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PR mystery

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Post  Peg Coover Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:35 pm

How is it that I can get a 90+ second 15 K PR, but can't get a 20 second PR in a 5 K??? The 5 K attempt was in the midst of marathon training, both early and late, so summer humidity and heat early but possible fatigue later....but the 15 K PR I got yesterday was 2 weeks post marathon.....

I'm confused!

I think I need a coach!

Best 5K's this year were all about 26:05. Last year I had a 25:45 which is the best I've seen in the last few years. My best all time is 25:18 from many years ago....
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Post  Jerry Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:50 pm

Nothing to confuse at in my opinion. If you don't have a perfect condition, be it weather or mental or physical, you write it off. Basically it is always real even with bad condition. It may not be with any exception. You just need to try it again under perfect conditions.

Of cause you do have a problem after you have tried several under perfect conditions. lol!

Edit: There is still a chance your training is not targeting a specific distance though.
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Post  Peg Coover Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:57 pm

Jerry, I agree that I may not be targeting a specific distance. I train for one marathon a year and run shorter races during the training.

I train for a half in the spring which has me do some speed work but not necessarily 5K target-training.

If I want to get a 5K OR 10K PR do I need to ditch the marathon?

I'm just amazed that the 15K time came down that much when I couldn't bring down my 5k this year....
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Post  Jerry Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:10 pm

Peg Coover wrote:

If I want to get a 5K OR 10K PR do I need to ditch the marathon?


No.

I think at our levels(99% of us regardless of the time) we don't need to target specific distance. Our PRs come from fitness gain. Of cause if we target, we may have a little more gain on the specific distance.

What I was saying is if you have fitness gain validated by a different distance like 15k AND have raced perfectly under perfect condition for 5k multiple time, but can't PR, we may need to look at your training to see if you need to do a specific 5k training.

In general, I think the specific training is for elites.
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Post  Mark B Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:23 pm

Jerry wrote:
Peg Coover wrote:

If I want to get a 5K OR 10K PR do I need to ditch the marathon?


No.

I think at our levels(99% of us regardless of the time) we don't need to target specific distance. Our PRs come from fitness gain. Of cause if we target, we may have a little more gain on the specific distance.

What I was saying is if you have fitness gain validated by a different distance like 15k AND have raced perfectly under perfect condition for 5k multiple time, but can't PR, we may need to look at your training to see if you need to do a specific 5k training.

In general, I think the specific training is for elites.

I don't think I agree with Jerry on this one. affraid

Now, I'm not saying that you need to ditch marathon training to focus on a 5k...

But... most marathon training doesn't provide a lot of VOMax conditioning. To do well in a 5k, you need to go out and really haul, and really feel the burn in your legs and lungs so you can put the hammer down on race day and really GO! That sort of training isn't overly useful for the marathon distance, but that doesn't mean you have to ditch marathon training.

Here's an idea: I got a very nice PR in a 5k a month after a marathon by following one of Hal's post-marathon recovery programs, in which he scheduled progressively faster mile repeats leading up to a 5k. That limited speed work, coupled with all the base work I'd done for the marathon, was enough to let me fire up the turbos on race day.

Maybe something like that would work for you, once you've got your marathon out of the way.
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Post  Dave Bussard Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:59 am

Jerry wrote:
Peg Coover wrote:

If I want to get a 5K OR 10K PR do I need to ditch the marathon?


No.

I think at our levels(99% of us regardless of the time) we don't need to target specific distance. Our PRs come from fitness gain. Of cause if we target, we may have a little more gain on the specific distance.

What I was saying is if you have fitness gain validated by a different distance like 15k AND have raced perfectly under perfect condition for 5k multiple time, but can't PR, we may need to look at your training to see if you need to do a specific 5k training.

In general, I think the specific training is for elites.

In my opinion, Jerry's wrong. You can't expect to PR at all distances across the board by just training for the marathon. Just as you wouldn't expect to run a decent marathon on just 5K training...You will run well at longer distances but the performances will start to tail off as the race distances get shorter.

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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:29 am

Peg - I'm with Mark and Dave on this. A 15K is far closer to a marathon with regards to training, etc. than a 5K. 5ks are pure evil expecting you to be running on the absolute edge, but a 15K is a comfortably fast race and fits in with marathon training. I, for one, ran a faster 5K in my 10K PR than my actual 5K PR, and eaven today, my per mile pace for a 5K is often equivalent to that of my 10K races.
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Post  Jerry Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:27 am

Dave Bussard wrote:
Jerry wrote:
Peg Coover wrote:

If I want to get a 5K OR 10K PR do I need to ditch the marathon?


No.

I think at our levels(99% of us regardless of the time) we don't need to target specific distance. Our PRs come from fitness gain. Of cause if we target, we may have a little more gain on the specific distance.

What I was saying is if you have fitness gain validated by a different distance like 15k AND have raced perfectly under perfect condition for 5k multiple time, but can't PR, we may need to look at your training to see if you need to do a specific 5k training.

In general, I think the specific training is for elites.

In my opinion, Jerry's wrong. You can't expect to PR at all distances across the board by just training for the marathon. Just as you wouldn't expect to run a decent marathon on just 5K training...You will run well at longer distances but the performances will start to tail off as the race distances get shorter.

Dave

I disagree respectively. I never disagree with Dave before.

But more so I just want to clarify what I meant - we can PR in short distances by training at longer distance, but not the other way around cause we wouldn't have the necessary edurance.

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Post  fostever Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:15 am

2 weeks post marathon 15K PR? You may have run conservatively enough in the marathon so that you were peaking at just the right time for the 15K race.
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Post  Jim Lentz Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:34 am

Mark B wrote:
Jerry wrote:
Peg Coover wrote:

If I want to get a 5K OR 10K PR do I need to ditch the marathon?


No.

I think at our levels(99% of us regardless of the time) we don't need to target specific distance. Our PRs come from fitness gain. Of cause if we target, we may have a little more gain on the specific distance.

What I was saying is if you have fitness gain validated by a different distance like 15k AND have raced perfectly under perfect condition for 5k multiple time, but can't PR, we may need to look at your training to see if you need to do a specific 5k training.

In general, I think the specific training is for elites.

I don't think I agree with Jerry on this one. affraid

Now, I'm not saying that you need to ditch marathon training to focus on a 5k...

But... most marathon training doesn't provide a lot of VOMax conditioning. To do well in a 5k, you need to go out and really haul, and really feel the burn in your legs and lungs so you can put the hammer down on race day and really GO! That sort of training isn't overly useful for the marathon distance, but that doesn't mean you have to ditch marathon training.

Here's an idea: I got a very nice PR in a 5k a month after a marathon by following one of Hal's post-marathon recovery programs, in which he scheduled progressively faster mile repeats leading up to a 5k. That limited speed work, coupled with all the base work I'd done for the marathon, was enough to let me fire up the turbos on race day.

Maybe something like that would work for you, once you've got your marathon out of the way.

I agree with Mark that doing one of Hal's post-marathon plans helped me to PR in a 5K.
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Post  Admin Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:52 am

I think part of the equation is also how soft a PR is a given distance. That's always a factor.

I actually agree with Jerry that marathon training (to include some speedwork) can provide PRs across all race distances, assuming the prior PRs weren't set with distance-specific training. By that I mean, if you train specifically for a 5k race and set a PR... you might find it hard to beat that PR later when you are marathon training. However, if your 5k PR is set during a marathon training cycle... and you improve your marathon (and overall) fitness in a subsequent marathon training cycle... then yes, you can expect to run a new 5k PR.

However, in my experience with other runners... many 'distance runners' who enter 5ks don't REALLY race them at the right intensity. As I have told others repeatedly, if you aren't nauseous and dry heaving at the end of a 5k... you didn't race it.

Laughing

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Post  Nick Morris Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:19 pm

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Peg - I'm with Mark and Dave on this. A 15K is far closer to a marathon with regards to training, etc. than a 5K. 5ks are pure evil expecting you to be running on the absolute edge, but a 15K is a comfortably fast race and fits in with marathon training. I, for one, ran a faster 5K in my 10K PR than my actual 5K PR, and eaven today, my per mile pace for a 5K is often equivalent to that of my 10K races.

+1...sorry Jerry...
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Post  Chris M Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:55 pm

Mr MattM wrote:I think part of the equation is also how soft a PR is a given distance. That's always a factor.

I actually agree with Jerry that marathon training (to include some speedwork) can provide PRs across all race distances, assuming the prior PRs weren't set with distance-specific training. By that I mean, if you train specifically for a 5k race and set a PR... you might find it hard to beat that PR later when you are marathon training. However, if your 5k PR is set during a marathon training cycle... and you improve your marathon (and overall) fitness in a subsequent marathon training cycle... then yes, you can expect to run a new 5k PR.

However, in my experience with other runners... many 'distance runners' who enter 5ks don't REALLY race them at the right intensity. As I have told others repeatedly, if you aren't nauseous and dry heaving at the end of a 5k... you didn't race it.

Laughing



I agree with this. Not all PRs are equal. Not even close. To measure them relative to one another, it helps to do something like a McMillian Calculator conversion. Let's do an example for a 4:30 marathon time.

5K 27:42

10K 57:32

15K 1:29:09

Half 2:08:01

Full 4:30

Now, if someone was able to go below the time above significantly at 15K but couldn't reach the 5K time, that would be really interesting and clearly show that the person was a distance machine. Schuey is a runner like that who has long distance times (marathon) grade out better than his short distance races. For more of us, the relative times we run at the shorter stuff like 5K and 10K is better than we do for the marathon.

But anyway, Matt's point that I wanted to follow up on is that comparing PRs to one another is not particularly useful unless you first start off confirming that they are all relatively close to one another in general performance with something like the McMillian Calculator.
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Post  KBFitz Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:05 pm

Peg Coover wrote:
I think I need a coach! ...

If I want to get a 5K OR 10K PR do I need to ditch the marathon?
Okay Peg. This is a serious question. And you've received good responses.

  • Jerry's right. For most of us, who are nowhere near our peak potential level of fitness, the fitness gains that we get from marathon training should show up as
    race time improvements across the board, even for the 5K.
  • Dave's right. "You can't expect to PR at all distances across the board by just training for the marathon."
How can they both be right? If you've come to that fitness plateau, from which it's very hard to improve, you may need to focus on distance-specific training.

Which brings us to the real issue. We can't tell if you've got an issue because you haven't told us your 15K PR. So we can't tell you if your 15K PR was softer or harder than your 5K PR. And here is where Chris is onto something. You need to be able to compare performances at races of different lengths. The McMillan Running Calculator can help. But I find it awkward to use for this purpose. Instead, I compare all of my race results using 10K equivalents. I use 10K equivalent conversion factors published in the Washington Running Report. I put these factors in a spreadsheet and now routinely track race performances relative to prior performances at any distance. Here is how a few years of my races look when charted using 10K equivalents.

PR mystery Kbfitz11

We can use these factors to compare your recent 5K best to your recent 15K PR. Your 5K PR of 25:45 from last year has a 53:36 10K equivalent. If your prior 15K best was not nearly as fast as a 53:36 10K equivalent, you've got your answer -- it was a soft PR -- and was easier for you to better than your 5K PR.

You don't need to ditch the marathon to PR at shorter races. But it would likely help to mix in some speed work. Convert your performances into 10K equivalents and you'll see if your shorter stuff falls in line with your marathon performances or if you could use some specific training aimed at the shorter stuff.


Last edited by KBFitz on Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:24 am; edited 3 times in total
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Post  charles Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:37 pm

I believe your question is about the relationships between race times and distances. Below is Part I of Hadd's Electric Blues discussion on his training program. (I have tried to post this article in the past but have been unsuccessful. I don't know why (MATT HELP) I can post a picture but not a document). Anyway - Part I of his article discusses the relationship between race times and distances. I would be happy to email you (or anyone) the whole article. Very Happy

So, a male or female approaches me… I generally want to know some background before agreeing to take them on. Usually I ask for recent race performances. But I am not just looking at the times here, more importantly I want to see the relationship between the race times and distances.
I may get numbers for events like this:

From a young runner; 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5k (maybe)

From an older (road) runner; 5k (maybe), 10k, HM and marathon (maybe)

Right away I’m really looking to see what’s wrong. (If there is nothing “wrong”, there will be a limited amount I can do for the guy). Not what is wrong with the times (eg: they're slow), but what is wrong with the relationships between the times a) there may not be a relationship, or b) the relationship might be too loose.

Let’s look at what I mean:
Here are some times I might receive (all number are actual real-life examples)

Young runner: 56.x (400), 2.09 (800), 4.37 (1500), 38.30(10k)

Older runner: 17.02 (5k), 36.45 (10k), 1.24 (HM), 3.10 (marathon)

Many of you will have seen equivalence tables somewhere. Tables that give points per performance per distance and allow comparisons between (e.g.) 800m and marathon. The Hungarian Tables are one such example. Mercier tables are another.

But no-one suggests that a single person can be equally good at all distances across the board (apart from rarities like Rod Dixon). Your genetic strengths tend to weigh you more in one direction (speed) or the other (endurance). So, some people’s performances get better as the race gets longer (or shorter). And this is beyond/in excess of a training effect, they are just more gifted aerobically (or anaerobically).

BUT there should still be some form of relationship across distances, and this is what I look for when I hear someone’s PR’s.

Frank Horwill once defined this sort of relationship by saying that if a runner slowed up by 16 secs/mile at any distance (actually, I believe he said 4 secs per 400m lap), that runner could then keep going for twice the distance. (Note that better trained runners slow up LESS than 4 secs per lap to go twice the distance…)

So, according to Horwill, if you can run 5.00 for one mile, you can run at 5.16m/m for 3k/2 miles and 5.32m/m for 5k, and 5.48 for 10k, and 6.04 for 10 miles and 6.20 for marathon (plus or minus a second here or there). This is what I mean when there should be a “relationship” between race performances (assuming good/similar
level of training for each event).

For better-trained runners, the relationship is even tighter. I have coached one runner like the example just given; has a 4.59 one mile PR. Who can run 5k at 5.20m/m (instead of Horwill’s 5.31). And 10k at 5.31, HM at 5.40 and marathon at 5.59m/m (instead of Horwill’s rule of thumb 6.20m/m). But this runner’s one mile to 5k distances are
seldom trained for, or raced, so there might be some secs still to come off of both of them.

Think of it roughly like a clock face: Your one mile PR should be at 12, your 5k PR pace should be at quarter-past ( 15 secs), your 10k PR should be at half-past (again, 15 secs), your HM PR should be at quarter-to (again 15 secs), and your marathon PR should be once again at the top of the hour. (This also fits in with the old rule of thumb that your marathon PR pace should be mile PR pace 60 secs/mile)

So what is wrong with our runners above? (remember, Horwill said slow up by 4 secs/lap to go twice the distance. We'll use his rule of thumb here.)

Young runner: 56.x (400), 2.09 (800), 4.37 (1500), 38.30 (10k)

400m = 56 secs
800m = 2.09 (should be 2.00 from 400 time)
1500m = 4.37 (should be 4.00 from 400m time or 4.16 from 800m time)
10k = 38.30 Fuggedabouddit…

So, our young guy gets rapidly worse as the race distance increases showing he is poor aerobically. Note that he gets worse even on the next distance up, showing how poor his aerobic conditioning/capacity is. He has NO relationship between his race performances.

Older runner: 17.02 (5k), 36.45 (10k), 1.24 (HM), 3.10 (marathon)

5k = 17.02 (5.28m/m)
10k = 36.45 (5.55m/m – should be 5.44m/m from 5k time)
HM = 1.24 (6.24m/m – should be 6.00m/m from 5k time and 6.11 from 10k time)
Mar = 3.10 (7.15m/m – should be 6.40 from HM time and 6.27 from 10k time)

Like our young guy, this runner is also poor aerobically. He too has NO relationship between his performances. What we COULD have found is a relationship between 5k-10k-HM but NO relationship between HM-marathon (just meaning that he was not as well prepared for the longer distance as he was for the HM).

Now these times are all plus/minus a few seconds, not hard and fast. So we do not need to quibble on whether it should be 15 or 17 secs/mile. The point I want to stress is the existence of a relationship. I don’t hold hard and fast to Horwill’s 16 secs/mile (as I have shown, for better runners it might be 12-15 secs/mile or
tighter still). But I do agree with his concept of a relationship between performances at all distances. I am always working towards it with runners I coach (at least within the range of events in which they wish to be competitive). This relationship can tell a lot about how well prepared a particular runner is for a given event.

Note that there can be two things “wrong” with your PR’s. One, as shown, there can be no evidence of a relationship (usually meaning your aerobic ability is wayyyyy poor). Or there can be a relationship, but it is too loose (instead of slowing up/adding 16 secs/mile to run double the distance, you slow up/add 20-24 secs/mile).
In this second instance, your aerobic ability is less poor, but still needs work.

To sum up; if you are well trained aerobically, you do not fall apart (as in the earlier examples) when the race gets longer. And here some of you may like to do a quick check and see how your own performances compare…

So, on seeing these, or similar, numbers, I expect to hear at least one (and maybe both) of two things from the athlete concerned:

1. Low mileage background in training
2. Whatever mileage being done is being run “too fast” (for performance level)
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Post  Peg Coover Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:11 pm

More info!!

On Sunday I ran 1:27:17 for the 15K. 9:22 ave pace, coming 2 weeks after my marathon in which i totally crashed for no apparent reason and ran my second worse time of 5:15.

Early September I ran a 2:01:50 half, 9:19 pace.

My best 10K in the last couple years was 54:57 in spring of 2010. Best EVER was 1988 with a 54:29.

The best 5K of late was about a year ago, the 25:45....3 times this year I ran just over 26. Best EVER was in 1988 with a 25:17.

My 5 mile PR is 43:21, set in 2010.

From what I can gather, my 5K pace is about 8:20, 10K is 8:50, 10 mile and 15K about 9:20, Half (PR) is 9:02 and recent was 9:19. My marathon PR is 4:45 (2009) but my last two were 4:55 and 5:15, to me that is considerably off the grid in terms of my other distances.

I have done Int 2 half training in the spring for the last few years and that is the only speed work I have done--intervals and tempos. I will say I did get my half PR in 2010 following that plan! I just really want to beat out the 5K and 10K times and I am oh, so close to those 1988 times!!!

I love all the advice and thoughts from you experienced runners!! Thanks so much!
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Post  Jerry Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:37 pm

If you feel good now, why don't you find a flat 5k to race and prove Jerry is right. lol!
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Post  Admin Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:07 pm

As I suspected, based on your other race times (half and 5k), your 15k PR was soft... AND... you should have been able to run it even faster (but it was only 2 weeks after your marathon).

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Post  KBFitz Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:37 pm

Peg Coover wrote:How is it that I can get a 90+ second 15 K PR, but can't get a 20 second PR in a 5 K???
So I'll do the math for you Peg. Using the factors for Women used by the Washington Running Report to compare race performances in terms of 10K equivalent times, your prior 15K PR [that you bettered by more than 90 seconds on Sunday] was roughly 1:28:50 ==> 10K eq = 57:34 [1:28:50 / 1.543]. Your best recent 5K (last year) of 25:45 has a 10K eq of 53:37 [25:45 * 2.082]. So you're quite alright Peg. You're normal like most of the rest of us. Using 10K eq to compare your 15K prior PR to your 5K PR, it's easy to see that your 15K PR [57:34 10Keq] was much softer than your 5K PR [53:37 10Keq]. And THAT's why you could get a 90+ second 15 K PR, but find it much more difficult to get a 20 second PR in a 5 K!!! Keep on keepin' on ... you'll get there.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:44 am

This is one of the best posts I've read in along time especially all the correlation data. Of course, I can still see where my limitations are in that my 5K PR and 10K PR are both done at 5:55 min pace and my marathon PR at 6:55 min pace. Very cool!

Thanks to you all.
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Post  Jeff F Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:56 pm

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:This is one of the best posts I've read in along time especially all the correlation data. Of course, I can still see where my limitations are in that my 5K PR and 10K PR are both done at 5:55 min pace and my marathon PR at 6:55 min pace. Very cool!

Thanks to you all.

+1 You beat me to it. I was just going to say this is one of the greatest values of this group, I am impressed by the time put into doing this analysis for fellow runners.
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