Sunday, October 19, 2014

High Readings

As you probably know, I always run with a GPS and a HRM. I do not use them to dictate my pace (apart from some special workouts like the evaluation) but I do use them to record some data that I can subsequently analyse. The last few days did not require much analysis, my HR was elevated by a significant amount. I ran at the usual "natural" effort, just whatever pace felt easy, and the recorded HR did in no way reflect the effort I put in.

Straight away I can come up with 3 possible explanations (there are more, of course):
  1. I am overtrained
  2. The HRM is malfunctioning
  3. I am fighting off some (mild) infection
I am pretty sure the first does not apply; I am feeling good, have no other symptoms and have just had a couple of very easy weeks nursing my hamstring. The second explanation is a bit more likely but I still don't think that's the case, the Polar HR has an excellent track history. However, if the number remain elevated I'll eventually change the battery and see if that makes a difference.

However, I think number 3 is the most likely explanation. Both Shea and Maia have some slight colds, most likely acquired in school, and I may be fighting off whatever is affecting them. I don't have any other symptoms, no sore throat, no headache, no runny nose, nothing, and if I weren't running with a HRM I would not have noticed anything at all.

The answer is to ignore that for a few more days, chances are everything will be back to normal by then, as has happened before and will happen again. I keep running by feel and ignore if the HRM goes high again, at least for a few more days. Getting sick now wouldn't be good with Dublin just a week away, but chances are I won't.

I have been feeling pretty good the last few days and the pace of my runs has continued to go down. I did 12 miles on Thursday morning that went really well, certainly over the first half. I was working a bit harder on the way home as I was now running straight into a blustery headwind, and that's when I first noticed that the HR was higher than it should have been, but as I said the effort felt easy enough.
Due to those high readings I took it especially easy on Friday, but when the HR still came out as rather high I knew for sure that something was keeping it elevated, it wasn't that I was running too fast. Since I have plenty of experience with that kind of thing (4 young kids do bring home plenty of bugs) I just keep carrying on as usual.

Saturday was a very windy day, though I was lucky enough to be running in the morning, right between two fairly nasty storm fronts. I still got wet a few times and I ran out-and-back on the Ard-na-Sidhe and Coomnafanida roads where there is a bit of shelter from the wind, which made the conditions perfectly acceptable.

The weather had not improved by Sunday and I was back on the same roads once more. Running the same stretch of road three times in each direction does not make for the most inspiring of runs (and I do wonder at times what the locals think, not that I particularly care), but it was just a case of getting the miles. I ran the first 14 miles at ease pace, which turned out to be pretty much exactly 7:30, though I did start feeling a bit tired after mile 11 or so. By mile 14 I increased the effort to get some more running at 3:10 pace for Dublin, especially on tired legs. The pacing was a bit uneven, I inadvertently started out at 6:55 pace for the first half mile before becoming aware, so there is definitely room for improvement, I do not want to burn out my pacees next week, but that's exactly why there will be 3 of us.

The weather is not looking great for the next few days, tomorrow is supposed to be the same again before we start dealing with the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo, but the great news is that the forecast for Dublin is good (mind, things can and do change in 8 days).

There has not been a beep from my hamstring this week.
16 Oct
12 miles, 1:27:54, 7:19 pace, HR 148
17 Oct
10 miles, 1:17:14, 7:43 pace, HR 145
18 Oct
10+ miles, 1:16:26, 7:23 pace, HR 150
19 Oct
18.6 miles, 2:18:11, 7:25 pace, HR 148
   last 4.6 miles @ 7:07 pace
Weekly Mileage: 83


  1. Great about the hamstring, Thomas; I'm going to chance going out with the 3-hour pacers this year so I'll see you at the start & end (but hopefully not on the course!!),Andrew

  2. Wishing you the best possible weather for Dublin and an enjoyable pacing gig!

  3. Sounds like you were struggling with low level virus when the readings were high. I think this happened to me what I ran the Glasgow Half marathon a bit over two weeks back - my race heart rate was 5bpm higher than normal for a half marathon, and really struggled to maintain a decent pace.

    Since then my heart rate for a given pace has steadily improved and looks to be back to near my best figures - much like yourself starting to feel good just in time for my Jedburgh Three Peaks Race this Saturday.

    Spotted your Dailymile widget entry for the evaluation run you've just done, whoohooo, figures look great. You must be chuffed.