October 2017

Want to run faster and further, go make some friends.

You really do need friends on Sundays.

Sunday morning is the traditional long run for myself and my running brothers (and in todays case a sister, thanks for bringing some decorum to our group Jules.) It is after said run we get to do what I run for basically, eat sugar disguised as either pancakes, waffles or muffins all washed down with a good Cappacino,  People ask me what I enjoy most about running and to me , and it must be said most of the running group, it’s the post-long run (or the Thursday Yolo progressive) ‘tukka’ and conversation. Admittedly living in Perth we are spoilt rotten when it comes to the scenery we play in and the weather as a whole. In Winter it may be dark and rain (once in a blue moon) but it’s rarely cold and I’ve never not ran because of the conditions. There’s been a few times when we’ve all sat in our cars as a ‘squall’ passed over but it’s normally pretty quick and I’ve never had a run I regretted. As we move into spring in Perth we really are blessed with near perfect running conditions and today was no exception. As a few of us (myself included) are racing Rottnest next week the run was to be a 20k , time on legs, easy run. More about the banter afterwards than a hard session, all the hard work has been done and we are in taper mode.

It is to be noted there were a few runners in our group who find it difficult to run slow, Zac and Ross being the main culprits,  so we gave Damo’ (front row, far left) the task of grabbing pole position and slowing the pace down. This lasted about 1k before Damo’ failed in his task spectacularly and blew up big time. Unfortunately it was then on for young and old as the pace dropped from the planned 5min/k pace down to the low 4:30min/k very quickly. This continued to the half way point with much grumbling from the back runners including myself. At halfway though I suddenly felt a second wind and decided to put in 5k of MP (marathon pace) before slipping back to a more respectable pace as I stumbled towards City Beach and waffles. It’s been a long few weeks of quality training so my 5k of MP was never really going to happen. In the end I settled for 4k of ‘near MP’ and then a drink stop, while I waited for the group to catch up.

In the end Jeff and Ben came running past and I joined them briefly for the next hill before setting off alone again drawn to the waffles and coffee that awaited me at City Beach. In the end my overall average was 4:22min/k for 20k but more importantly I felt relaxed and enjoyed the hit out. Without doubt though the best part was the first 10k and the company. The kilometres really do pass so quickly when you run with friends as you have a week of  ‘man stuff’ to catch up on. Being mostly a male dominated group we don’t tend to speak in the week unless we run together and we have found ‘What’s App’ now so all runs are organised online. Actually running together forces conversation, a lost art these days it seems, also if you know me you know I like to talk,  so without company I struggle with distance.

Today was no different and we chatted like long lost friends , well it had been a week, about all the latest ‘stuff’, I would try and be more specific but it really can be anything and everything. The main topic is normally running related of course, about upcoming races, who just ran what and in what time is always high on the agenda, new shoes (a very topical topic at the moment with the Nike arrivals) and when will the 2 hour marathon be broken and will anybody from my group do it? Either way the time ticks along nicely and a long run can be over before you know it, well maybe not that quick but certainly a lot quicker than running solo. Back in the day I use to do my long runs alone and boy when you ain’t in the mood, and you start counting K’s early, you are in for along day at the office. I had a 34k run from my house to the end of the bike path at Burns beach and back as my ‘last long run of choice‘ before a marathon and most times it was a killer. I remember the last time I ran it I was counting kilometres very early and the run just seemed to drag on for ever as I slowed with every K. Mentally I was finished before I started and I have had so many bad runs on that route but still perceived , we’re a funny bunch runners?

Different story with the current day ‘BK posse’  , the long runs are more bearable and dare I say ‘enjoyable’, well as ‘enjoyable’ as a long run can be. The conversation and shared suffering helps, maybe it the shared suffering that really helps. Watching your fellow runner in as much pain as you makes your suffering seem a little easier, I say that in a nice way of course? That’s not to say every long run is painful but when you’re in the middle of a training block for a marathon, I’m sorry people,  you need to spend some time in the pain box, with or without your running buddies. Maybe it is  the ‘problem shared is a problem halved type ‘ scenario but with pain and suffering, I’m not sure but it just works. Nothing I enjoy more than seeing my running buddies in pain, again in a nice way?

Some competitive rivalry is also useful within the group as it spurs on good performances. In our group at the moment most of the runners had ran a sub3 marathon with the exception of Gareth, Jeff and Mark L.  Mark C. was a member of this group but with the help of a one-on-one training plan from Matt Fitzgerald ( http://www.mattfitzgerald.com in Matt we trust! ) had gone from just over 3 hours  to a 2:55 and then a 2:48 in the last few months. (fuelled on carbs!) Mark L. was desperate to enter the sub3 club and did so last weekend with a second place finish at the Bussleton Marathon and a 2:57 finish.  Give Mark L. his due he had been taking a severe ‘ribbing’ since missing out on the sub3 target at the Perth City-to-Surf ,which was well short. (Even his Mum joined in.) This time there was no mistake. So instantly the mantra of ‘not ran a sub 3‘ falls to Gareth, Jeff has a get out of jail card as he is well over 100 years old and thus , age adjusted , has actually ran sub2; probably sub1 truth be told !!

 

I read a great article recently written by Matt Fitzgerald , In Men’s Journal, as he documented the top 5 things he learnt from training with the elites for the recent Chicago marathon,  where we ran his target time of sub 2:40.  One of the top 5 tips was train with people of similar abilities and goals.   I wonder if Matt would have been so sure if he’d met my bunch of running reprobates, interesting , maybe we’ll get him over to sunny Perth one day for a Sunday long run, I just hope he can keep up with the banter as he’ll have no troubler keeping up with the pace , especially if we can get Damo’ to the front albeit briefly ?

 

Do the Little Things

Fitzgerald says that training goes beyond, well, training. “Carve out time to work on your strength and mobility limitations,” he says. “Do form drills, get a massage, use a foam rollerand so forth. Your workouts will go further if you support them with ancillary activities.”

Listen to Your Body

One aspect of pro training that really hit home with Fitzgerald was the willingness of the elites to cut a workout short or even take a day off if something was hurting. This is something most amateurs are loath to do, opting instead to stick it out and do the work on their training plans. Often, it sinks their ships. “This ‘live-to-fight-another-day’ mentality reduces the risk of injury and overtraining,” he says.

Train With People Who Have Similar Abilities and Goals

“You’ll benefit more from your training if you surround yourself with athletes who can pull you along on their good days and whom you can push on your bad days,” Fitzgerald says. If you don’t have ready training partners, seek them out via your local running club or shoe store.

Spend More Time at an Easy Pace:

Fitzgerald says that most amateurs run their easy runs too hard. “Most pros spend 80 percent of their runs at low intensity,” he explains, “but too many recreational runners fail to truly dial back.” Make easy pace your respected friend unless you’re out to do speed work, realizing it will establish a base to carry you through long term.

Scale Properly

While there’s much that amateurs can adopt from the pros, Fitzgerald points out that unless they scale it to their own level, it will be too much to handle. “Few amateur runners can or should run 100 miles per week, for example,” he says. “but they can and should run a good deal relative to their personal limits if they want to get the most out of their God-given ability.” That said, Fitzgerald reminds every-day runners that some pros take risks that shouldn’t be emulated. “They might train or compete injured — risks you shouldn’t take if your livelihood doesn’t depend on your performance.”

 

 

 

Funnily enough Matt forgot to mention Yelo muffins, maybe he ain’t as knowledgable as we first thought…?

 

 

Nike have produced the holy grail of running, twice.

The baby brother of the might Vaporfly’s 4%

After running two races in my Nike Vaporflys 4% and being blown away both times I couldn’t resist the cheaper sibling, the Nike Zoom Flys. Priced normally $225 Rebel Sports has them at $175 and I had a $50 Rebel voucher from winning my age group at the Pert City to surf, bringing them to a very reasonable $125, you’d be mad not to really. So this morning I rocked up to the first Yolo 14k progressive since I tore my calf in March this year. I met Ross, Phil and Gareth at 5:30am and off we went on our normal 14k progressive pain train run followed by the best coffee and muffin in the southern hemisphere at Yelo.  ( http://www.yelocornerstore.com.au  )  Truth be told its more about the coffee and muffin afterwards than the run but you can’t do one without the other. I’m not sure 14k progressive actually burns of the calories from a Yelo muffin but it is a risk I am willing to take and I always try and run lunchtime just to be on the safe side.

So back to the run, with this being the first time since the 23rd March, thanks Strava ( http://www.strava.com  ) I wasn’t expecting fireworks , added to the high mileage and race weary legs from the weekend and it was more trying not to embarrass myself. We set off quick enough and I headed to the front determined to do my bit before the pace overwhelmed me. The shoes felt good but not in the same league as the vaporflys 4%, to be expected I suppose given the $125 price difference. After 4-5k though the shoes started to ‘warm up’ and I started to drop the pace each kilometre. At the 8k mark we were in the sub 3:35min/k territory with no where you go really but up. I managed to hang on in the lead until the 10k mark where faced with the first hill of any note I wilted. Ross and Phil surged ahead but I managed to keep it together enough to record one more 3:35min/k down the last hill and pre-Yelo. At the end I was goosed , so much so I stopped at Yelo with the Garmin recording 13.7k, I was not for finishing the 300m needed for the normal 14k, sorry Strava.

While munching down on my Yolo muffin (hot mixed berry , my favourite) and enjoying the best coffee in Perth I down loaded the run from Garmin into Strava. (remember if it isn’t in Strava it didn’t happen!) I was pleasantly surprised to find the morning run was a course PB, fastest in my 14 attempts; 10 seconds a kilometre faster than my all time average (thanks again Strava.) It seems Nike have found the holy grail of running shoes not once but twice, and the second option is $125 cheaper; how good is that?

Was it the shoes ? I really think they made the difference. I tried them out on my recovery lunch run (remember you need to run twice in a day if you want a Yelo muffin.) and managed 4:30min/k average; this is quick when I normally run around 5min/k average on a recovery. The Zoom Flys work two fold, first they are very ‘spongy’ with a big heel full of forgiving material , albeit light, which makes running seem easier (especially on the legs which seem to recover quicker) and second they propel you forward, encouraging pace. It was all I could do to run 4:30min/k pace, I could have gone faster. The legs also appreciate the extra ‘spongy padding’ of the heel where usually I’m a minimal heel drop runner preferring minimalist shows like the Nike LunaRacer (how I miss that bad boy), Saucony Fast Twitch or Kinvara’s. The Nike Zoom Fly and Vaporfly are very Hoko’ish with a heel my wife would be proud of. This does have one disadvantage though when a couple of times I felt I felt off-balance, like I was going to fall from a great height. Small price to pay, just need to be on top of your game when you put these race weapons on. I can’t believe my vertically challenged running buddies Jon and Bart’s haven’t cottoned on to the height benefits of these shoes, they’ll feel like basketball players ! (It is to be noted Bart’s did buy a pair of Hoka’s and there was rumours he wore them 24*7 for a period of time before his Wife insisted he at least take them off for bed ? Just rumours mind…)

 

Nike Zoom Flys , PB at first attempt. made my muffin taste even better, if that was possible ?

 

Of course you don’t have to take my word for it, below is an extensive review of the shoes from June this year from http://www.roadtrailrun.com

 

Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to present this 4 way review of the Nike Zoom Fly. Our testers include Peter Stuart from Los Angeles, a “late” forties sub 3 hour marathoner, Derek Li from Singapore a 2:41 marathoner (PR just recently in the Zoom Fly, see below), Dave Ames a well known distance running coaching coach and sub 3 hour marathoner from Boston, and Sam Winebaum, Road Trail Run editor whose annual goal is a sub 1:40 half.

The Nike Zoom Fly ($150) is an 8.4 oz marathon racer/lightweight trainer with a 33mm. heeland a 23mm forefoot. Nike describes being “designed to meet the demands of your toughest tempo runs, long runs and race day with a responsive construction that turns the pressure of each stride into energy return for the next”. It’s got a full length carbon infused nylon plate and a Lunarlon mid sole.
The hype is that it’s a stiff shoe that provides both speedy propulsion and cushioning. So how does it roll? Is it bouncy? Yes. Is it stiff? Hell Yes. Do we like it? Read on to see. Warning, don’t judge this shoe on the first half mile of running in it. It may take a while to break in.

Update:

Not hype for Derek! Our reviewer Derek Li just set a marathon PR of 2:41.20 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 2nd.

 

Derek: I just ran the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia in the Zoom Fly. This is a fairly flat race but with quite a lot of cambered stretches of tarmac along the way. After putting ~60 training miles (~30 at sub 6:30/mile pace) in the zoom fly, I decided to go with the zoom fly instead of my usual Lunaracer for the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia. I had previously done this race in 2013 in the Lunaracer3 and remembered the cambered roads causing some hots spots for me around the met-heads so this was something I was wary of going into this race.

I actually did some marathon-pace efforts alternating between the Lunaracer4 and the Zoom Fly a week out from the race and eventually decided that I liked the transitioning of the Zoom Fly more and was willing to gamble with the 2oz weight penalty for a little more cushioning in the late miles.

I think the forward dip and roll of the Zoom Fly really came to the fore in the last 3 miles when I was starting to tire and was landing a bit more towards the heel. The high stack of this shoe really did a great job dampening the ground feel in the late stages whereas the lunaracer would start to feel like too little shoe at this point.

I didn’t really notice the weight penalty of the shoe even in the early stages when I was running 6:00 miles because the shoe is just so smooth once you get going. On the cambered sections, I did feel a little bit on pressure on the insides of my feet, but no more so than in the Lunaracer, and the high stack of the shoe did not cause any issues of instability either. I did run a wider line a few times to get to less cambered sections at times just so the gait felt smoother.

Post-race, my feet really ached and I had to undo the laces in both feet to let them breathe a little, but my thighs and glutes were less sore than usual which is always a promising sign. (It would take 24 hours for my feet to stop aching, and I’ve since done a 6 miler at 7:15/mile pace 72hrs post race so recovery has been quick and good) Overall, I came away with a 41s PB at this race so I can’t complain. If anything, I’m even more excited to use the Vaporfly 4% at my next race.  Read Derek’s full race report at his Running Commentary blog here

Upper and Fit:

        

Dave: I generally wear a size 9 in everything I log my mileage in.  I like a snug, locked in fit no matter if it’s a trainer or a racer.  The Nike Zoom Fly is just that.  From immediate step in feel, the Zoom Fly wraps my narrow foot like a glove.  I instantly fell in love with the fit.  The upper molds like any good running shoe in my mind, should, wrapping perfectly around my arch, while leaving enough room in the toe box for my toes to splay.  Heels were perfect.  No issues with the heel counter being too firm, which with me can cause some bruising and calcium buildups.  Being a former Skechers Performance sales guy, I can compare the upper and fit to the Go Run 5.

Derek: I sized up a half size based on Sam’s initial impressions (see RTR article here)  to a US10. For reference, I wear a US10 for the Lunaracer/Streak 6, and US9.5 for the Pegasus 33. With thin socks, the US10 gives me just a little over one thumb’s breadth spacing in this shoe, which is fine for a trainer but I think I would probably go true to size if I were to use it as a long distance racer. At 248g for a US10, it’s a little over the upper limit of what I would consider for a marathon flat, but the ride is just so unique that I am sure many would not hesitate to use it as such, if they could not find it in themselves to pony up for the Vaporfly 4%.

The Flymesh upper is composed of two very thin mesh layers sliding over each other, with the flywires embedded between the two layers on either side of the midfoot. It is actually thinner and more ventilated than it looks in photos. In terms of thickness, it seems closest to the Zoom Elite 9. Similarly, the heel cup is not as rigid as I expected based on the pics, and does not extend as high up towards the heel collar as it suggests from photos; this was a nice surprise as I do not enjoy having very rigid heel support in uptempo shoes.

The tongue seems to have the asymmetrical appearance seen previously in the Zoom Streak LT3, and which I really liked because the bifurcation of the flap sat nicely on foot’s tibialis anterior tendon and that helped to “seat” the tongue and prevent it from being displaced during a run.

In terms of overall fit, I find it to be just the right width and volume in the arch and toebox, but with perhaps just a little too much volume for me at the heel. With the laces fully snug, I still feel a bit of heel slippage at faster paces. This is likely just a matter of personal preference, but I felt the heel volume in the Streak 6 to be perfect for my feet, though I know some people find it quite narrow. This is first flywire upper that I can lace up fairly snugly, without causing any hot spots or arch discomfort, so no major complaints there.

Sam: I was sized a half size up and fit is just right for me with cushion socks. With thinner socks, or if I used them as race focused shoe, I would go true to size. Overall fit is excellent, well held for such a thin upper over such a high stack shoe.

The toe box is wide open with no overlays beyond the Swoosh. The only toe bumper stiffener is the black rubber tab up front.

Peter: True to size for me. The upper wraps the foot really well, has room in the toe-box and I agree with Derek that the flywire works really well in this shoe. There’s no slippage and the shoe feels like part of my foot. The only issue I have, depending on what socks I wear, is the height of the arch collar at the achilles. Wearing a no-show sock led to some pretty bad irritation on the achilles. It’s a firm collar and rises up kind of high. That said, with socks that go a little higher there’s no problem. The tongue, while super thin, does a good job of staying in place and I didn’t encounter any pressure spots on top of the foot.

Midsole and Outsole:

Derek: On first wearing the shoe, I noticed a subtle bump just around the level of the met-heads and a quick dip and roll forward, as I lean forward from my heels towards my toes. I have previously experience this with shoes that sported a more pronounced forefoot rocker, e.g. MBT Speed, and less so with shoes like the Zante, which sports a graduated softness gradient from heel to forefoot.

Derek: The outsole rubber appears to be fairly thin and flexible, and I have already generated a little bit of wear at the forefoot after only ~25 miles, so I don’t expect this shoe to be a mileage hog, which is a shame given its price point, but I accept that there are trade-offs to be made in these instances. The rubber is quite tacky, and seems to offer sufficient grip for road use, but given the wear rate, I would be wary of taking it off-road.

Sam: The midsole is Nike’s Lunarlon foam with of course that embedded full length carbon infused nylon plate. The cushioning is outstanding, particularly in the forefoot where they truly have that “maximalist” cushioning comfort feeling sitting somewhere between a Hoka Clayton and Hoka Clifton but with less mush and more stability than the Clifton from the full coverage outsole rubber up front and a touch softer than the Clayton. I really full coverage forefoot rubber and the Zoom Fly’s is for sure full coverage.

Sam: The heel has a narrow pointed footprint on the ground at the very rear from of course that now famous “aerodynamic” pointed shape which I reckon is really more about reducing weight…

It’s not a particularly narrow heel over all, certainly wider than the Zoom Streak 6, but it tapers at the far rear sides. While the cushioning is fantastic at the heel, as a heel striker I wish for some more width back there, a more rounded less pointy far back of the outsole for landing stability. Elites and mid foot strikers will have less of an issue but for me the stack is high and the landing ends up narrow and a touch unstable at slower paces. I did find that expect for a touch of calf and achilles soreness my legs were remarkably fresh after shorter up tempo runs.

Peter: The midsole, made of Lunarlon, is not as soft as other lunar Nikes shoes. I’m guessing the plastic carbon infused plate takes the softness out of the shoe. The stack heights are high, but the ride is pretty firm. There’s cushioning under the forefoot, but it’s not in the least bit mushy. The outsole rubber has a surprising amount of traction (on all surfaces wet and dry) considering it’s pretty smooth. The forefoot does tend to pick up some tiny little rocks, but nothing like the Lunar Epic.

Dave: The Lunarlon foam in the midsole is totally on point!  I used this shoe for a variety of work over the past week, including a 2 mile warm up, 5 miles Progression (6:10, 6:00, 5:45. 5:35, 5:30) and 2 mile cooldown, in which this shoe really began to show its true colors.  Plain and simple, it’s freaking fast. Very Fast.  The forefoot cush, through the help of the carbon infused plate keeps mile after mile smooth.  I am coming off some down months from my past marathon (injured going into it) and even at cranked up pace, my stride was never out of control.  I did not have to search for the perfect landing.  At higher speeds in the Fly, if you get lazy, the shoe will remind you where your foot strike should be.  The Lunarlon foam kept my legs, fresh….never feeling beat up.
I do not see any signs of wear and tear on the Zoom Fly after a solid week of training.  I ran in all conditions including, high heat, humidity, road, gravel and some finely mowed grass.  The full coverage of rubber on the forefoot did not slip, even on the most humid mornings.

Ride
Derek: Running in them took a few minutes to get used to; the ride is unlike anything else on the market, and it is what I imagined an Altra Torin with a traditional drop would feel like. I do not notice the forefoot dip as much once I start running, but it is very obvious that the forefoot feels softer and bouncier than the heel and midfoot in this shoe (because of the proximity of the plate). Even though the shoe itself is fairly rigid, the relative softness in the forefoot allows my toes to bend a bit at the metatarsophalangeal joints and that gives the shoe a fairly natural feeling toe off. Landing on the heel or square on the midfoot feels more like a traditional shoe, but overall the road feel is significantly dampened, compared to pretty every other shoe in this weight category. It actually feels like a Pegasus 33 on heel and midfoot strike to me.

Dave: This is where the shoe gets a tad tricky.  The Zoom Fly is meant to go fast.  My only issues with the shoe are that I found a hard time on recovery days and easy long runs, staying smooth.  Even as a natural running teacher, I consistently had to continue to check my gait at slower paces of 7:30/7:45 per mile, making sure I was landing correctly and transitioning nicely from heel strike to toe off.  Note: I am a slight heel striker and supinator and have many years of low drop shoes in me, including Skechers M Strike Technology.  The 10mm drop in the Fly could have played a bit in this for me, when training slower.  After a few runs, I began to figure the Fly out a bit more.

When going fast, this shoe is smooth like buttah!  Even at higher stacks, which I am totally not used to, it provides plenty of cush, serious snap, and a quick transition rate from heel to toe.

Sam: The ride is cushioned, vibration absorbing yet at the same time firm. Stability is fantastic up front less so for me at the heel when run slow. That heel midsole outsole taper is not as friendly to slower paces. The ride is smooth and very fluid at moderately fast tempos, i.e. marathon paces but I found it harder at faster tempos, half or 10K paces, between 7 and 8 minute miles for me. I struggled to roll off the front of the shoe, up and away at those paces. This is likely due to my poor knee drive and lack of strength. This is not a shoe for shuffling along!

Peter: Firm, snappy and just enough cushioning. Over long miles I’m finding a bit of forefoot fatigue–perhaps due the stiff plasti-carbon plate.  The Zoom Fly does roll through to toe-off really easily and is a really enjoyable ride overall. I find them to be best at Marathon Pace +/- 30 seconds. They want to run at tempo and feel really good doing so. I don’t find them to be terrific when I push to HMP or faster.

Conclusions

Dave: I had some seriously epic runs in this shoe.  I’m also extremely critical with the way a shoe works with my foot.  It’s very, very nice.  After finally figuring out the higher stacks and running some slower miles in it, I think I have it nailed down.  It’s important to understand that the Zoom Fly can be for any type of runner.  Do not let the Fly fool you that it is for elites, only (I’m so washed up!) It will help you get the forward lean you are looking for in your stride.  Heel strikers will especially notice that even with all of the forward propulsion, the protection in the heel is there, but maybe Nike could add a tad more?  I know Sam was looking for a bit more back there and he may be right.  All in all, I’d add this to my rotation, any day.  (Saucony Ride 10, Go Meb Razor, Go Meb Speed 4, Zoom Elite 9)

Derek: The ride is extremely smooth with a wickedly fast transition once you figure out the sweet spot for landing and rolling through the shoe. For me, it’s almost Clifton-like with a Zante transition. The forefoot cushioning and bounce is right up there with the Altra Torin and Hoka Huaka for me. The shoe feels best at slightly uptempo paces. At slower paces, I find myself instinctively landing more forefoot to take advantage of the softer cushioning.

Sam: Nike is, pardoning the pun, breaking new ground with the Zoom Fly and its cousins. Taking a cue from Hoka, it is combining light weight with outstanding cushion.  It has a unique ride and a promising one.  By using the stiff plate, Nike not only stabilizes all that light foam and superb light upper but they are pioneering a new and radical underfoot geometry for what one might call “gait management”, to maximize running economy,  a key part of the strategy for Nike’s Breaking 2 project.
Dynamic, generally well mannered, light, and protective it deserves a close look as a race shoe by those whose race goals are in my view  sub 1:37 for a half marathon, have some strength and drive or as a faster days trainer for most all runners.  It does not seem to be as effective as a slower paces trainer for heel strikers such as me due to the pointed heel geometry and some difficulty rolling off the heel and also not as of yet for me at my sub marathon race paces rolling up and way off the front. It comfortably fits in at about my marathon pace which is kind of neat given the goal for the shoe.
As a slower older runner (about 1:40 half) the Zoom Fly has worked well for me as a faster trainer but given its weight, combined with difficulty getting it up to race paces I think I need to run them so more to find the groove, work on my core strength and speed or go all in for the Vaporfly 4% which my sense after my Boston Marathon hotel lobby jog is clearly much lighter and seemed to have a more pronounced fall forward effect which I think would help me at those race paces.

Peter: I’m not sure I’d classify the Zoom Fly as a race shoe. For me it’s an uptempo daily trainer. I know that might be splitting hairs, but it doesn’t have the same speedy snap of the Zoom Streak 6. It will be interesting to see how the Vapor Fly fits in to the equation. I do like the Zoom Fly. I just got back from 15 miles in them and they were a delight for most of the run. They flow through toe-off nicely, fit well and provide a pretty excellent balance of firmness and cushion.


Score 

Derek’s Score 9.3/10
-0.2 for durability (considering the price point)
-0.5 for weight

Dave’s Score 9.5/10 
-.5 for Ride at slower speeds
Sam’s Score: 9.4/10
-.3 for narrow, unstable landing at slower paces from the pointed rear heel geometry
-.3 for difficulty to roll past the plate at faster paces
Peter’s Score 9/10
-.5 for high ankle collar, causes some irritation
-.25 for forefoot fatigue perhaps caused by plate
-.25 for some early signs of compression in the cushioning, perhaps indicating durability issues.

 

Right , can’t leave a Yelo Progressive run post without an image of the mornings Yolo muffin, here it is and it was wonderful… always running, always improving, always eating Yelo muffins……

A thing of beauty, seems a shame to eat it really.

 

The only downside to these shoes is of course there is a better pair which do everything better, are they worth the extra $125 AUS, hell yes. As I said before you have two kidneys, do you really need both of them…..

 

The holy grail of running shoes….

A marathon in paradise.

Paradise Island with a “Mother of a Marathon.”

Next weekend I’m running the Rottnest Marathon for the 11th time. Without doubt this is my favourite marathon as it takes place in what I can only describe as ‘paradise’; from a runners point of view that is.  I admit some peoples idea of paradise may be a tad different to mine, maybe involving Casino’s , dancing girls, nightlife etc. For me it’s peace and quite, beautiful beaches and time with the family,  away from the hussle and bussle of life. Rottnest allows you and your loved ones to transcend back to a time before electronic devices (can we even remember that far back now?) when kids (and old runners) just enjoy being kids. How I miss the seventies…..

I’ve attached a few images of the Island but they really don’t do it justice, it really is so special you need to experience it yourself. The marathon itself it testing due to the heat and hills but the scenery helps, at least for the first couple of laps anyway , I’ve attached a post I wrote last year on the event below.

This weekend is the Rottnest marathon, probably my favourite marathon and one unfortunately this year I am going to have to miss. I’ve ran ‘Rotto’ ten times but being two weeks out from the World Masters marathon was just too close. I am big believer in a day a kilometre (‘ish)  to recover, at my age anyway. It normally takes me between 3-4 weeks to really get over a marathon. I know other runners who can recover a lot quicker. My mate Tony ‘T-train’ Smith takes about 12 hours and always winds me up on Strava the day following a marathon by running a sub 4min/k average run. Suicide but he seems to get away with it.

Rottnest is a small Island 30k from the Perth coastline. A pristine Island with numerous untouched beaches and no cars allowed so everybody bikes, or runs. It really is from a by-gone age and I’ve been holidaying there since the kids were babies. This year there is an inaugural half marathon so I have a race to keep me interested but it’ll be just two laps rather than the obligatory four I’m use to.  ( http://www.rottnestisland.com )

Each year we stay in the same apartment on the beach and as you can see from the photo below when I say on the beach I mean on the beach. A week at Rottnest is the perfect ‘down time’ after the Winter running season and the last marathon of the year. I have the 6 inch ultra marathon in December ( http://www.6inchtrailmarathon.com ) but that’s more of a long training run getting back to nature running some glorious trails. Next race of any significance isn’t until March next year when I race the Darlington half, then it’s Perth, City to Surf and Rottnest again. Maybe throw in an ultra or two, a sprinkling of shorter races and off we go again. Almost forgot the Australia Day Ultra in January ( http://australiadayultra.com ). I may race the 100k but I’m worried I’ll put too much weight on !!

Another glorious day on Rotto.
Another glorious day on Rotto.

Right back to Rottnest. A four lap course, with four good hills, runner unfriendly in my view. i.e. long undulating up sections with sharp down sections where you seem to get to the bottom too quickly before the next rise. It also gets pretty warm and windy. Finally did I mention the four hills, remember you need to times that by four for the four laps. So 16 runner unfriendly hills, 4 laps, it gets hot (and humid!) and windy. I’m not selling this am I, but the reason I love it so much is because of all the aforementioned issues. It is a hard marathon and these days there are fewer and fewer hard marathons where everybody is looking for a quick course. Rottnest is more about finishing rather than a time. It’s about going back to a by-gone age where life was just simpler and enjoying running a small marathon with good friends. There’s even a good pub on the Island where everybody congregates afterwards with the compulsory marathon war stories which get wilder and wilder the more they drink. This is then followed by the obligatory run to the last ferry when you realise you’re late.

Rottnest really is special and I urge you to click on the link at the start of this post to see the Island for yourself if you are not in Western Australia. You never know next year we may be lining up together at the start line together.

Assuming you didn’t sign up last year here are a few more images to try and convince you to come along in 2018, it really is worth the trip, big time !

On the new course you actually run past “the Basin”

 

The local wildlife, the friendly and adorable Quokka.

 

Rottnest even looks good in black and white. Briefly in the lead in 2015, didn’t last long.

 

How to run a perfect 10k, without selling a kidney.

The title of this post may elude to the possibility I have actually ran a perfect 10k. Unfortunately I have not and today was another example of poor pacing but luckily sheer stubbornness , as always, got me over the line. As the Rottnest Marathon is two weeks away I decided discretion was the better part of valour and avoided the Fremantle half but instead ‘downgraded’ to the 10k instead. I have ran the Fremantle half on numerous occasions , including last year where I was leading the event with 3k to go before being cruel overtaken by two runners to finish 3rd. (I actually felt great just before I was cast aside by two quicker runners and was working on my victory speech. Probably why I was taken by surprise, that and I had nothing left in the tank for a sprint finish, c’mon people I was 49 , at that age we’re glad to be near the front , no mater at the front leading….it was nice to dream , albeit briefly, of Fremantle glory.) So back to the 10k.

After my last race where I was completely cooked by k2 in a 7.5k race, mainly due to my friend Zac and his blistering start, I decided this time I would go out and run myself into the race, maybe even a negative split. Of course this went out the window as soon as we started and yet again I was running with Zac, although this time he was running the half . This was my plan, surely if Zac was running the half I could keep up with him for 10k. Nice in theory but unbeknown to me young Zac was going to run a blinder and this included the first 2k @ 3.19k/min pace. So yet again I was cooked early in the event, thanks Zac, again ! I was actually able to sustain a good pace to 5k which I hit in sub 17minutes, actually quite respectable. The second half of a 10k is a painful experience and this one didn’t fail to deliver. I managed to hold onto 2nd place (Roberto Busi, our local gun-runner, was running a tempo 10k and finish in just over 32 minutes, oh to be that good. He is Italian , if that helps?) until mid way through the last kilometre where I was caught and passed, so third it was and a good time 34:35. Actually , for me, a very good time, my second fastest  ever, so very happy.

I credit the time to my Nike Vaporflys 4% shoes, people these really are that good. If you are serious about your running you need to buy a pair, we all have two kidneys and really only need one; you’ll probably be faster without the weight of the second kidney and you get to sell it for Nike Vaporflys 4%; which will also increase your pace; people it really is a win-win situation. Apparently there is a market for quite a few organ parts that are saleable,  without doing long term damage, I’ll let you google it but it you can’t afford the $350AUS fee for the shoes then it’s off to the surgeon’s table you go, quick smart, before everybody buys a pair and we all lose the advantage off being an early adopter.

Worth a kidney, probably?

 

Of course I am joking about the kidney thing, there are other easier methods, maybe a go fund me page ? ( https://www.gofundme.com ) or ask a friendly Nigerian to send a cry for help email to half the worlds population, somebody will probably bite ? Of course all of this doesn’t help with the Nike Vaporfly 4% harder to find than the Tasmanian Devil. Nike seem to have got the supply and demand just right, i.e. no supply and massive demand,  equals nice profit margin for Nike. I can’t imagine they cost that much to produce and I’m sure the labour used by our caring multinational will be paid minimum wage , at best, bless ’em. Anyway I digress again, this post is about running a perfect 10k not Nike and it’s morals.

So to run a perfect 10k you need to start at a pace just below what you think your average pace , overall, should be. Hold that for the first 2-3k and then accelerate up to your overall pace for the next 5k before a finish ‘spurt’ above your overall average to make up for the slow start. How easy is that to actually achieve, nigh on impossible. You’ll go off at your 5k pace and then at 5k realise the error of your ways and lock yourself in the pain box in the foetal position enjoying the ride for the last 4-5k and trust me people that doesn’t sound like a lot but in the pain box time can sometimes feel like its stand still. ( I wonder if it hurts more with two kidneys or one ? )

Ways to improve, read this post and learn by my mistakes, something I never do and also run more 10k’s, it really does help if you run the race more often, funny that ? Today I was 15 seconds off my all time PB set last year and as it’s only my second 10k of the year so I am pleased with the time but maybe not the pacing ; although I never really blew-up but my last kilometre was 3:32 compared to my first of 3:19, they should be closer than that for a perfect pace.

Funnily enough another running friend of mine , Clement, had his appendix out last year and never ran so well afterwards. He is well into his fifties and ran a 73 minute half at a World Masters event, taking out his age group by minutes. Clement swears blind his appendix ruptured but after his form post-operation I’m not so sure, maybe I’ll get back to my google search, if only I had some ovaries……

3rd place in a 10k, a rare sight.

After distance comes pace. The next step to faster marathons….

After my last post on the simple activity to get faster, basically run more ( http://www.runbkrun.com/2017/10/02/the-secret-to-running-a-marathon-faster-really-is-quite-simple/ ) my running buddy Ken ‘The Duck’ Dacre summed up my post in a few sentences; basically…..

Hi

For people with limited time reading it.

To run a marathon you need distance

To run a good one you need quality on top of the distance.

hahahaha

Ken Dacre
Systems Administrator

 

I replied to Ken and highlighted his rookie error when it comes to blogging, you need quantity and quality,  not one of either. He has so much to learn but he did have a good point . Distance will get you cardio fitness and allow you to run a marathon but, as he rightly points out,  (which if you know Ken you’ll know this is not the norm!) to run a good time you need to add pace.

There are many type of ‘pace’ runs that will help towards your goal including tempo, thresholds, VO2 max, fartlek’s, intervals the list is quite long with many variations but the one session that every marathon runner needs to take on is the long run at MP (Marathon Pace). This is when the magic happens and you can dial in your goal pace. There really is no point aiming for a finish time and then never running the required average pace for any length of time. A long run at MP allows you to test out what it will feel like on the big day , and although you will be better prepared come race day, after a good taper and a few muffins (gotta’ love carbo-loading) , this run allows to get some quality race practice and also give you some confidence.

When I was training with Raf in 2015 ( http://www.therunningcentre.com.au ) the MP run was a 15k warm up at 4:15min/k pace and then 20k at 3:50min/k pace. I remember struggling with this session as it looked beyond me but on the day I ran the required time and distance and felt great afterwards. It was a real confidence booster. These are the sessions that make the difference, ones you see coming in your training plan and actually worry about completing them , knowing the pain time coming your way.

Another one of Raf’s favourite sessions was the 3 * 5km, at 5k pace, with 3 minutes rest in between. I christened this bad boy the ‘pain train’ session because as you complete each of the three 5km’s  (at race pace) ; you know the next one will be even tougher and more painful. The last one is as much an exercise in pain measurement as running. The benefit of these is when you have finished them you feel awesome and this alone is worth the pain you will embrace while running.

A similar run is one of my all time favourites the Mona Fartlek. Names after its inventor the great Steve Monaghetti and described below :-

Steve Moneghetti is set to leave a lasting legacy that goes beyond his set of marathon medals. As a young man from Ballarat he and coach Chris Wardlaw devised a session that fitted in with his usual stomping ground of Lake Wendouree helped him become a four-time Olympian.

Steve Moneghetti

The Session:Mona Fartlek: (2x90sec, 4x60sec, 4x30sec, 4x15sec with a slower tempo recovery of the same time between each repetition. The session takes 20mins in total.

Distance Mona covered: The session was most often used on Tuesday night at Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree. The first time Mona did it as a 20-year-old he did not complete the Lap of the Lake (6km) in the 20minutes but in his prime he completed the Lake in 17.19 and then continued on to finish his 20min session. He still does it most Tuesdays and even at 52, covers 6km.

History

Mona devised the session with his coach Chris Wardlaw over the phone back in 1983 when he was just 20. He wanted a solid fartlek session, one that would help improve his speed as well as endurance and stimulate an ability to change pace mid-run, something that helped later on his career when tackling the Africans, who had a habit of surging mid-race.

The session became a Tuesday-night ritual for Mona and while it was set up for Lake Wendouree, he’d use it whether training at altitude at Falls Creek or overseas preparing for a championship marathon.

It is still widely used today with Ben Moreau and a host of Sydney athletes doing the session. A recent feature in the UK has led to a number of British runners adopting the session along with a number of runners in the US, although some are calling it the “Mono” session.

A good idea is to set your watch to beep every 30 seconds, so that you don’t have to look down at it all the time.

Mona says

“I was always a stickler for routine and I feel that this session, coupled with my usual Thursday night session of 8x400m with 200m float set me up and gave me continuity with my training.

The 15-second reps came at the end and really forced me to concentrate on accelerating hard when I was fatigued. One night when I was in top shape I covered nearly 7km with Troopy (Lee Troop).”

Tip for other distance runners

For many runners, the session will be too demanding initially and you will need to build into it.

Mona recommends just walking or jogging the recovery as you adjust to it.

Middle distance runners may wish to reduce the length of the session, halving everything (ie: 1x90sec, 2x60sec, 2x30sec, 2x15sec) to make it a 10minute session.

The benefit of a Mona is the session is over in 20 minutes, the same time for all runners. The distance travelled of course will vary depending on ability. Personally I can get to around 5.6k, normally with a tail wind if I can find one!, so I’m a long way of Mona at his best and even Mona now.  Surprising that given his pedigree of World Record holder, Commonwealth Games Champion and Olympian, while I won a couple of WAMC club runs ?  There is a striking resemble mind, as shown below, when we met at a photo shoot for the Perth Chevron sponsored City to Surf. (I’m the pretty one with the beard…)

 

Me and Steve Moneghetti, a running god!

 

So to sum up this post we have addressed Golden Rule no2 in my 9 golden rules of running. :-

  1. Run Further. Add distance, not speed.
  2. Run Faster. This is about adding pace after you have got your foundation after rule 1.
  3. Don’t get injured. This is the hardest rule to obey as you always want to do more of rule 1 and 2 which can result in an injury. (I even hate typing the word!)
  4. Nutrition, nutrition and nutrition… Did I mention nutrition. It’s all about the proper fuel.
  5. Weight. So important, use to believe because I ran 100k+ a week I could eat what I wanted. Not true.
  6. Baseline, document and evaluate everything. If it isn’t on www.strava.com it didn’t happen. Once you set a goal you have to be able to know how far you have come to achieving this, small steps but constant feedback. So buy a Garmin and start recording , everything !!!
  7. Sleep. So underestimated but the bodies way of refuelling and preparing for the next day of running. Common sense but so often ignored.
  8. Consistency. No point running 100k one week and then nothing. Marathon fitness is built up over time and this works hand in hand with rule number 1.
  9. It’s all in the mind. After 32k a marathon is down to mental strength and the ability to persuade your body you can still perform at your desired pace without falling to fatigue, which is the minds way of protecting itself. Never underestimate the power of the mind in long distance racing

Apparently people take more notice of odd numbered lists according to my good friend and triathlete  coach extraordinaire Phil Mosley.  ( http://www.myprocoach.net/ ) We discussed this on a medium long run earlier in the week but that is a story for another day…

Phil giving his best Zoolander ‘blue steel’

The secret to running a marathon faster really is quite simple.

Boat Shed Sunrise by Paul Harrison. If you lay in bed you miss these views… why wouldn’t you get up early ?

After my last post about the marathon being two separate distances , encompassing a 32k warm-up before a 10k ‘sprint’ to the line,  I thought I’d share one of the sure fire ways to improve your marathon finishing time.  As readers of my ‘ramblings’ will know I have some golden rules to improving your running , summarized below.

  1. Run Further. Add distance, not speed.
  2. Run Faster. This is about adding pace after you have got your foundation after rule 1.
  3. Don’t get injured. This is the hardest rule to obey as you always want to do more of rule 1 and 2 which can result in an injury. (I even hate typing the word!)
  4. Nutrition, nutrition and nutrition… Did I mention nutrition. It’s all about the proper fuel.
  5. Weight. So important, use to believe because I ran 100k+ a week I could eat what I wanted. Not true.
  6. Baseline, document and evaluate everything. If it isn’t on www.strava.com it didn’t happen. Once you set a goal you have to be able to know how far you have come to achieving this, small steps but constant feedback. So buy a Garmin and start recording , everything !!!
  7. Sleep. So underestimated but the bodies way of refuelling and preparing for the next day of running. Common sense but so often ignored.
  8. Consistency. No point running 100k one week and then nothing. Marathon fitness is built up over time and this works hand in hand with rule number 1.
  9. It’s all in the mind. After 32k a marathon is down to mental strength and the ability to persuade your body you can still perform at your desired pace without falling to fatigue, which is the minds way of protecting itself. Never underestimate the power of the mind in long distance racing

Without doubt the most important rule, in my opinion, is number 1, ‘Run Further. Add Distance, Not Speed’ This is the foundation on which you build success. Whatever distance you are currently running, do more,  with the caveat of avoiding injury of course (Golden rule number 3)  I have said many, many times ‘running is an honest sport’ , there are no short cuts, to really improve you need to run more distance and more often. For a runner there are no Zip wheels, Death Star helmets or mega-buck carbon-fibre bikes to gain an advantage , it’s just down to physical and mental strength and who wants its the most. ( This may now not be as true as the new Nike Vaporflys 4%  do seem to give the wearer an advantage over your Asics Kayano’s type marathon runners, albeit only a 4% efficiency improvement if you believe the hype; which I do.)

I believe there is no such thing as ‘junk miles’, every run you finish has helped and thus if you run more, and more often, it stands to reason you will improve quicker. Another way to turbo-charge your improvement is to run twice a day. Most runners struggle with this concept but all the professionals run minimum twice a day. Of course, I hear you say, they have time on their hands and it’s what they are paid to do but even us mortals can find time for a second run with a bit of time management. Personally I am lucky enough to be able to run every lunchtime in near perfect conditions , the curse of living in the colonies. I then normally run mornings, pre-work,  as for most of the year this is the best time to run anyway. In summer especially it can be the only time to run as my home town , Perth, is situated in a desert and for three months of the year can be unpleasant after the early morning sunrise.

Some runners find is hard to find time in the mornings with family commitments etc. so will need to step-up in the evenings and this may involve running in the dark. I personally find no enjoyment from this but understand you have to put in the hard yards to continue to improve so take one of my David Goggins ‘suck it up’ pills and off into the night I go. ( http://www.davidgoggins.com ) What I found was, in the evening, if you’re sitting at home watching rubbish on TV you should be running. This is where you can get your second run, substitute sitting down at the end of the day wasting time to doing something constructive towards your next goal race, it really is that simple, go for a run. The second run of the day is all about time on feet anyway , there are no objectives bar the actual time spent running. No pressures, no time constraints, the second run of the day can be liberating because it is running for running’s sake, nothing more , nothing less.

The second run is where the magic happens, this is the reason the professionals run minimum twice a day. It allows then to add the distance needed to see the improvements required without the risk of injury, if they are careful and the run really is a time on feet exercise. Recreational runners will also see the same benefit and probably more because they will starting from a lower level with greater opportunity for improvement.

Of course it is to be noted that this is only one of the jigsaw puzzle that is running improvement but it is one I feel every runner needs to embrace as much as possible. I understand most runners will not be able to hit the 14 times a week goal,  that is a double run a day, but any additional run to your weekly schedule will be beneficial. Small steps for big gains, maybe try one double day a week initially and then build up. Of course if this puts too much strain on you then move back to the single run but maybe try and add weekly distance before trying a double day later. Remember adding distance is all about adding to the foundation of your running and this foundation needs to be stable and strong before you start to add pace.  There are several coaches who support the distance theory of running including the late, great Arthur Lydiard ( http://lydiardfoundation.org/ ) Phil Maffetone  ( https://philmaffetone.com/ ) and Matt Fitzgerald. ( https://mattfitzgerald.org/ )

So next time your sitting at home watch that mind-numbing soap or a reality show making overweight people exercise to the brink of death maybe think ‘I could be doing something more constructive’. Go and do what you love and ‘smell the roses’ (or whatever wild flower is available in your area?) with a relaxing second run. Payback will be so sweet when you rock up for your next race and find you’ve fitted a turbo-charger and leave the pack behind as you explode towards the finish line.

 

Christine Junkermann sums up the Lydiard method below from a Runners World post in 2000. ( https://www.runnersworld.com/

)

 

Forty years ago at the Rome Olympics, athletes guided by legendary New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard made history. Among Lydiard’s protégés were a total of 17 Olympic medalists, including Peter Snell (800 and 1,500 meters), Murray Halberg (5,000 meters) and Barry Magee (marathon). Lydiard, now 82, toured the U.S. last fall, speaking to runners on the Lydiard method of training. He was as passionate as ever about sharing the methods he developed 50 years ago.

Lydiard hasn’t changed his training advice over the decades, and why should he? His ideas work. Moreover, if you look carefully at the most popular and successful programs today, most have a Lydiard emphasis. For Lydiard, running to your potential is about having a substantial mileage base and not overdoing your anaerobic training. There are no shortcuts.

A Revolutionary Method

Lydiard discovered running for sport when he struggled to run five miles with a friend. Forced to confront his own unfitness, he self-experimented with training, including running more than 250 miles in one week. He developed a plan that he felt confident in using with other runners. Central to his method was the importance of training in phases and peaking for major events.

According to Lydiard, any successful training program must culminate in a goal race or racing period. This means planning several months. The ideal training schedule is at least 28 weeks: 12 weeks for base conditioning, eight weeks for hill training and speed development, six weeks for sharpening and 10 days for tapering/rest.

Phase 1: Base Conditioning/Aerobic Training

This three-month period is the most important in the Lydiard system. If you want to give yourself every opportunity to reach your goal, you must commit to developing your aerobic capacity, says Lydiard. Why? Because although every runner has a limited anaerobic (speed-building) capacity, that limit is largely set by one’s aerobic potential—the body’s ability to use oxygen. Thus, the aerobic capacity that you develop determines the success of your entire training program.

The foundation of Lydiard-style base conditioning is three long runs per week. These are steady runs done at more than recovery effort. To determine your pace, choose a relatively flat course and run out at a strong pace for 15 minutes, then run back. The goal is to return in the same time or slightly faster. If it takes you longer for the return trip, you paced yourself too fast. The objective of these runs is to be “pleasantly tired,” says Lydiard. Running slower will produce positive effects, but the results will take longer. Do not run to the point of lactic-acid buildup.

An ideal training week during this period includes a two-hour run and two one and one half-hour runs. On the other days do short, easy runs; one run with some light picking up of the pace; and one 5K to 10K tempo run (below lactate-threshold pace). Decrease the times and distances if you don’t have the mileage base to start at such high volume, then build gradually.

Phase 2: Hill Training/Speed Development

Lydiard-style hill training, the focus of the first four weeks of this period, involves a circuit that includes bounding uphill, running quickly downhill and sprinting. These workouts develop power, flexibility and good form, all of which produce a more economical running style. Ideally, you should find a hill with three parts: a flat 200- to 400-meter area at the base for sprints, a 200- to 300-meter rise for bounding and a recovery area or moderate downhill segment at the top. Alternatively you can work out on a treadmill with an adjustable incline.

After a warm-up, bound uphill with hips forward and knees high. Lydiard describes the stride as “springing with a bouncing action and slow forward progression.” If you can’t make it all the way up, jog, then continue bounding. At the top jog easily for about three minutes or run down a slight incline with a fast, relaxed stride. Then return to the base of the hill for the next bounding segment. Every 15 minutes (after about every third or fourth hill), intersperse several 50- to 400-meter sprints on flat ground. These sprints mark the end of one complete circuit. Lydiard recommends a total workout time of one hour (plus warm-up and cool-down). Do this hill circuit three days per week.

On three of the four remaining days, focus on developing leg speed. Lydiard suggests 10 repetitions of 120 to 150 meters over a flat or very slight downhill surface. Warm up and cool down thoroughly.) The seventh day is a one and one-half to two-hour steady-state run.

During the second four weeks, shift from hills to traditional track workouts. The objective here, says Lydiard, is to “finish knowing that you could not do much more nor any better.” This sensation of fatigue matters less than how many intervals you do at what speeds, though the workout should total about three miles of fast running. Perform these track sessions three times per week. Use the remaining four days for a long run, leg-speed work and sprint-training drills traditionally done by sprinters to develop strength, form and speed.

Phase 3: Sharpening

How many times have you died in the last half of your race? Or alternatively, finished with too much left? Sharpening allows you to test for your strengths and weaknesses as you prepare for your goal race. Three workouts do not vary. The first is the long run, done at a relaxed pace. The second is an anaerobic training session done at a greater intensity and lower volume. Lydiard suggests five laps of a 400-meter track (about seven to eight minutes of running) alternating 50 meters of sprinting and 50 meters of easy, but strong, running.

The third consistent workout is a weekly time trial at or below the distance for which you are training. A 10K runner would do a 5K to 10K trial; a 1,500 meter runner would do 1,200 to meters. Ideally, do this workout on a track and record every lap to determine your weaknesses, and work on them throughout the rest of that week and the following week. For example, if the second half of your trial is slower than the first half, run a longer tune-up race that week and a longer time trial the next week. If the pace felt difficult but you were able to maintain it pretty evenly, work on your leg speed.

Round out your training week with a sprint-training session, a pace judgment day (4 x 400 meters at goal race pace), a leg-speed workout and a tune-up race. All these workouts should be geared to your goal distance and pace.

Phase 4: Tapering and Rest

Lydiard calls the final 10 days before goal race “freshening up.” This involves lightening your training to build up your physical and mental reserves for the target competition. Train every day but keep the faster running low in volume and the longer runs light in effort.

Unquestionably, Lydiard’s program tests your commitment and desire, and it requires a solid understanding of your individual needs. If you are serious, start counting out those 28 weeks.