Last nights track session gave me lots of food for thought....
In a bid to get some pre-marathon build up speed I have bought myself a pair of spikes. Nothing flash but a pair of middle distance spikes that will do the job!
Having only just recovered from Blaydon I wasnt sure how the legs would react so decided on a mixed bag session of 3 x 300m (after a decent warm up of course!) and then a 15 minute effort. This was to be followed up by a set of 4 x 400m @ 3km speed.
I read a great article by the late Frank Horwill about how to improve VO2 Max which gave me some great ideas. It starts with a BALKE test which is 15 minutes of sustained running on a track where the aim is to try and run as many 400m laps as possible. It is then possible (with a certain degree of accuracy it seems) to be able to calculate VO2 max.
I managed 11 full laps and about 160m of a 12th lap in the 15 minutes. The pace I ran for the effort was about 5-16 pace average which would work out to be a sub 16-30 effort. Very pleasing considering a sub 16-30 is something I have been aiming for this season.
Using the site above this works out to be a VO2 Max of 62.71mls/kg/min. For a 40 - 49 year old male this works out to be Superior! I will be repeating the test again in about 4 to 6 weeks and see if I can improve. Nowhere near the VO2 max reported for the legendary Dave Bedford reported to be 85 mls/kg/min! Its likely that people will say that this test cannot be that accurate but as long as it is repeated under similar conditions it is worth a go to see how you are progressing.
The 400s that followed were all hitting target times and the spikes worked a treat!
We also used a bit of video analysis using my new IPAD App (Coach's Eye). With footage of me running the 15 minute effort at the start, mid point and end I had the opportunity to use a bit of freeze frame analysis and have a good look at my running technique. I know I don't have the best running style but it has always been fairly effective in getting me from A to B. What I noticed most of all was my foot strike was bit too far forward of my centre of gravity and may be acting as a bit of a brake - it may also explain some of my hamstring injuries over the years!
What I need to work out now is what to do about it...How much can I change my technique and do i risk injury by making changes at this stage of my life to something as fundamental as the way I run.
My morning run today I consciously thought about where I planted my foot and it did feel a bit different - considering I was tired from the session last night I felt quite bouncy and light trying to mid foot strike rather than heel striking.
There will be plenty of opportunities to test these things out in the next few weeks as I tackle a few more track races.
Time to attack those targets I talked about a few weeks ago!
800m = Under 2.21
1500m = Under 4.37
5000m = Under 16.12