My former coach always had me do some "Evaluation Workouts" to get feedback on the training and/or my conditioning. It consisted of running 4 miles at a constant heart rate, in my case 161, about 30 bpm below my max, recording the time for each mile and then coming to a full stop and measuring how long it took for the HR to recover down to 130. I tend to look at the overall pace first but in actual fact that's the least important bit of information. How well you can keep your pace constant at that steady HR level is more important, as well as the recovery time.
So I did one on Tuesday. It wasn't ideal because of the blustery wind, but the forecast was basically the same for the entire week, which meant postponing it by a day or two would have been pointless. The windy conditions mean I can’t read too much into the figures, especially the pace numbers, but it does provide a base line. The number in brackets is adjusted pace, 7 seconds for every 2 heart beats off the 161 target, though it looks like a slight overcompensation to me.
Mile 1 6:51 HR 162 (6:54) Mile 2 7:01 HR 162 (7:04) Mile 3 6:57 HR 163 (7:03) Mile 4 7:02 HR 161 (7:02) Recovery to HR 130: 50 seconds
The pace is actually very stable, especially after the initial first mile. I have certainly seen me drop off significantly more than that. But the 50 seconds recovery time is quite shocking, my highest reading ever. I definitely need to keep an eye on that. I hope it's because I have done very little running at that effort level during my year of ultra-running and my legs simply have to get used to it again, rather than a sign of overtraining.
I certainly do not feel overtrained. I have none of the typical symptoms, I sleep soundly (except when our 4-year old sleeps in our bed), am no more irritable than usual (no smart comments!!), and my appetite is sound (hell, yeah!).
This morning (Wednesday) I could finally tell for sure that the training is going ok so far. The legs felt very well, I got that elusive effortlessly-gliding-over-the-road feeling and the miles just flew by. To add to the positivity, I somehow managed to time the run right between two major downpours. It is a very nice day at the moment, if you manage to look out of the window at the right time, right between those heavy shower that keep on coming.
- 1 Oct
- 10 miles, 1:15:48, 7:35 pace, HR 146
- 2 Oct
- 12 miles, 1:27:53, 7:19 pace, HR 155
4 mile eval: 6:54, 7:04, 7:03, 7:02 (adjusted figures)
50 seconds recovery to 130
- 3 Oct
- 10 miles, 1:14:04, 7:24 pace, HR 152