Maybe I'm completely deluded, but I feel perfectly balanced running on the road, including the icy bits. I tried to look into things like YakTrax, but found they are not suitable. The roads are not really covered, for most of it they are dry but with some icy patches that you have to take care on, and that’s not what those devices are developed for. So I just put on my shoes and head out. So far I’ve had no problems.
“Oh Dear, this is cold” was what came to my mind as I opened the door on Monday, though the actually words were slightly different, but let’s keep this blog clean for a change. -7C/20F is without a shadow of a doubt the coldest I have ever been running in, and you know what? It was just great! Maybe it’s subliminal memories from my childhood, but I could stay out in the cold all day. Give me that over the icy cold rain we normally get in November any time. Despite having to slow down on a few occasions to mind my footing, I was flying along the road, almost effortlessly. The temperatures must suit me; assuming that the HRM is correct I recorded yet another best on the HR/pace spreadsheet. In fact, on a couple of occasions I caught myself inadvertently doing sub-7 pace and put on the brakes to keep the effort nice and easy. Despite relaxing as much as I could I ended up with an average pace of 7:37.
The coach keeps reminding me that there is a lot of time left until the marathon and keeps urging me to stay on the relaxed side. Honestly, I keep doing that. An average HR of 140 is very much on the lower end of the scale and the perceived effort level was easy.
Of course, heart rate is not everything and that’s where the evaluation runs come in. Monday’s run doubled as a scouting session to find an ice-free flat half-mile stretch of road, because the road where I had done the last evaluation on was completely covered in ice. I found a good one, but rather far away from home. It meant 3.5 miles of warm-up, but it was the only stretch I could come up with. Apart from the distance from home it was perfect and I ended up going back-and forwards 4 times each way. The Garmin was set on alarm to help me keep the HR close to 161, which for some reason I needed a lot more often than last time round. I managed not to look at the pace numbers at all during the run, but I already knew that the change from last week was significant when I measured the recovery time to HR 130 – 32 seconds, compared to 38 a fortnight ago and 42 before that! Back home I finally looked up the pace figures and my jaw hit the floor. Check this out:
Here are the numbers from the last 3 evaluations:
Mile 1 6:40 6:44 6:44
Mile 2 6:55 7:07 6:57
Mile 3 7:14 7:26 6:59
Mile 4 7:16 7:36 7:02
Time to 130 42 42 38
And this is what I got today. Get your heads around this!
Mile 1 6:32 (HR 160)
Mile 2 6:38 (HR 162)
Mile 3 6:31 (HR 162)
Mile 4 6:41 (HR 161)
Time to 130 32
I’ll leave the interpretation of these figures to the coach and hope he won’t come back with “your Garmin must be faulty”. Just looking at this, I like what I see. By the way, the coach thinks my recent improvements might be down to me reaping the rewards from my ultra training this year rather than his own input. I think he is being overly modest.
I was quite surprised to see that I had run my highest monthly mileage of the year this November with 326. I had not aimed at setting a high mileage, nor has this month felt particularly tiring. Amazing!
- 29 Nov
- 10 miles, 1:16:08, 7:37 pace, HR 140
- 30 Nov
- 12 miles, 1:26:30, 7:13 pace, HR 147
incl. 4 miles evaluation:
6:32, 6:38, 6:31, 6:41; 32 seconds to HR 130