Obviously I realise that after a heart scare the good news is far more important and everything else pales into insignificance. It doesn't, however, mean that I am entirely happy about the situation. I should be grateful that I am still able to run at all, so this is probably me being greedy, but I'd much prefer running a bit faster than that.
I have been reading enough reports from people using the Maffetone method to know that this can test the patience of a saint, and in fact compared to a lot of other runners I'm still doing pretty well. I don't have to walk up every incline and my pace is reasonably close to 8-minute miles, but still, this just isn't all that much fun.
Ok, ok, I'll stop whining.
So, I've been running with the alarm programmed into the watch and the little **** keeps beeping at me every time the effort goes above anything faster than a gentle jog. Actually, that's not quite right. When running up a very steep incline, like I did today (Sunday morning), even crawling pace has the thing beeping and there's not much I can do about it. On the other hand, running down a steep incline means I can hammer out the pace until my quads turn to jelly and the HR is still beneath the alarm threshold. HR alone is definitely not the sole measurement for effort but it's all I have.
I have increased the distance of my runs every day; tentatively at first as I did not want to stress my heart but it all went well and I felt good so I got more confident. The other factor was that the slow pace and exceptionally easy effort meant I would not get tired at all, not even after running further than usual. The downside, obviously, was the slow pace; I sure had hoped my pace would be closer to 8-minute miles.
Saturday was the one run that went reasonably well. Conditions were good, no wind, clear skies and temperatures around the freezing point but without icy roads, perfect. That day I came reasonably close to averaging 8-minute miles, which was a lot nicer than crawling around at 8:30-ish.
On Sunday I went back on the loop around the lake for the first time since my hamstring started hurting, which seems like a very long time ago. I quickly realised that it is basically impossible to run slowly enough on the steep slope to satisfy the watch, but I was not going to walk, beep or no beep. However, the low effort meant I reached the top not even out of breath when usually I struggle towards the end if I'm not in climbing shape. Running up the steep road is usually a very good indicator of my fitness, so I was surprised to find it so easy. On the downhill I could run as fast as my legs would spin and the alarm still would not go off, but I found it hard to settle back into the slow effort once I reached the flat.
Despite this being my longest training run in a while I couldn't feel any fatigue at the end. In fact, I was slightly tempted to add a second loop, despite the wind and rain, but decided against it (for a start, Niamh would go apeshit if I disappeared for 4+ hours without telling her first). This leaves me with a rather modest weekly mileage total, but, as said, I should probably be grateful for being able to run at all.
- 11 Dec
- 8 miles, 1:06:20, 8:17 pace, HR 135
- 12 Dec
- 10 miles, 1:23:52, 8:23 pace, HR 134
- 13 Dec
- 12 miles, 1:36:53, 8:04 pace, HR 136
- 14 Dec
- 15 miles, 2:06:09, 8:24 pace, HR 139
Weekly Mileage: 57