What is the point of Effort 5?
by Mika P.
Effort 5 :
I am an experienced marathoner who hasn't progressed during the last four years. I thought I need to try something new and found your plan, which is really interesting, so I decided to give it a try.
So far following it has been big fun and I really look forward to the results. But I am kind of confused about your Effort 5 zone. I couldn't find it being used in any way in the 3:00 plan that I'm following now, nor in the 2:45 plan that I plan to follow later.
Your Effort 4 ends in 92%. I'm used to training quite regularly also above that level. Of course not much at a time, but quite often anyway. I do understand that training above 92% level is not crucial to marathon success. Also, I suppose I'm allowed to go there on the test runs (5k, 10k and half). So I think I'm quite OK with this, even though I've found myself pushing to about 93-94% in the end of the hardest sessions. This, I suppose, is not a problem.
After all this introduction, my question is: what is the point of having the Effort 5 defined at all if you never use it to anything? Maybe I have missed something and it indeed IS used in some way?"
Answer: Hi Mika and thanks for your question.
Effort 5 is a zone to be very careful with in marathon preparations, the increase muscular tension from speed work in combination with long marathon specific work makes you more prone to injury.
In a 5k plan it certainly has its place though, in boosting anaerobic potential and buffer ability + neuromuscular adaption.
But like you said, going slightly into it, even in the 100 day plan it is ok to touch it slightly, as long as you are not above 93-94 % and only at the end of Effort 4 efforts/workouts. And not all the time ;)
all the best,
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