Thursday, October 23, 2014

Late Evaluation

I was a bit worried about the conditions on Tuesday morning when the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo were paying us a visit after crossing the Atlantic. The wind did wake me up a few times during the night, though it never sounded too alarming, I have certainly seen worse. By the morning even those winds had mostly died down and conditions were pretty good actually, and apart from a few broken branches there was no sign of any nightly incidents. 10 miles near Ard-na-Sidhe it was.

I had been planning on doing an evaluation for a while yet. First I pulled my hamstring, which luckily did not put me out of action entirely but a couple of weeks of very easy running seemed the prudent thing to do. Then there was the raised HR when I was seemingly fighting off some bug, and then there were a couple of days of high winds. The evaluation works by running at a set HR (161 in my case), so a raised base HR would falsify the data and make comparisons with other evaluation impossible. Same goes for high winds, and I have learned that there is not much point in doing an evaluation under either circumstances, even less so when both factors apply.

However, by Wednesday morning all had settled down again and I was ready to go when the damn Garmin beeped sadly at me with a low battery warning (it must have turned itself on after charging - this has happened several times before, sometimes I notice it, sometimes I don't). For a normal run I might consider going without watch (ok, I did that about once in the last five years) but for an evaluation that's not an option, so I charged it for about 10 or 15 minutes before finally heading out.

Initially I was still going to go ahead as planned but after a couple of miles, and already warmed up and raring to go, I decided that there was not enough time because Niamh has to leave early on Wednesdays and I have to be back in time, so I switched plans mid-run and just did 10 easy miles. In some ways it was a waste of a good run because I felt absolutely awesome and had that effortlessly-floating-over-the-tarmac feeling and was tempted to knock out a few 6-6:30 miles but managed to control myself, mostly because the Dublin marathon awaits on Monday.

So, eventually, on Thursday I finally managed to run another evaluation, a whopping 54 days since the last one. Generally I want to run one every fortnight, so basically  I missed no less than 3 evaluations in a row due to various reasons, though in fact I do have an excuse for all of them - Dingle, hamstring and virus.

It was still a bit windy on Thursday morning, definitely a little bit more than I would have preferred but what can you do. I followed the exact same routine as usual, about 4 miles of warm up where I do pick up the pace a few times to gradually bring the HR up. The last quarter mile before I start the evaluation is slightly uphill, which helps to establish the HR at the right level.
        Mile 1    6:33   HR 161
        Mile 2    6:46   HR 161
        Mile 3    6:39   HR 161
        Mile 4    6:46   HR 161
        Recovery to HR 130: 36 seconds

Looking at the figures now, they do paint a pretty nice picture. The overall pace isn't as important as you might think, though of course a fast evaluation is always nice to have. The slowdown between miles 1 and 4 is more important and is in fact a tad higher than I would have liked (it was only 10 seconds last time). The recovery afterwards is again a bit higher than last time, though 36 seconds is still a decent figure, better than average.

Overall I'd say I'm coming along nicely but with definite room for improvement. I guess room for improvement is a good thing at that stage of training. Considering I am nowhere near peak shape, these are highly encouraging numbers.

Despite just saying that the overall pace isn't that important I have found that my marathon race pace tends to be within 10 seconds of the evaluation pace, so I guess I am probably in shape for a sub-3 marathon, there or thereabouts. Mind, since I haven't done any running at that pace that statement might not necessarily hold true due to lack of specific marathon fitness, but I expect to find pacing 3:10 on Monday perfectly doable.

20 Oct
10 miles, 1:17:53, 7:47 pace, HR 139
21 Oct
10 miles, 1:16:30, 7:39 pace, HR 140
22 Oct
10 miles, 1:15:57, 7:36 pace, HR 141
23 Oct
11.75 miles, 1:25:41, 7:17 pace, HR 148
   incl. 4 mile eval: 6:33, 6:46, 6:39, 6:46, 36 sec recovery


  1. Those figures look good to me and good to hear the hammy niggle isn't bothering you. All the best on Monday.
    Yes, I've had the mystery flat Garmin battery a couple of times. I've taken to checking it 15 minutes before I run, which usually gives enough time for a last minute charge.

  2. You'd certainly want to be in sub-3hour form to pace 3:10 Thomas.

  3. Sounds like you're good to go with pacing Dublin, Thomas, but I hope that should the hammy trouble you much that you'll have the sense to slow or bail. Harder to do when you're pacing, so I suspect you'll be incapable and there's certainly plenty of time to regroup should things go south with it, but it would be nice to continue building your training consistently.