One way to test how experienced a runner is, is to see whether "Jack Daniel's Running Formula" makes them laugh or not. This is the name of the book that I have decided to follow in my preparations for the International edition of San Silvestre Vallecana 2012. Although it is probably no substitute for having a coach and for doing lactate and VO2 Max tests, etc, Jack Daniels has compiled very useful tables which give an idea of training intensities based on race times, indexed by what he terms VDOT or VO with a dot over the O.
According to JD, my VDOT based on my Half Marathon (Personal Best) time is 58, my VDOT based on my Marathon PB and my 10K PB is 55. These tables assume that you are optimally trained for the distance in question: it doesn't mean that right after running a 1:19 Half Marathon you can run a Marathon in 2:48. In fact, it doesn't mean you can necessarily ever run a Marathon in 2:48 because the tables are calculated by fitting some mathematical function through a set of recorded performances from other athletes. In my experience, my VDOT tends to be lower (worse) the longer the distance, so the fact my 10K VDOT is in line with my Marathon VDOT makes me think that there is some room for improvement. This is obvious when you realize that my 10K PB is currently only 5 seconds faster than the 10K split of my best Half Marathon time...
So, based on a VDOT of 58 (corresponding, in theory, to a 10K time of 36:23) my training intensities are:
Easy pace: 4:22 - 4:41 (12.8 - 13.7 km/h)
Marathon pace: 3:58 (15.1 km/h)
Tempo pace: 3.46 (15.9 km/h)
Interval pace: 3:27 (17.4 km/h)
Repetition pace: 3:12 (18.8 km/h)
From my experience of training to heart rate lately, these paces seem to be right on the money. Of course, the Marathon pace does not really correspond to my actual Marathon pace but the Half Marathons I have run at Marathon pace (according to heart rate) have been only a couple of seconds per kilometre slower. But Easy pace corresponds to my aerobic "<CCL" runs at a heart rate of 150 bpm, Tempo runs are equivalent to the medium intensity "CCM" runs at 167 bpm and my anaerobic ">UAN" runs were always done at Interval pace. The only difference is that there is no pace corresponding to "UAN" which is somewhere between Tempo and Interval pace, depending on how long a series I had to run. What is useful to have as a guide is the Repetition pace, as this is an intensity at which I rarely train. My idea is to put some speed as the icing on the cake of my Marathon resistance training.
The training week basically comprises two or three "quality" (read: tough) days, a long run of up to 25% of the week's total mileage and two to three days of easy running as fillers:
Monday: 45 minutes Easy @ 4:06. This was supposed to be "easy". I was in London and it was cold so I had to run reasonably fast to keep warm. Also, I was trying out my new Vibram SeeYas so it was hard not to overcook the pace.
Tuesday: 20 minutes Tempo + 4 x 200m Repetition. I actually managed to do this on the treadmill in the gym at work because the workout was short enough that I didn't have time to overheat. Normally I do my quality workouts on the treadmill at home with a massive fan but, unfortunately, my treadmill only goes up to 18 km/h (which is actually only 17.5 km/h).
Wednesday: 45 minutes E @ 4:26 on the treadmill (at home).
Thursday: 4 x 1,000m T + 6 x 200m R + 3,200m accumulation run (4:02 - 3:27). I managed to do the first two parts on the treadmill at work but, by the end of it, my feet were in ribbons from wearing my Vibram SeeYas without socks. I did the accumulation run on the treadmill at home.
Friday: 45 minutes E @ 4:26 on the treadmill (at home).
Saturday: 5 x 3 minutes Interval. I was a bit tired so this was harder than usual, especially considering that I would normally do 10 of these - perhaps it seemed harder because JD prefers you to jog in between series rather than resting completely and the treadmill takes less time to get up to speed.
Sunday: 90 minutes Long @ 4:18. I went down to Madrid Río in the car for this. As I passed the gym where we used to meet up for the long runs in training for Seville, I thought I might bump into some of the other guys but I didn't think I would bump into them as actually happened. I ran this a little bit too fast again because it was very cold. It was the first time I had run with gloves, leggings and a hat this year.
The inscriptions for San Silvestre have just opened this minute...