Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Evaluation Time

Is it really 2 weeks since my last evaluation? Time flies! At that rate, my next marathon will be around the corner before I can say “lactate threshold”.

I was surprisingly sore on Monday. I thought the double stress of a race (albeit at sub-max effort) on Saturday and 15 hilly miles on Sunday were to blame, but the coach attributes it mainly to not being recovered from Dublin yet. Obviously I took it easy on Monday; having said that, I felt much better once I was moving, the run went rather well and my heart rate continues to drop for comparable paces.

There might have been a small residue of soreness noticeable on Tuesday morning but I went ahead with the evaluation anyway. After all the grief you guys gave me last time I decided to change the venue and ran back-and forwards on a reasonably flat half-mile stretch of road. The flat part turned out to be a tad less than half a mile, so the 4-mile evaluation needed 8 u-turns rather than the planned 7, but that was hardly much of an issue. The point was, all 4 miles had the same conditions. The bar numbers are much better than on the previous 2 occasions, with the last mile “only” 18 seconds slower than the first one rather than almost a minute like 12 days ago. The recovery time to 130 was also significantly reduced, though I changed my method of measuring it: rather than frantically pressing buttons on my Garmin I used a second stopwatch, brought along specifically to measure the recovery time, so maybe the there’s a second difference due to the different measurement method. Anyway, I’m much happier with these figures:

6:44 (HR 161)
6:57 (HR 161)
6:59 (HR 161)
7:02 (HR 160); 38 seconds to HR 130

After finishing the evaluation I did another 5.5 miles at what seemed like fairly leisurely pace. I didn’t check my Garmin again until I was almost back home, by which time I realised that I had run just under 7:30 pace for that section without even knowing. After 4 miles of evaluation, 7:30 felt like jogging slowly.

Those evaluation workouts are fun. It’s the only time in training that I’m allowed to stretch the legs a bit and I’m actually looking forward to them each time. As far as workouts go, they are fairly easy. I could keep that effort for much, much longer; they are not stressful, just fun.

On a completely unrelated note, I let my inner geek run riot and just finished this after one week of work. The ground and tower took one evening. The sky took 6. It’s another form of endurance workout. And once it was done, I broke it up and put it back into the box. Just like marathons, the journey is the destination. And just like marathons, you can only do so many 1000 piece jigsaws in a year.

15 Nov
8 miles, 1:03:44, 7:58 pace, HR 140
16 Nov
12 miles, 1:27:54, 7:18 pace, HR 152
incl. 4 miles evaluation:
    6:44, 6:57, 6:59, 7:02; 38 seconds to HR 130


  1. Hi Thomas,

    I'm glad you found some better ground to run on although I don't envy having to run back-and-forward like that.

    I'm very curious to hear what MC makes of these evaluations... more to the point, that you're still dropping a lot of time from the first to last mile? Is this something that is expected?

    Following Mike and Eric (back in the day) I seem to remember the mile paces being more consistent. Would this w/o be better/more informative if run at a slightly lower HR?

    Regardless, thanks for sharing and I'm looking forward to the following weeks and months.


  2. I'd imagine the fitter you are the more consistant your mile splits will be, But the after effects of the marathon on your muscles might well play a part.
    Hope MC can tell us why Thomas is fading in the test?
    P.s. Thomas where do you get time for jigsaw puzzles, Running Family and work amazing!

  3. I guess MC will be pleased with your better recovery , or did you just measure it more accurately this time? I'm thinking your paces are more consistent and the fast 1st mile was due to a quick start and lag for the HR to get up to speed.

    Leaving off from Ewen's comment from last evaluation...if my max is 170 then evaluate at 140 and recover to 110? Sounds like fun!

  4. Think you put that jigsaw together wrong, that tower is leaning the wrong way :]

  5. Michael, I just checked Eric's and Mike's evaluations (in 2008). I hope neither they nor MC minds me writing them down here:

    Eric's drop in pace from first to last mile were: 15, 4, 9, 12, 4, 4
    Mike's were: 19, 12, 9, 16, 32, 8

    In addition, Mike's recovery times (from 150 to 120) were 51, 45, 42, 60, 60, 47

    Interesting? Eric's ability to hold pace was very impressive. In comparison Mike's numbers are a bit all over the place and his recovery times very high at times, but keep in mind that was during summer in Arizona. I cannot imagine running in those temperatures, never mind doing a workout.

    My own drop numbers so far are 36, 52, 18. Not impressive at all but definitely now moving into the right direction.

  6. Mike, the coach thinks the numbers are looking good.

    As for your question, the HR levels aren't magic. The most important thing is to compare the numbers from workout to workout, so consistency in the HR is more important than the actual number you pick.

    Having said that, I'd go with exactly the HRs you mentioned.

    That's my own understanding, of course, and I have yet to learn the finer details of the system, so take all that with a grain of salt.

  7. Yes, those are more 'normal' looking numbers. I might start doing that test myself, with the stopwatch to record recovery time, and using lower numbers like Mike.

    I see your mileage is around 75. Are you building up to higher mileage?

    Re the jigsaw... well done! The sky would have been a killer. We usually have one going at Christmas on the dining room table.

  8. Strong miles! Someone's ready for more...