I’m changing the way I train.
I need to preface this overflow of new running knowledge with the fact that I’m, for the most part, not a numbers runner. Yes, I check my Garmin periodically while I run, but I much prefer pacing myself based on how I feel.
Also, I prioritize keeping running fun. When a hobby becomes a job I don’t look forward to, I know I need to drop it. Why do something if it doesn’t make you happy?
Therefore, it’s imperative to me that I keep running something I enjoy. This is why I never really made running a science.
Ew. Science. The reason I didn’t fulfill my dream to become a
dolphin trainer marine biologist.
We all know I’m no scientist.
Anyway, if you’re a serious runner, you’ve heard of this Jack Daniels guy. He’s an Olympic medalist, exercise physiologist, and was named “World’s Best Coach” by Runner’s World. He created a baller formula using VDOT value to determine at which speeds a runner should train using prior race times. Daniels’ formula is based on capacity, endurance, and efficiency.
Am I still speaking English?
Here’s what I’ve been doing wrong: Jack says don’t run farther or faster than you have to. Runners should strive for optimal training benefits with the least amount of work, maximizing improvement and minimizing injuries.
I’ve been training too hard, and I’ve been getting injured (hello, shins). This is why I’m going to start following Jack Daniels’ rules.
I actually ended up speaking with Mike, the owner of my local running store Running Etc., because I wanted him to check my stride and my shoes. I spoke with him at the Shamrock expo and last week stopped by the store to have my stride analyzed. This is how I ended up getting my own private running class.
Mike informed me my stride is great (very neutral), my shoes are a-okay (however, my beloved Brooks Pure Connect are a performance shoe, so I should probably only wear them for speed training and races), but he asked me why my 5k PR (21:18) varied so much from my half PR (1:42). I admitted I haven’t busted my butt for a half yet, but I hope to once I’m fully recovered from all my surgery stuff.
Mike told me that, according to Jack Daniels’ formula, based on my 5k, time I should be running just under a 1:38 half marathon.
WEIRD, right? For those of you who remember back before surgery, that was my original goal time.
Mike also told me I’m running way too fast on my training runs, which is probably causing my injuries.
Here is Jack Daniel’s VDOT chart Mike printed out for me. In Table 1, locate your your PR. Check out your VDOT on the end of that row. Then, find your VDOT number in Table 2, and it shows you the pace at which you should be training.
Or, if you want to make it really easy, type your PR and distance into this VDOT running calculator and select “calculate appropriate training paces.”
Mike matched my VDOT to my 5k PR (a 1:37ish half marathon time), which is right between 46 and 47 (46.3, to be exact). This means I should be running most training runs at a 8:45 pace rather than the 7:15-7:30ish pace I normally average.
For example, my results for VDOT training:
Easy/Long Runs: 8:45 (80% of all training runs)
Tempo Runs: 7:15
Intervals (3-5 min max): 6:40
Repetitions or Mechanics Workouts: 6:16
Long story short, to avoid injury and to race faster, I need to train slower.
Or as Mike says, “slow your wheels!”
And that’s what I’ve been doing lately. Mike promises me faster race times if I obey Jack, so I’m game to try this method out.
Huh. Sounds like I’m a complete running nerd now that science suddenly makes me happy. Go figure.