day you can eat whatever you want......I see people who are struggling to get a Boston Qualifying time, grinding out big mileage, hard workouts and are right on the verge of hitting their goal race times when they could simply loose 10 pounds and be 10-15 minutes faster over the 26.2 mile distance with no fitness gains at all.

The thing that people don't realize is that our VO2 Max, one of the most important determinants in our running performance, is expressed in terms of litres of oxygen uptake per Kg of bodyweight/minute. So a loss in bodyweight, ideally fat mass will instantaneously results in an increase in VO2 Max. 

A rough number that scientist and running experts will throw out there is that each pound costs about 2 seconds/mile. So if one were to loose 10 lb's in a 5km without any increase in fitness other then the weight loss one would expect to run around 1 minute faster. I feel that this estimate holds true for the untrained or beginner athlete. Once you start talking about a trained individual who is running respectable times lets say under 34 minutes for 10km for a man and under 37 for a women then that 2 second/mile actually becomes closer to a gain of 1 second/mile per pound of body weight lost. Also know that there is a point where loosing more weight may be detrimental to performance. Some people are already at their ideal race weight and anything they lose would be essential mass or skeletal muscle mass and this could result in a loss of power and in tern lead to slower race times. 

Ideally a competitive runner who is looking for optimal performance will want to be in the range of about 7-11% bodyfat for a male (obviously some people get leaner then that and you might see some professionals as low as 4-6%). For women I'd assume a relative body fat percentage would be 18-20% maybe a little lower or higher depending on the individual.

JJ's Weekly Training Wrap Up.

As always JJ comes through with his week in review for his training. It's always amazing to me how he can keep banging out these awesome weeks with the schedule he has. I'm really excited for him to race the BC 5km Champs next weekend. He is super fit right now and ready to run something really fast. I don't want to predict a time but knowing that he solo'd a 14:52 in training and has nailed some stellar workouts this past couple weeks means that he is ready to hang with anyone on race day! Good luck my friend.

Monday - 18km in 66min. 5:54 pace.
Tuesday - 17km easy in 65 min felt good.
Wednesday - 4km warm up strides and drills. 20 min at 4:48 mile pace. 2:58.9km pace. Killed this workout was very happy with it. 4km warm down.
PM 6km easy with work.
Thursday - 10 miles in 57:57 on the dyke. 5:47 pace.
Friday - 17km in 66 min
Saturday - 10 miles in 62:51.
Sunday - 3.5km warm up. 16x300 with 300 jog in under 90 seconds. I averaged 45.5 for this workout which is very very solid. Probably could give sub 3:50 a scare. 4km warm down
Total 122km or 76 miles. It's time to rest for my race this coming Friday. If the race goes out fast I think I'm ready to run 14:40 on the roads. If it's slow I can kick. We will see!

My week in training.


14.2 miles medium long run with Matt - AM
6 miles easy - PM


Workout - 5X2km at goal 10km race pace with 90 seconds recovery. If I'm being honest this was run a fair bit faster then goal 10km race pace. It was closer to 8km pace or a little faster. I went 6:05, 6:03, 6:11, 6:09, 6:01. There was too much deviation in my reps but there was some wind circling around as I was doing this session. It went really well though. The effort was that of doing 5X1mile but just extending it to 1.25 miles, or at least that's how it felt. On the last rep I went through the mile in 4:48 

4.5 miles - AM
13.4 miles with workout - PM


7 miles easy - AM
13.2 miles with some strides - PM


Workout - 40 minute tempo run. I was supposed to do 2X20 minutes with a 2 minute recovery but when I was almost at 20 minutes I decided to just grind it out. I figured if I stopped and had to get things going again I would lose the momentum and rhythm I had going. I ended up having an awesome workout and averaged 5:12/mile. I went through the 10km in 32:21 and felt tired but still in control, the last 3-5 minutes my breathing was really hard though, like what I would sound like at the end of a 5km but it was good mentally to get a workout with that much volume in at a hard pace.

6.1 miles - AM
15.3 miles with workout - PM (it was a longer run then anticipated but I had almost 8 miles of tempo in there)


5.4 miles really easy - AM
13.6 miles with some strides - PM


Workout - 12X400m with 400m jog recovery. Joe and I hit up the track on our lunch break for this one. I let Joe lead every other rep like last week and we had a great workout when all was said and done. I averaged 64 seconds and finished off with a 60 second 400 with a fair amount of wind on the home stretch.

11.4 miles with workout - AM
10 miles really slow - PM


Felt some soreness in my Achilles so just ran really slow today
13.2 miles easy - AM
7 miles east - PM

So that was my week, feeling really good about things. Today (Sunday) Matt and I had a good 90 minute run and then I met up with the legend better known as Jon Lodge in the PM for an easy 45 minutes. Tomorrow I'm going to do 3X1mile at 4:48/mile pace with nice long recoveries just to feel a little faster then the pace I'll be running with Matt on Wednesday night. I'll be having a lighter week with 2 races/workouts so we will see how things go.

Thanks for reading as always. I'll be back mid week for a post I've been working on about Athletics Canada's qualifying standards and how it makes things very hard on our athletes to get championship experience at events like the World Championships and Olympic Games.

Keep hammering my friends,

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