Coach Greg McMillan on training for masters runners

Interesting interview by Scott Douglas via Running Times Online. McMillan makes some good points, particularly with regard to not lumping all masters runners together, and how the differences in background, rates of adaptation and recovery, and other factors influence how he coaches them.

Listen to the interview.

Welcome to Hell

Today was my only tough run of the week, as I prepare for the New Jersey Half Marathon on Sunday. The assignment was 10 miles at general aerobic pace + 4 miles at MPace (7:00).

Oh, my God. What a horrible run! Today was the perfect storm of bad runs: I woke up still fatigued from Sunday, with an upset stomach and bad allergies. Did I mention my right quads have been giving me grief too? I spent a couple of hours waiting for my stomach to calm down, only making it out the door at 8AM. By that time, it was already 75F.

I dutifully ran my 10 miles at the lowest HR I could that would still count as “general aerobic,” or 72% of max. The pace? 9:17. Lordy. That’s a recovery run pace on most days.

I got to the track to find full sun and a steady 8mph wind. By this time, it was 82F. Which means it felt like about 100F while running. I’d told myself not to look at paces, but instead focus on effort. I ran 1 mile and peeked at the time at the end: 7:13. Okay, not bad. But it was unsustainable. On the next lap, my HR was up to 89%, my pace down to 7:43.

I lay down in the shade for five minutes, debating whether or not to abandon the run. I’ve not yet abandoned any workout this season, so I didn’t want to start now. I ran another mile (7:52 at 88% HR) and lucked upon an abandoned, unopened bottle of water in the grass, amongst the dozen or so half consumed bottles. (Can’t be too careful with swine flu and cooties going around.) After a good guzzle I set out for the final mile: 7:49 at 93% HR).

I knew an MPace workout was not to be from the moment I woke up this morning. But it is always a shock to see just how much the heat can affect me. I was running tempo effort at the end at nearly a minute off MPace. It is what it is. But that degradation in performance, coupled with the extreme discomfort of running in high heat, has me dreading summer training already.

At least I get to relax for the next four days.

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