Today I went to the Hospital for Special Surgery’s performance Lab and met Exercise Physiologist/RN Polly De Mille. I had pressing questions about training and I want to try out a theory of metabolic efficiency as written about by Bob Seebohar. You can look him up if you are interested.
My first question. How can I spend 14 weeks running just 4 days a week, low mileage, one hill workout, one theshold, a mid-length run (14-16) and run “X” at the Brooklyn Marathon, then the next year run, under the guidance of a coach, run 7 days a week, at least one 18 miler and one 15 per week-fast, two track workouts, two general workouts, a basic total kick ass almost kill me plan, and run the exact same race down to the second? Does that mean that is it for me, I will not get faster?
Question two: Why is it that I am running 6 days a week, have good track workouts, excellent strength workouts, okay mid length runs 12 miles or so and so unfit. Really I feel unfit.
I will give the brief version of my testing today and the longer version when I get the full results. I was going in for first metabolic testing to find at what paces I am most efficient at fat burning rather than carbohydrate burning, because if I can make myself more efficient I will be able to run faster long. This is a submax test of slow incremental speed changes and longish running time. Then I would try to take it to my max if possible all the while getting my blood lactate measured. Also what I did not know was they were counting my cadence so I will get a report of any “stride efficiency leaks.”
After a 4 hour fast and with massive headgear in place and a big rubber tube attached to my mouth I started the warm-up, walking for 10 minutes while gathering data. After the 10:00 warm up, the Woodward Treadmills set at 1% include when from paces, 9:52, 9:17, 8:45, 8:18, 7:53, 7:30, 7:10, 6:51. At about 7:30 my right quad started aching, and sweat started forming. At 7:10 I could not believe how awful this felt telling myself the whole time, “this is shower than your 5k pace” then two and a half minutes into the 6:51 I put up my finger to stop, that was enough of this madness. But Polly was telling me to push, push, push, one more minute, keep going. There was a second I thought I would puke into the giant rubber mouth gag. When I decided I wanted to stop, suddenly the headgear felt terrible and I wanted it out. I made it to the end of the stage, my blood lactate at 10.3, overcooked basically. It seems sad to have to stop at this slow of a pace. I thought I would make it to 6:00 since they were only 4 minutes long, but I wanted out of there. Here is the most basic I what I learned.
My blood lactate started rising more quickly around 8:18 pace, if I remember correctly, so that needs to raise. But why would it not clear better and why did it raise here? This is the ultimate find. I need to make more mitochondria and aerobic enzymes. With more mitochondria and aerobic enzymes I will burn fat more efficiently, I will be able to run faster longer and that mitochondria will gobble up and use the lactate rather than send it haywire all over. More simply? In training I need to run slower, longer, oh and cut out grains and high carbohydrate foods. According to my current Vo2Max, I should be able to run a 3:17 marathon, a 1:34 half. My best marathon is 3:43, best half 1:43, that is a big difference. But it also goes to show I am not aerobically fit as the marathon is almost 100% aerobic.
This is very exciting news and my optimism is quite high. There is one more reason I wanted these number, to train for running a 50 miler race in October and in July the Grand Canyon R2R2R!
So what this said as I understand it at the moment is that if I work primarily on my aerobic endurance and efficiency, I have room to get way better, which is way cool.
The HSS performance lab will be sending my mult-page report at the end of the week. I will let you know more about it.