This is something I have been monitoring since the beginning of time, but I did not really put data oriented analytical thoughts to it as I unfortunately do not have all my activities up on a strava with heart rate data included. Shame and will try to do my best to make it that way, but even now, I just don’t have a watch anymore and even for cycling I just use my phone. Either ways, despite all of this, I still have the exact thing where I am leading at and want to explain !
The image above shows the 2018 season with a shorter but still substantial high volume build ending with Trofeo Kima, 3 giant outings around Mont Blanc and the Tor des Geants. A month of total off from training, except some yoga, then rebuild from zero. A giant base was constructed in the 2019 season by slowly increasing volume and adding in small sparks of intensity. Then when Septembre arrived I began training with the club and my joints, tendons, muscles were ready for the higher intensity efforts. We increased the charge super gradually, doing only easy sprints of 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 and 100 meters with an occasional 200 or 300m effort mixed in, to hours long run strength sessions. That was for 6 weeks, before we did our first real run session, what was still just like 100m on 50m off times 4 in like 4 sets. It took some time till we arrived where we are at today. In reality it feels a long long stretch, but we talk about only a 4 month period.
My first 1000 was like 3:15, but now it came down, passing by 3:09 3:07 to 3:06 and finally 2:59. I can do now many reps at 3:15 or even at 3:10.
Same with the 400. I did a couple of one off efforts just to see and I am at 1:04 after a hard session. In case of 200s I can pull off a sub 30 any time now and even a sub 29 in case of a final hard effort.
My 10km times are down from 36:05 to 35 something and 34:53, with no specific prep.
- 3:42/km a Hyeres 34:58 / 9.45km Decembre
- 3:39/km a Opio 13:19 / 3.65km Janvier
- 3:29/km a Fos 14:32 / 4.18km Janvier
- 3:25/km a Opio 13:35 / 3.98km Fevrier
I am 37 and focused on ultra running and self propelled adventures in the last decade, with slowly but surely degrading race performances. However with a deeply imprinted endurance factor. I mean, for sure not anymore, but was able to stay up for 3 days in a row and keep on walking any time of the year. I was able to skip nights anytime, do an adventure like 4pm till 8am and be at work 9am sharp and ready. I could if wanted move relatively fast on the most technical terrain you can imagine with tons of grade 4 scrambling and even some 5a climbing sections or haul 20kg pack through knee deep snow for days on end.
After these experiences most people would not even think about getting the speed back and would be plodding along towards disappearance. However I strongly believe, that the nervous system can be reignited and speed can be regained and even surpassed. When I see athletes with 2:29 marathons at the age of 59 what is 22 years older than me, I don’t see the why others would not be able to do it, if lifestyle and health, technique and form, strength and conditioning and periodization are all aligned ! I don’t see why.
I see when there are skeletons in the closet. I see excuses, but I don’t see the hard work and the constant research towards excellence.
My goal for this year are to run a sub 33min – 10km, what feels like possible and maybe I will already attempt it in April on the track. If it happened, that would open up a big gap of summer freedom towards adventures and trail running, even in ultra events. If it did not happen, I will not go ahead with long distance adventures, but focus on base building and speedier shorter sub 30km trail events. Shorter the better to light up those dormant fibres !