Sunday, February 5, 2012

Peaked?

Last Spring I ran a 5K PR at the Mother's Day 5K and figured I'd have a long season of PRs given how little running I'd done before that. Indeed, I had already PRed at the Rivah 10 miler and a couple of weeks later I PRed at the Pineland 25K despite a run-stopping side-stitch. But the summer and especially fall races didn't pan out as expected, which really bothered me. How could my fastest running be in the spring with having run so little during the winter?

Fast forward to today. I ran for the first time the mid-winter classic 10 miler. It's a great course, superbly directed (by Chandra and Blaine), and it was fun to race with lots of friends. Still, I was pretty unimpressed with my time. To compare with other races, I'd have to come up with equivalents, so I used McMillan's calculator to compute my marathon equivalent (left axis) and 5K equivalent (right axis) for all of my road races on certified courses. I've color coded each race by distance.
(click image to enlarge)
Today's race is the black dot. The green dot is my one actual marathon race.
Thoughts:
1. I'm clearly fastest at 5Ks and get less fast with increasing distance
2. My poor races are generally because of either heat or side-stitches. That's not an excuse for today's race
3. I seem to have peaked
4. I've never not PRed in a 5K!

One possible cause of the peak is my aging. So I reanalyzed the data using WAVA age graded tables, which gives you a score, which I suppose could be compared among anyone. It's a little harder to see if the current trend is a peak or just a few bad races. Regardless, this plot really shows an amazingly linear progression (until my last few races that is).

(click image to enlarge)

6 comments:

  1. Jeff, could it be that you just don't run enough distance? And, if you always PR in 5Ks, how can you possibly have peaked?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Given that you've only done one marathon, you haven't had the chance to experiment with different training strategies, which you well know are a dime a dozen. To me, that's half the fun of training and racing...experimenting and tweaking and finding out what works best. Play around with it some more and take comfort you still kick younger dudes' butts like mine all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Val. Yes 3&4 contradict eac other! I also gree with not running enough miles. I think to squeeze out better 10k and especially marathon I need mo miles, mo' miles, mo' miles. my training now Jamie is Hanson's Plus.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting data Jeff. I don't think you should rule out longer runs based on your past, like Jamie said you just haven't experienced them that much. On the other hand you're obviously an experienced 5k racer and I would again agree that you have NOT peaked my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The biggest gap in my training is my lack of long runs. I just don't consistently do them. I've been trying to ramp back up but my weekends are always shot with HS skiing on Saturday and often family (or snowshoe race) obligations on Sunday. For example this weekend I have an important HS race all day saturday and then a snowshoe race sunday. So the only way to run long either day would be at the end of the day after a tiring event. In a sense long ski days can replace long runs but even these have been few and far between (3 this season) because of saturday commitments. So yesterday I've decided that the only way I can get a decent run in is during the week and my plan is to do a long run on T or Th and then a long ski on Sun (my next 3 saturday's are shot).

    ReplyDelete
  6. You've just described the dilemma of a regular dude trying to run fast. We do the best we can within the parameters of life.

    ReplyDelete