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Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

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Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

Post  Alex Kubacki on Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:43 pm

I'm sure this topic has been discussed. I'm trying to figure out how to find that line between going past the comfort zone on a training run and just going too hard. One of my biggest fears is leaving my race on the training runs. I've done it in the past. So as a result I've become gun shy at times on some of my runs.

This weekend was a perfect example. I had an 18 w/10 @MP. My goal this fall is 3:35 as I shoot for 3:25 next year. So as I was in the MP portion I found myself constantly dialing it back even though I felt strong because of this fear I have. As it was I ended up averaging about 10sec a mile faster than MP.

For the experienced out there how did you find that line? Thanks.
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Re: Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

Post  Kenny B. on Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:12 pm

@Alex Kubacki wrote:I'm sure this topic has been discussed. I'm trying to figure out how to find that line between going past the comfort zone on a training run and just going too hard. One of my biggest fears is leaving my race on the training runs. I've done it in the past. So as a result I've become gun shy at times on some of my runs.

This weekend was a perfect example. I had an 18 w/10 @MP. My goal this fall is 3:35 as I shoot for 3:25 next year. So as I was in the MP portion I found myself constantly dialing it back even though I felt strong because of this fear I have. As it was I ended up averaging about 10sec a mile faster than MP.

For the experienced out there how did you find that line? Thanks.

I am not sure I have yet to find that line or the line maybe changes. I schedule my runs and paces based on past races (hey that rhymes). I use Mcmillian and other factors as a way to guide me to the proper paces I should be running my training runs. I also take into heavy consideration my HR on each run basing it off my HR reserve.

Sunday I ran 14 w/ 4 @ MP. I was coming off a recovery run on Sat with a fairly low HR that day. I woke up feeling very good and figured it would be a good day to hit my paces. I ended up nailing my run but running MP portion about 5-10 seconds faster per split. Looking at my HR during the pace portion it was higher then I prefer. For me this tells me I went over line "possibly".

Now, if I ran today (I took off) and my HR was high on the recovery run and/or my legs felt terrible that would help as well.

Another way you can tell if you are overtraining is by taking your resting HR in the morning before you get out of bed. I find this to help determine if you should take it easy that day or go as planned.

Running trial times or races is always a good way IMO as well. Training for marathon I will try to get in a HM for sure about 6-7 weeks out to see my fitness.

I am no expert but that is how I work it!
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Re: Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

Post  Dave-O on Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:48 pm

In my opinion, finding that line, and coming as close to possible to it without going over, is the most difficult question in running. If you knew an easy way to do so, you'd be the most famous coach out there.

A lot of it just has to be learned. The more tempos, intervals, long runs, etc that you log, you'll get accustomed to the right effort level. Also, pay attention to how you recover. If you're more than just a tad fatigued the day after a tempo, you probably went too hard. If you need 3 days to bounce back from a long run, you probably went too fast. You get the idea. In general terms, the McMillan Running calculator helps with this. Plug in your goal time and it will spit out a pace range for each type of run. Those are pretty accurate.

Pertaining specifically to your question: Before you go out for a run, remember that every run has a purpose. And each type of run - whether its a long run, tempo run, recovery run, track work - has a very different purpose. Knowing the goal of each run makes its easier to stay disciplined to achieve that goal. For a marathon pace run, the purpose is to teach your body to be as efficient as possible at a given speed. Thus, varying from tha pace by more than +/- 10 seconds/mile isn't going to serve that purpose. If you accept that fact, it becomes a lot less tempting to run too hard.
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Re: Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

Post  Jerry on Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:41 pm

@Alex Kubacki wrote:

As it was I ended up averaging about 10sec a mile faster than MP.


Well, if the intend is to practice marathon pace, 10 sec faster is a perfect example of pushing too hard. lol!

I always remember I read a coach(sorry, forget about the name) interview someone posted on v-board. His approach is to take an easy on his runners for years until he sees break through potential to a different level. Otherwise, he sees no point to risk injury on his college runners.

I tend to think if I use push to categorize my training in order to improve, I do something wrong. Other than injury, age is the only factor that I see prevents me from improving. At that time, I may make a final push. Maybe not. We will see. Sleep
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Re: Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

Post  Schuey on Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:43 pm

You know Alex I saw your post earlier today and I have been thinking about it all day. And I think that Dave's answer pretty much summed up what I was thinking. I really think that it is a personal thing that each of us as runners has to fine were that line is in our training and then don't cross it.

There is no doubt that I this past winter I came pretty close and if you ask me I actually crossed that line. I'm not going to say that it is a good thing to cross that line but at the same I don't think it's bad. The reason for that statement is that at least when you cross it you know were that line is. The key is once you have crossed it, you know you have crossed it and in the future you don't cross it again. The thing to remember thought is as you become more fit and advance as a runner that line will be pushed to a different level and then you will have to find that line again.

Again like Dave said if you want to play it safe you can use the McMillan calculator to get you in the right pace ranges. And if you find yourself at the fast end of the pace range for your runs and you are not feeling fatigued then maybe it is time to pick a new time goal due to your fitness improving. I won't change anything with your goal time or paces until you find that you are running at the fast end or faster for at least 2 weeks. Hope that makes sense.
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Re: Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:20 pm

Going to echo what's been said about the purpose of MP runs: to develop fuel efficiency, running economy, and comfort at MP. Varying too far from the pace defeats the purpose of that.

With other runs, though, I look at things this way:
1. Always remember the big picture. Don't compromise a future run with the one you're doing now.
2. Discomfort is a good indication that you'll cause your body to respond and get stronger. Pain or misery are not at all productive.
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Re: Where is line between pushing and pushing too hard?

Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:22 am

Thanks for the input everyone.
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