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Is Less More?

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Is Less More?

Post by jerseyguy on Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:35 am

My myocardial infarction was in the fall of 2013 and last year was my first year back in running after a 25 year hiatus. In retrospect I had modest successes in 2014 logging 1600 miles, 4 half marathons and a full marathon in November. I also learned an important lesson: I may have a revascularized heart but the rest of my body is still nearly a half a century old. Nothing major but I had bumps along the road with a calf strain, ITB issues and PF that has still not completely resolved. I believe I have the wisdom to know that if I am in this for the long run...no pun intended...I need to remain injury free.

I have taken a different approach this year incorporating low impact training (ARC trainer, strengthening exercises, resistance training) with running. My net milage is actually about 60% of what is was last year to this date though the total number of my exercise sessions has remained the same. I have also self imposed a mandatory recovery day after running 3 consecutive days.

My primary objective for the year is to run the Global Heroes Marathon in October. If this is not meant to be I will set my sights on Philadelphia again in November. Along the way I will be doing more half's. I am currently doing 15 mile runs on the weekends without issues.

Have any of the veteran runners out there taken a "less is more" approach? If so what were your experiences? I know I will have to ramp up my miles as the marathon dates become closer.

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by RoadKillBill on Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:17 pm

Hi JG

Everyone has different tolerance for volume, but it sounds like you ramped everything up pretty quickly in 2014. I was never a distance runner in my youth, but got interested in triathlon when I was in my early 40's. My body did a lot of griping during that first year - ITB, shin splints, knees, random foot pains, etc. It took me a good two years before I could run 25 miles in a week without feeling beaten up -- and then I had my heart surgery and started all over again :-/

Your ability to run 15 milers without issue is a good sign, IMO, and the cross training with mandatory recovery seems like a reasonable plan. Of the folks I know who do Ironman and marathons, there is a lot of variation in the amount of running they do, and volume doesn't seem to correlate that much with actual race times. I know people who run 30 miles/week who perform better than others who exceed 50. There is certainly a minimum training volume necessary for success, but my observation is that there are diminishing returns for a lot of people. I think it starts to become a matter of how much you enjoy running to the exclusion of other activities.

I hope you get it all dialed in and have a successful 2015. Good luck with Global Heroes.

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by Tom price on Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:19 pm

As George Sheehan said, "we are all an experiment of one"! So, best advice, try going minimal and see how you do! I have definetly cut back in the last five years or so and recovery from long runs takes much longer!
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Re: Is Less More?

Post by EugeneRunner on Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:28 pm

There are a ton of variables, not the least of which is how much you ran in the past. The 25 year hiatus is also a huge variable I don't have much experience with.

Especially with older runners the #1 goal is to stay healthy. You will race way better being undertrained than injured. I put on a series of masters (age 40+) track races every year, and it is amazing what a large percentage of the athletes who enter never even make it to the starting line. The running joke is it isn't who is in the best shape that wins, but the person who is the least injured.

Personally I've found I can get by with less as I've gotten older because I've got 34 years of running under my belt and I've run at a pretty high level. That past running never completely goes away. Training at 50% still probably get me to 90% of top race performance. But when you are new to running (or maybe haven't run in many years?) it takes more work to break new ground in your running performance.

Way back when, I jumped my mileage from 30 to 80-90 mpw and my 5K time dropped by 3 minutes. But now I probably only need 50 mpw to continue to run at close to the same level.

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by Sumorunner on Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:04 pm

I took a coaching course from USA T&F many years ago. Day 1, lesson 1 was to calculate each athlete's "training age". If you were away for 25 years, your training age was back to zero, now it's 1.

EugeneRunner has a training age of 34 because of continuous immersion in running competition. He or anyone with a training age above 7 can ramp up the volume or intensity in a matter of days. Someone of "age" 1 cannot increase the load as quickly. Doing so will overload something, somewhere. Muscles, tendons, bones, something's going to break down unless you ramp up more slowly.

I, on the other hand, am on the other side of the hill, training age over 40, and real age is now a bigger factor in the equation such that I need to ramp up almost like a newbie.

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by Dave Tuttle on Sun Mar 29, 2015 6:18 pm

We are indeed an experiment of one... I'm a back of the pack guy (back of the race actually) and always have been so I'm not in the same league as the fast guys but I do like running long distances for fitness and heart health. I started running after 4XCABG in my late 40s and now that I'm in my 60's and 14,000 miles later I'm finding that the abuses I put on my body when I was young are taking their toll. I thrived on 30 mile weeks in my 50s but 20 mile weeks hurt now. My heart is stronger than it's ever been. I proved that years of running are very good for your heart... It's the joints that I beat up with a lifetime of heavy labor that are slowing me down now. For me it looks like less is going to have to be more... The up side of this is that if I can continue to pound out 20 mile weeks I'll be greatly exceeding the current exercise recommendations for heart health and I'll still be able to outrun at least 80% of today's young people.

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by jerseyguy on Sun Mar 29, 2015 6:47 pm

Thanks for the insights everyone. I feel like I am making the right decision with my current routine. My revascularization has opened up a new world of possibilities for me and I need to be smarter. I have a feeling some of our cardiac histories are probably fairly similar though the treatment modalities may be different. Dave, like you (and everyone else), I hope to be running for many years to come.

I should tell you that I ran in my first half marathon of 2015 this morning. It was the Philadelphia Love Run. Interestingly, even with the significant reduction in my milage my time improved by nearly 12 minutes from last year.

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by Tom price on Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:30 pm

Great! So less is more! Smile Smile it's really amazing....sometimes it's more how you feel on race day, how the run goes, than all the mileage you put in training for it! Congrats!
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Re: Is Less More?

Post by HerbW on Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:26 pm

I embrace Less is More everyday.

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by RoadKillBill on Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:28 am

jerseyguy wrote:Interestingly, even with the significant reduction in my milage my time improved by nearly 12 minutes from last year.

WOW! Faster pace by nearly 1 min/mile?? That is awesome! Congratulations, young man!

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Re: Is Less More?

Post by Rachel August on Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:49 pm

jerseyguy wrote:Thanks for the insights everyone.  I feel like I am making the right decision with my current routine.  My revascularization has opened up a new world of possibilities for me and I need to be smarter.  I have a feeling some of our cardiac histories are probably fairly similar though the treatment modalities may be different.  Dave, like you (and everyone else),  I hope to be running for many years to come.

I should tell you that I ran in my first half marathon of 2015 this morning.  It was the Philadelphia Love Run.  Interestingly, even with the significant reduction in my milage my time improved by nearly 12 minutes from last year.

Congrats on that half!!!!

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Re: Is Less More?

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