Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I got a bit of a surprise when I looked at the HR graph from Sunday's XC race. Ignore the first 4 minutes, that was clearly the HRM not picking up the signal correctly.

If I had been happy with my race I would take this graph as proof that I had run the perfect race, with it's very smooth HR data. However, since I was less than happy with my performance, we are talking a different scenario. It looks like I ran the entire race with the throttle set to max but the engine not responding properly.

Since I have not run any fast miles for a long time, I guess that's pretty much what happened. Advocates of the Central Governor theory might claim that it was the CG preventing any higher output from the leg muscles, but I'm not getting into that discussion. My guess is that if I got a few faster miles into the legs, the performance would improve fairly quickly week on week as my legs (or CG) get used to the higher level. However, I want to be ready for a marathon in March, not next month, so I won't start a new regime of gruelling interval workouts (though, to be honest, the day after the race I was genuinely tempted to do just that).

One noticeable thing on Monday morning was the complete absence of any soreness. No pains and aches at all. XC definitely has its advantages.

Mind, I did find one problem after all, but not until after the run, when I checked the Garmin. During the run I could have sworn I was doing some decent pace, it was only after the run that I looked at the watch and realised that I had basically just run 20 seconds per mile slower than anticipated.

Since I had missed out on my long run on Sunday because of the race I caught up on Tuesday. It required a very early wake-up call, just like in the good old times when I always used to do my long run during the week.

The run was perfectly fine, the hills around the lake haven't shrunk since the last time I had visited them but I was moving at a good pace, I thought. Until I checked the watch with 3 miles to go, that is, and to my astonishment realised that I was not even going at 8:00 pace. My internal gauge was obviously completely off after the race, because when I upped the effort for the final 3 miles the legs had no problem whatsoever with the new pace.

I cheated slightly this morning because I checked the Garmin after a mile to ensure I wasn't plodding along again. Normally I don't look at the watch at all during easy runs and much prefer to go by feel alone, but after the last two days I thought the better of that tactic. For whatever reason, I was running a good bit faster than on Monday for the same distance, but could have sworn I was moving at the same effort level.

By now the race should have gone from my legs. I'll see if my gauge has normalised.

8 Oct
8 miles, 1:01:53, 7:44 pace, HR 141
9 Oct
16.6 miles, 2:11:44, 7:56 pace, HR 144
10 Oct
8 miles, 59:16, 7:24 pace, HR 152


  1. Hi Thomas, sorry for being 'off topic'. Do you know already what time will you pace at Dublin Marathon this year?

  2. Thanks. Too fast for me for now :-(

  3. I don't really subscribe to the CG theory but your observations on perceived effort are interesting. I have had 'hard' runs with a disappointing pace and 'easy' runs with a surprising pace. These follow on from periods of prolonged training for a specific race. I still think there's nothing better than the 30 sec/mile drop you get when cold weather, increased aerobic fitness and being injury free all meet.