Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Jack Daniels Formula

The Jack Daniels text of choice came through a couple of days ago and I've been hungrily consuming its pages for running tips - as if I haven't researched things to death already! The book has been recommended by several running afficionados and a fine text it is, both in the accessibility of the writing and the science of the approach. I'm still reading the initial chapters so it's a bit early to report my findings but the process of using race times to determine appropriate training intensity and pace is a real and present need for me which I hope this approach will help resolve.

The additional long runs through the week are certainly helping build up my general strength and the pace feels pretty comfy but I'm still a bit anxious I'm running too fast. A phrase I've noted in the early chapters is the 'avoidance of quality junk', i.e. avoiding sessions that fall between intervals, threshold and easy running pace. I might just be in danger of making that exact mistake. Anyway, I've more reading to do so will suspend any immediate action for now and stick with reading the whole book.

It was a steady 8 miles tonight with a bit of company for a refreshing change. M dragged his glute out for a run with me along the frosty pavements in Ilkley. No real twinges indicate all is well with said bum cheek with just a bit of fitness now to be regained. A massage with Maggie the mauler tomorrow should do the trick in preparation for the weekend; our sports massage is a regular treat highly recommended to regular runners out there. Go get one!


ultra collie said...

jack daniels is a versatile chap being able to turn his hand to a wide variety of things ;)
theres a couple of good new tips in every book but a good mate of mine has a really simple one..'to run faster you've got to run faster'..blindingly obvious but true

kate said...

yeh, i too was expecting a different post ;)

Antony Bradford said...

Your right to research. I would Just try to avoid thinking that running is an exact science. Be prepared to try things, and nobody is an expert in what works best for you. Most books will tell you that you are running too fast - particularly on the long stuff. They will also tell you not to race every week. We already know one exceptional runner from your club who seems to race every week - very successfully as well. If your preparing for a marathon with a sub 3 hour target, I would say you do need to do some long runs at threshold pace otherwise your legs will not take it on race day. The notion that you can trot along for 20 miles at 8 minute mile pace on your long run, then crank it up to sub 6 minutes on race day doesn't hold.

I notice the phrase from the book; 'avoidance of quality junk' and this looks good reading to me. After all, why complicate.In theory, there are only three types of run that we all do; intervals(with or without hills), threshold(or race) and easy(or recovery)run. Then there are only one of four things you would want to gain from these runs; to recover, more speed, more strength or more endurance. Some people try to involve all these in every run they do, which is probably not wrong but unlikely to get the best and what they want out of the session ie you would not go to the track for a recovery run or to do 20 miler on it - you would go to gain speed and get faster. Similarly you would not blast out of the door on your recovery run.

I did think you'd lost it this time with the Jack Daniels formula. Along with the Ron Bicardi formula these are not yet proven to be beneficial.

Happy running.

ultra collie said...

further to AB's comment. i had a weekend camp with Keith Anderson and he coaches his top runners up to two hours tempo runs

Omeleteer said...

Personally I'd refine UC's mate's view to "to run faster you've got to run smarter". Talent, hard running and training volume will get everyone to a certain stage, but making sure that all of the training counts is what will maximise potential. The Jack Daniels formulae will help with those tricky questions of "exactly how fast should I be doing these reps?" and "what exactly is my lactate threshold pace?" without having to pay a couple of hundred quid for some lab tests to measure vVO2max and LT. I've seen so many runners, myself included, trying to do reps at the track as fast as they can, in the belief that this is the best training for speed endurance - actually we're straying into anaerobic territory and while we are getting some benefit to our V02max, we're actually reducing the time spent in the optimum zone and instead improving our ability to kick at the finish (which is handy, but not really that important for endurance runners, and certainly not the aim of the session). Similarly, most advice in the books regarding tempo sessions talks about 10m - HM race pace, or 15-30 secs/mile slower than 10k race pace. These are big and vague windows of pace, so it it is useful to have a more precise measure of what pace is right for each individual so that you can be sure that you are getting the most benefit out of that hard work. Of course, the lab tests will be the most accurate though - fine for those with the money, especially as ideally you need to be tested every 6 months as your fitness changes!
P.S. Thanks for all the good wishes for injured bum cheek - my a*** has never had so much attention!

Runningbear said...

This is quite exciting to attract such quality training chat!

The Daniels text seems to draw together all the stuff I've read that's made sense to me over the last couple of years but I guess that's because he's a pretty influential guy with a very clear and straight forward approach to training.

Most people who know their running are familiar with his principles and follow them whether they know it or not. The bit for me is that faster isn't always better, depending on what you're trying to achieve.

In reading Daniels I've had a helpful reminder that I need to determine what I'm trying to achieve in those quality sessions & then stick to it. Running intervals when too tired or a threshold run too fast doesn't train the system I'm trying to develop. Training smarter is certainly a good way of putting it.

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