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Polarized training

1 lurker | 65 watchers
25 Jul
11:11am, 25 Jul 2017
11596 posts
So my question is coming from a slightly different angle - what pace is a sensible pace to do an easy LSR pace, given that Cornwall's topography doesn't permit run at 8.30 pace for one mile, as it will be 9.50 pace one mile, 7.40 the next and the 9.50 mile (uphill) will be considerably more stressful than the 7.40 (downhill). The data I have available are HR (I don't have HRV), breathing rate, and perceived exertion - the last can be quite inaccurate.

As Canute says - "It think it demonstrates that HR alone might not be reliable enough as an index of stress."

Yep - this is the key take home point for me from my training earlier in the page, even though the spikes in my HR point to clear points of stress, so I could, if I wanted to, argue the opposite. But I was quite clearly in significantly more distress the second time (the hill was twice as long and equally as steep) yet my heart rate did not reach the same spike it did first time. (And I guesstimate my HRMax is 174-176 - I have seen 174 in the last year at the end of an intense training session, and 170s aren't unheard of in intervals) So a spike of 164 is not outrageous.

So there's several boundaries we pass in the HR zones (the zones according to BrianMac site) energy efficient zone 1 , aerobic zone 2, aneorobic zone 3 and red zone 4. (I know some have a 5th zone, BrianMac certainly didn't acknowledge it existed in email correspondence with me). And one approach is to stay within these zones... but to what end - what happens if you breach a zone temporarily - going say 130HR to 150HR doesn't hurt even for 5 mins, but going 164 for half a minute evidently does.

During these we cross the VT1, VT2 and ultimately approach the VO2 max. As Canute has indicated, elsewhere breathing can be often a more effective measure of effort than HR and I agree given the following:

1) RHR can fluctuate between 20 beats per minute on a daily basis - yes it can I say quietly to those who dispute this, I have plenty of medical links to back this up a

2) HR zones are very difficult to measure - the simplest measures of HR max can be inefficient - youve no guarantee you hit your max - my max was hit in a Vo2 max test and a bleep test but I was told on the heart rate thread this was ineffective and to warmup then run up a hill 3 times hard, and never once did I approach the initial figures. AND also there are disputes as to which zones are which as one formula will set them considerably lower than another.

So as Kieran points out HRV seems like it's also unreliable (perhaps because measuring it accurately with current gadgets is not yet a mature technology, in the same way earlier Garmin GPS signals could make miles anywhere between half a mile and one a half). So might RHR before you run on the day might be a good one? I notice that before setting off for a run, I stand for a minute getting HR down, and some days it drops right down to low 50s high 40s, other days it stays perched above 60. The days it starts higher it goes higher, and is harder to keep down in the run. So starting with zones assigned as to the day's RHR before you start, and then using breathing rates on any given hill? Rather than a slavish stay in zone 2, etc etc. Does that sound like a sensible approach?

I ask this because I think ultimately a similar approach must be used in actual marathons by me. I note my worst two marathons have come from me be adequately prepared, doing good times in training, BUT on the day being not quite with it, and yet still pushing on with the plan.

I note in cycling, Sky are reknowned for using "power meters". What data do they relay back that has analogues to running OTHER than HR?
25 Jul
1:44pm, 25 Jul 2017
13158 posts
Fenland (Fenners) Runner
I think you could be over thinking the HR side. It is a guide and will vary but you're looking for trends.
25 Jul
2:25pm, 25 Jul 2017
11597 posts
Well put it this way I ran a 1.29.00 half in one build up, with 7 *20 milers in the buildup, and then 3.29.XX on the day, on a flattish course.

My take on it was I didn't feel like I was 100% on the day (not ill), should have adjusted sub 3.15 pace to match, to 3.20 or even 3.25 pace...
25 Jul
11:15pm, 25 Jul 2017
1805 posts
Chrisull, This is a challenging question. The reason I use multiple measures whenever subjective feeling provides an initial warning is that no single measure is reliable enough. On the only occasion in the past decade when I have approached the edge of serious over-training, it was the co-existence of several abnormal heart rate and heart rate variability measurements that confirmed that there was a problem. After a week of very light training and a second week in which I gradually increased training load, I was OK. A month later I ran one of my best HM's as a masters athlete - possibly due to the benefits of pushing myself near to the limit but not beyond.

Unfortunately subjective feelings alone can be misleading - most notably during the taper. That is why I treat subjective experience as the warning sign but then employ physiological measurements

Although power meters appear to have transformed cycle training I suspect that Sky and others use multiple indicators of fitness.
26 Jul
4:39pm, 26 Jul 2017
33639 posts
Hills of Death (HOD)
All you guys are talking another level to me I thought I understood it lol.

So basically Fenners are you saying you are reaping the benefits from 50 mpw easy and beyond with the tempo et al.

Plus of course you can borrow it when I get around to finishing it 😉
26 Jul
5:48pm, 26 Jul 2017
13184 posts
Fenland (Fenners) Runner
HoD, yeah, I'm saying that I have reaped benefits with a far smaller split than 80:20. And the 'faster' stuff amounts to little more than a few parkruns.

Get the L100 out the way and a decent recovery perhaps I should have a go at training properly. ;-)
26 Jul
6:18pm, 26 Jul 2017
1806 posts
There is little doubt that many athletes do well, especially in marathons, using a polarised program with less than 20% high intensity. Ed Whitlock ran some of the most impressive marathons ever run on a program that consisted of 3 hours per day at a very slow pace most days of the week, together with occasional 5K and 10K races.

In general high volume of low intensity running is fairly safe, provided the volume is increased gradually over several months. Nonetheless, it is possible to suffer over-training with excessive volume even at low intensity
26 Jul
6:47pm, 26 Jul 2017
13187 posts
Fenland (Fenners) Runner
Canute, I completely agree. It is my past 11-12 years running that has enabled me to put together the last seven-eight months of high volume for me. However compared to the great man, Ed, I was doing about 30% his time per day.

I've also found that non-impact sport e.g. swimming and cycling has helped.

About This Thread

Polarised training is a form of training that places emphasis on the two extremes of intensity. There is a large amount of low intensity training (comfortably below lactate threshold) and an appreciable minority of high intensity training (above LT).

Polarised training does also include some training near lactate threshold, but the amount of threshold training is modest, in contrast to the relatively high proportion of threshold running that is popular among some recreational runners.

Polarised training is not new. It has been used for many years by many elites and some recreational runners. However, it has attracted great interest in recent years for two reasons.

First, detailed reviews of the training of many elite endurance athletes confirms that they employ a polarised approach (typically 80% low intensity, 10% threshold and 10% high intensity. )

Secondly, several scientific studies have demonstrated that for well trained athletes who have reached a plateau of performance, polarised training produces greater gains in fitness and performance, than other forms of training such as threshold training on the one hand, or high volume, low intensity training on the other.

Much of the this evidence was reviewed by Stephen Seiler in a lecture delivered in Paris in 2013 .
Link (roll over me to see where I go)

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