I'm in my second week of my marathon training and today I had my second threshold training.

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So where my normal workouts are mostly of moderate intensity, these threshold training's have a high intensity interval. I was able to go above it during my Assessment Workout and I managed to stay in the Yellow Zone for 5 minutes last week.

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However, this time half way through my Yellow Zone I had a nasty encounter with the Man with the Hammer. I started to hyperventilate and wasn't able to go any faster, I did my best to at least not slow down any further but failed miserably. After that it took nearly 5 minutes before my breathing rhythm was restored to something normal.

I hadn't eaten in a couple of hours, like I have done before all my workouts, nor did I feel a lack of energy, such as light headedness. I drank 0.5l of water before so I wasn't dehydrated either. I also felt pretty good until I had to accelerate towards the Yellow Zone, so it really feels like it came out of nowhere.

In grad school I had a VO2max test, which also showed that my ventilation, rather than my heart rate was my main limiting factor. But while it was to be expected, I don't understand why it would be hitting me so early on. Granted, I've only started running again 10 weeks ago and all those workouts maximally went to the Green Zone and lasted no longer than 30 minutes. But I'm flabbergasted that I couldn't even maintain 170 BPM...

So now I'm wondering why I got hit with the Man with the Hammer and what I should do to avoid it next time.

  • 3
    Ivo, is "Man with the Hammer" synonymous with "Hitting the Wall" or "Bonking"? I found this article but want to confirm our terms before continuing the conversation . see bit.ly/mMuM6L
    – Tony R
    May 5, 2011 at 20:44
  • Probably, though I don't claim it was anywhere as intense as a marathon, I simply 'did not have the power to go any faster anymore'.
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 5, 2011 at 20:51
  • so it is a few weeks later. Where do you stand now? Is everything easier or are you still having problems?
    – csi
    May 24, 2011 at 20:46
  • 1
    Definitely looks like you ran out of glycogen. One thing that may be worth looking at is increasing your mitochondrial efficiency in handling fat (maybe by eating a ketogenic diet for a while). In a marathon you will definitely run out of glycogen and then you need to sustain your run on fat metabolism which is somewhat lower energy output for the same oxygen intake.
    – w00t
    Feb 28, 2012 at 19:37
  • 1
    @IvoFlipse Hi, what application are you using to generate these metrics? Cheers.
    – BanksySan
    Mar 7, 2013 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


2nd week of training, that is the answer. 2 important numbers to know.

1) It takes usually at least 7 - 10 days to feel any effect from training. In this case, it is taking you 7 days to feel the fatigue from the prior week. So yes, you are tired from last week.

2) It takes 3 weeks to gain the enzymatic and hormonal benefits from training. So next week might even be worse. But week 4 or 5 should get better.

Typically when creating macrocycles, it is expected to take a rest or easier week every 4th week (3 weeks of build, 1 week of compensation). It is also normal for week 2 and 3 when re-starting a training program to be very, very tough. It is important to push through these weeks but only if your mileage is in line with your body's ability to adapt.

If you haven't run in awhile (like more than 6 months), be sure the program isn't too aggressive to begin. A general rule of thumb is the 10 percent rule - add no more than 10% more mileage per week. (However, this is generalized and I often add 25% in a given week). When increasing mileage, it is important to keep intensity consistent or even decrease. Again, all general rules and don't necessary apply to elite or highly conditioned athletes.

Best of luck - increase your sleep, watch what you eat and increase your hydration. It should work out in time. Fitness gains require patience as they are slow changes.

  • Great answer. It doesnt sound like anything is wrong with you - just don't overtrain and stick with it.
    – Nobody
    May 6, 2011 at 10:07

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