Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tiger Stripes

A few hours after finishing Dingle I noticed a red mark on my chest; I hadn't noticed a thing during the race or immediately afterwards, and only saw it when I took off my shirt to take a shower back home. At first I thought it was from the pins that kept my number in place rubbing against my skin, as had happened in Bangor (and those marks are still visible(!)), but the new mark seemed to be in the wrong place, too close to the centre.

Anyway, I didn't think much of it until a week ago when I got a new mark, just like the one from Dingle. Eventually I figured that the marks were caused by my new HR chest strap. The old one had reached its end after over 4 years of heavy use and I got a replacement about a month ago. It may feel more comfortable, but there are obviously issues with the new design, because I am clearly not the only one with those problems. Trying to wear them in a slightly different position only resulted in several parallel marks on my chest and I started to look like I had been in a fight with a big cat. Eventually I tried a few of the recommended solutions in those articles and putting a bit of moleskin onto the HR strap seems to do the trick. You do have to wonder about Garmin, though; their testing seems to be haphazard at best, and reacting to customer feedback doesn't seem to be their strong point either - that make of strap has been on the market for over 2 years by now.

I'm slowly building up my mileage and the runs are getting longer. Friday was my first double-digits run since Dingle; since I had only been doing 5 miles the day before my legs were very fresh and I didn't have any problems. Saturday was the club's group run; I was a few minutes late and was greeted by the biggest crowd we've ever had for a run, there were at least 20 or 30 people gathered. This time Sean took the beginners out on his own and I went on a more conventional training run. The pace was mellow and the distance short enough to count as an easy day. As long as I'm not in full training, that's perfectly fine. Once I'm getting closer to the marathon, I might have to skip those group runs. The program usually has Saturdays taken up by 10 mile tempo runs and I don't think anyone in the club at the moment fancies 10 miles at 6:20-or-so pace, but that's still a good few months off.

Today's run was a bit strange. Maybe I have been reading too much about Canova and his faster long runs lately because my legs seemed to insist on doing their own thing. Time and time again I noticed the HR in the 160s and slowed down, but each time the legs sped up again as soon as my mind wandered. I felt very good and the conditions were perfect for running, so maybe that has something to do with it. I will monitor the legs in the coming days how they feel. Mystery Coach has always warned against running too fast in base training, especially early on. The pace has to come down naturally.

Dublin is 5 weeks away. At the moment I don't know yet if I'm pacing 3:15 or 3:30. My marathon PB would put me firmly in the 3:30 pacing slot, but a couple of injuries to the faster pacers mean things could get swapped round late on. I'll be ok. In Limerick I was bumped up to the 3:15 slot at very short notice and everything was fine. I would not agree to pace a group I wasn't confident about, but 3:15 is fine.
21 Sep
10 miles, 1:16:33, 7:39 pace, HR 148
22 Sep
6+ miles, 51:23, 8:06 pace, HR 139
23 Sep
12 miles, 1:27:07, 7:15 pace, HR 155


  1. Hi Thomas, just wondering why you monitor the heart rate, does it not sometimes get in the way a bit?

    1. I'm a number-obsessed OCD kind of guy, you just have to indulge me. I do find it handy to track average HR over weeks and months, though.