Lactate (In)tolerant

October 2, 2014

My, how time flies when you’re running. I could have sworn it had been 2 weeks since I last posted, but it’s been 3. A busy 3 weeks, apparently. I would consider myself mostly fully entrenched in Koop’s (Carmichael Training Systems – plan. It’s taken some adjustments, but overall, I’m really happy with him as a coach and with the plan. Right now, I’m focusing on lactate threshold which means lots of tempo runs. The tempos he has me running are different from your (or maybe just my) usual tempos in that they’re broken up with periods of rest. Sort of like long fartleks. I wasn’t sure of my feelings on them at the beginning, since I’m used to think of a tempo more in the sense of: 8 mile tempo. Go. The difference with the mindset that I find accompanies that sort of workout is that you may go faster than you should (because it means you’re done faster), which isn’t always a bad thing, but when you’re trying to accomplish something in particular, it might actually work against you. With the time-oriented tempo, you have to run the whole time. If you go faster, you’ll go farther during the interval, but you won’t run any less time. It really makes you conscious of how you’re pacing the workout because no matter what, you’re going to run the 40 or so minutes of tempo. With the set distance, I’m often tempted to run faster to get it over faster. And I’ve come to really like the breaks between my tempos, not just because I like rest intervals, but because I can tackle each tempo interval as its own beast because I know I’ll get some recovery afterwards. If I put myself in the hole too soon, I have less time to suffer through it and can reset on the next repeat. That’s not really the case with the longer tempos, where I usually end up stopping early if I dig too deep too soon.

On a slightly different note, I ventured up to Folsom this past Saturday and ran in the Willow Hills 5k XC race. It was a nice change of pace (harharhar) from the tempo work I’d been doing, and despite the fact that I did 3 tempo intervals before the race, I was able to move a bit faster than the intervals on a punchy course. I was more fatigued than I would have been had I lined up fresh, but simply being back on the start line energized me. I will admit to looking for opportunities to power hike during the race, but managed to keep my hands off my knees. I did run into a big tree branch about ¾ of a mile from the finish, which wasn’t ideal, but it was quite superficial and didn’t bleed much, which was about as good an outcome as I could have wished for. Then, on Sunday, DBo and I had a nice 20+ mile run on the mountain. It’s my longest run since Western States and I had no issues whatsoever with my legs, which I will admit wasn’t much of a worry heading into it, but I still want to acknowledge it because for a while there, anything above 15 miles was treacherous. I did have a wart removed from my pinky toe 2 weeks ago and that has been a bit of a nuisance as it heals, but I know it’s very superficial and it’s getting better so I can deal with it until it’s back to 100%.


Willow Hills XC Start (why are we running so fast?) credit: Dayu Tao

Looking forward, I’ll be doing a similar workout to Folsom this weekend – 3 tempo intervals and then racing the Presidio XC race on Saturday. My next longer race is the New York Marathon, on November 2. I won’t be doing any real marathon prep work for the race, but I am interested to see how this training will have me feeling on race day. I’ll be doing more tempos between now and then, and will start incorporating some back-to-back workouts which I imagine will be rather fatiguing, but I’m excited for it. It’s great being back on a plan. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it.

About afvarner

Runner. Donuts. Sneakerhead. Not necessarily in that order. Nike Trail Elite. Picky Bars. Gu. Vicory Sportdesign.
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2 Responses to Lactate (In)tolerant

  1. Josh says:

    First, thanks for answering my last question about shoes. Second, another newbie question from an old guy getting back into running: is there a schedule of norcal xcountry races somewhere? And finally, any recs on xcountry shoes–looks like some of the courses have pavement so no spikes? Thanks again.

  2. afvarner says:

    Norcal xc races can be found here:
    Probably your best bet for a shoe that can handle all of the different terrain types would be something out of the spikeless section on this page (about halfway down):
    I’m a huge fan of the Nike Streak LT 2, as it’s really lightweight, durable, and versatile (I use it for road races as well). The problem with spikes is that they are likely to be rather uncomfortable on any course with hard-packed dirt or gravel. Thanks for reading!

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