As keen readers of this blog will be aware I had a bit of a disasterous run last week. (link here)
My solution to this bad run is the same as my usual solution when I face any sort of adversity. To dig in and to try harder. After my awful run, I resolved to keep doing the exact same loop that I was attempting until I can run it with ease. After all, the thing to do after you fall off a horse is to get back on (apparently). To be honest, I have never ridden a horse and I imagine if I did fall off it would hurt like hell, as I am old and feeble these days, but the analogy still works.
So two days after my disasterous run, I went out on the same 4 mile (6.4km) loop and this happened.
A HUGE improvement on the 55 minutes it took me 2 days before, and much closer to the pace I would expect. Before you start high fiving yourself with joy, this is not all good news. My HR was a lot higher than I would have liked at that pace.
Under ideal circumstances the pace that I was running at (which is about 10 minute/mile pace for those of you who live in the stone age and still calculate your running in miles) should be in Zone 2. My HR should be hovering around 140 at that speed. As you can see it was mostly up in the 150’s.
The problem with this is that to train effectively, the majority of your training should be at an “easy” pace. Slow enough you can have a conversation. This is the 80/20 rule, which I will post about properly some time soon, but essentially 80% of your training should be easy and 20% should be hard. We are talking really rather easy and really rather hard. here. Opposite ends of the scale.
What lots of endurance athletes do (me included) is complete the majority of their training somwhere in the “comfortably uncomfortable” range, which for purposes of the diagram above is Tempo moving up to Threshold. I can run in this zone for a long time, which is all well and good, but 80/20 research shows that the fastest fitness gains are made when you avoid training in Z3/Z4 almost entirely.
The problem I have is that Z1/Z2 is so incredibly slow for me that it is practically walking and often my ego gets in the way and I just wanna run. Somthing for me to address in the future.
Anyway, the first run after my disasterous run was good, so 2 days later I set off again on the same course, and this happened.
Same route, with almost exactly the same time and pace, but the HR was higher again still. Now the explanation for this is an easy one. It was much hotter. Like over 20 degrees. And Snooky does not cope very well when it is hot. I love the heat. It does not love me.
Taking the positives , that is two runs on the same route that are getting somehwere back towards the pace that I would like.
The plan is to keep running this same 4 mile route once every 2 days until I can complete it in around 40 mins and my HR stays mostly in Zone 2. As you can see below, I have run this pace before, but it was a while ago now.
So above is the same route (actually 480 metres further) in under 40 mins. Sadly, there is no HR data for this run, but I imagine this was close to flat out for me 4 years ago, so likely to be high. Anyway, it proves that the speed is possible. Now just to get the HR down.
It’s only 7 or so weeks until my proper marathon training plan kicks into place. If all goes well, by then I will be running at sub 10 minute mile pace (sub 6 min/km) with a HR around the 140 mark and will be in a good spot for starting my marathon training. Also, I should weigh a lot less than I do now (see Project 80 for more details).
Hope you are all keeping well out there in the world and for those of you in the UK you are enjoying the good weather.