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Training at GMP...

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Training at GMP...

Post  Admin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:23 am

Convince me why there is, or is not, value to training at GMP. I typically do not do any training at my GMP because I see it as a 'no mans land' pace as far as producing stimulous for phsyiological adaptation. It's too slow to be much benefit to LT/AT, and faster than necessary to improve the aerobic engine. The only argument I sort of understand is that you want to get used to running at a certain pace, but my counter-argument is that the body doesn't know anything about pace, it only knows effort... and on race day the effort at a given pace feels quite different than it does in training.

Now, it seems all the popular coaches have MP runs in the training plans. Even Canova, who I tend to agree with, has his athletes move into more specificity as his plans progress... but he doesn't have them run distance at MP. He keeps them just above MP.

So, what is the benefit to training at GMP... AND... is it different for elite runners who have more fully developed aerobic systems?

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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:48 am

Can't respond to the "and" part, as I'm not an elite runner. But running at MP, in my opinion and experience, does teach my body the cadence and stride length necessary to maintain that pace, so it feels natural on race day.
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Alex Kubacki on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:59 am

Not being an expert and all, I would think there would be some value to hitting GMP at the end of long runs to get used to running GMP on tired legs. Just my half cent.
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:41 am

Like you, Matt, I never really run a specific GMP run. Many times I hit that pace at the end of a good effort easy run or GA run, but for the most part, I either do my runs deliberately slower or faster. I have never had a coach that had me run at GMP either. I;m sure there is some benefit in knowing what it feels like, but I often run that GA runs at what actually amounts to 10-15 sec above GMP, so I'm pretty close and know that in the race, I want GMP to feel like those runs (and for the most part it will unless I have a real bad day or the weather is uncooperative).
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Schuey on Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:57 pm

I can see how it works for some and how it can help build their confidence that they can run their GMP on race day.

Like Matt and Michelle I don't really run very many miles if any miles at my GMP. One reason like Matt has addressed in the pace I really don't know what my MP is going to be until race day and I start running. I have always been in the camp that it is all about effort and that the body doesn't know pace or even mileage, it only reacts to effort and time. That in my opinion is why runners hit the way at different miles because it really isn't the mileage that is causing the wall but more how long and what effort one is running to run low on carb energy before turning to more fat energy.

Hence again the reason to have the ability to train more at aerobic paces to help the body approve on using fat as energy vs using carbs. That in my opinion is why so many people have a hard time on race day. They never fully develop the engine and are always doing training runs to fast or in the case at MP because they are so worried about if they can run 26.2 miles at GMP. Where I feel the attention should be put more on the aerobic engine with doing hard runs at HMP or a little faster. the reason I say the second is that I do think it is very important to also develop one's LT because this in combo with a great aerobic engine will allow you to run at a faster pace for a much longer time.


As for the GMP runs during training I did ZERO runs at my MP for all of my last 3 PR's which were sub 3 marathons. I focused more on the aerobic side of things. Again this has been the recipe that has worked for me and it may not work for others. So if you feel that you need to run at MP so be it and do it and believe in it.
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:00 pm

Schuey - I guess you're a perfect counterpoint to this, but I always thought that regarding the fat vs. carb fueling thing, there was a benefit to running at MP... mainly that it teaches your body to be efficient at that pace. Isn't that why Dave (I think it was Dave...) was doing those 10-miles-at-MP midweek runs?
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Admin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:20 pm

@Schuey wrote:
As for the GMP runs during training I did ZERO runs at my MP for all of my last 3 PR's which were sub 3 marathons. I focused more on the aerobic side of things. Again this has been the recipe that has worked for me and it may not work for others. So if you feel that you need to run at MP so be it and do it and believe in it.

I am the same.

Consider this also, when you are training at higher volume (80+ mpw), a 10-12 run at GMP +20/30 secs will feel HARDER than actual MP on race day. I also contend that the body knows effort over time and not pace over distance. Here's an example:

Run 8 miles at 8:00 pace the morning after a 3 hour training run.
Run 8 miles at 8:00 pace the morning after a rest day.

Both are 64 min runs that cover 8 miles. The first run will take more effort because you have increased stress on the body. You are pre-fatigued. The second run will take less effort because the body is rested. Which provides more training stimulous? The first run, of course. Yet, they are both 8 mile runs at 8:00 pace. The body knows (and responds to) effort over time, not pace over distance.

Great discussion points, everyone.

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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:23 pm

Not only that, Matt - I do runs that are kind of like tempo runs, but usually broken into blocks of 2-4 miles @ HMP + 10 sec. I break these blocks up with an LSD mile. I find that those faster miles give me a lot more confidence in knowing I can reach and sustain that pace than MP runs.
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Alex Kubacki on Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:42 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:Consider this also, when you are training at higher volume (80+ mpw), a 10-12 run at GMP +20/30 secs will feel HARDER than actual MP on race day. I also contend that the body knows effort over time and not pace over distance.

I do this the day after a speed day (tempo or intervals). Not to go off track from original question but would that be considered too much for back to back days, or should that workout be done the day after an easy day? I'm not at the 80+, I'm more like 70 give or take. Thanks.
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Admin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:28 pm

@Alex Kubacki wrote:
@Mr MattM wrote:Consider this also, when you are training at higher volume (80+ mpw), a 10-12 run at GMP +20/30 secs will feel HARDER than actual MP on race day. I also contend that the body knows effort over time and not pace over distance.

I do this the day after a speed day (tempo or intervals). Not to go off track from original question but would that be considered too much for back to back days, or should that workout be done the day after an easy day? I'm not at the 80+, I'm more like 70 give or take. Thanks.

That could be too much. A lot depends on how hard/long you hit the speed day, and how aggressive your GMP is... if you are going to near exhaustion on speed day, and your GMP is overly aggressive, you could be setting up for a breakdown. Inversely, if you are hitting the speed work 'moderately hard' (ie, you end knowing you could run more at your speed pace if you had to) and your GMP is conservative, I think you'd be okay. The key is to pay attention to your body signals and your recovery, particularly if you start having problems with either your quality runs, or your motivation to run the easy days... those could be indicators that you are pushing too hard.

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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Jerry on Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:19 pm

What is G in GMP?
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Jerry on Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:30 pm

Regardless what the G stands for, here is Jerry $2.

One benefit is running economy at MP. But Jerry feels this is more true to elites than us because we improve a lot more than elites.

Another benefit is pacing. But as long as Garmin has good reading, Jerry is good at getting into the zone at any pace he is capable of running.

Jerry sometimes miscalculates how long he can hold that pace, but that's a different topic. lol!
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Admin on Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:40 pm

The G stands for Gebrselassie.

I prefer to run at Gebrselassie's Marathon Pace +20 seconds.

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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Ben Z on Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:25 am

Because every elite coach I have learned from prescribes miles at GMP.
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  Ben Z on Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:22 am

Because in training the effort of GMP runs is probably closer to the effort of HMP runs when rested.
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  JohnP on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:02 am

I don't think short runs at MP are worth it, except in the few weeks before the race.

MP miles as part of a fast finish are excellent

A half marathon run at MP is also an excellent conditioning workout
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Re: Training at GMP...

Post  ounce on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:08 am

For training for Houston, I did all my long runs at MP or faster (due to negative splits) for the confidence and body familiarity with the effort of which Mr. Schuey spoke. I'm not fast and I'll max out at 40 mpw by running 3 days a week.

I'll say the result gave me the confidence to push through the last 4 miles with not a whole lot of bleeding of time. I plan on doing the same, this cycle, except my 20's will be in late August when it's kinda warm down here.
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