Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blissful Saturday morning run

ABSOLUTELY BLISSFUL. I forgot how pleasant it is to run while not dripping with sweat and panting to get adequate amounts of oxygen from damp air that makes lungs feel like disgusting sponges... Low 50s, bright and sunny and clear, absolute bliss.

(The New York-style steam heat came on last night for the first time, in a faint way--that sound of hissing! The pleasant slight smell of scorching, like ironing! Mmmm....)

10.2 miles, 10:00 pace average, 142 HR average. Perfect. (Well, it could be even slower and with lower HR, but this was a very good stab at it, and it felt great.)

And now I am going to indulge myself with an excessively rambling set of training-related musings...

First of all I read an amazingly good training-related document this week, courtesy of Brent: Hadd's Approach to Distance Training (that's an HTML file, but you can get it as a Word document which is more convenient--click the first link here).

Quite a bit of this is never going to be relevant to me. I'm never going to be doing that kind of mileage, so I will never for instance have the very tight spread (think of it as a "clock face") between mile PR (at twelve o'clock) and pace in 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon falling at fifteen-second intervals around the clock.

(I'm making up these paces to illustrate, I do not have a timed mile of this sort and I have obviously not yet done a marathon, but let's say my current mile PR might fall at 7:30 but my current marathon pace would be 9:30 to be on the safe side, 9:15 at absolute best I think--so closer to a two-minute spread. The 10K-HM spread is closer to what he recommends, but still probably more like 20 seconds than fifteen, or maybe more.)

But there is a quite wonderful section where he describes a training season, following time out from injury, where impatience led him to do his long runs too fast, and he found himself uncomfortable at even a slower-than-usual pace on the really long ones--very illuminating. And the thing I've most immediately taken away from it is the recommendation of a 50bpm spread between max HR and the HR for long runs.

This is an immensely useful rule of thumb, it seems to me. (It comes in context of some very generally useful observations on lactate threshold and running speed for training purposes--well worth a look. The point of this rule is that this is what's most beneficial in terms of capillarization and mitochondria-energy systems for endurance running.)

The top HR that came up on my monitor at last weekend's HM was 188; I haven't done more systematic testing (I want to, but I keep on flaking out on it!), but let's say a max of 190. Possibly a few beats higher, but that's probably about right.

So we're talking 140 (or a bit lower) as the HR for long runs.

Now, this has been virtually unobtainable due to heat and humidity and hilliness. The only runs this summer where I successfully maintained a sub-140 HR (i.e. higher 130s) was with my friend R. Combination of factors: 6am run; flat run along Hudson rather than Central Park; his comfortable pace is currently closer to 12:00 than 11:00 so I let him set pace and followed lead. I've been doing low-HR-aware thinking this last 10 weeks or so, but given New York summer temperatures and, as I say, hilliness of the long run terrain, the rule of thumb there (in addition to trying to follow pace recommendations vis-a-vis Daniels' Running Formula) was "keep Jenny's HR monitor below 150." And even this grew increasingly challenging in the later part of the run, due to cardiac drift.

But today's perfect weather made everything come clear! We were aiming for 10:00 pace--this is at the faster end of Daniels' long run pace, but he gives marathon pace (say 9:30 in my case) as an alternate possibility for long runs, and I figure 10:00 is pretty reasonable. A couple weeks ago, due to weather, my HR on this would have hovered in high 140s and tipped over pretty quickly into mid-150s. But now it's cool and no longer humid, the HRs are just right. In the middle of mile 7, I looked at my monitor and saw it was right at 140, and indeed other than the couple hillier stretches where it did go up again, the average HR really was just right.


So here are details, why not actually paste in the whole chart from the Polar set-up:

(NB I never set the max HR or anything, so the percentages given are not necessarily accurate, but it gives the idea. I must get on the ball about this and sort out some detailed numbers and training zones...)[ED. Hmmm--I must see if I can find some way to get clearer definition on that paste-in, the numbers are pretty much unreadable...]


Wendy said...

Glad it's finally running weather. Nice you had a good one.

Dorothy W. said...

Sounds great! I just turned my heat on for the first time this year, and I'm loving the smell you describe ...