Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Identify, Determine, Evaluate, Act, and Learn

Following a rather heavy weekend load, Monday and Tuesday were always going to be easy runs, though I did raise an eyebrow after each run when I saw just how slow they had been. The HR on Monday was particularly low, I think I can already see the effects of the step up in training. From that point of view Tuesday was a step backwards as the legs had felt very heavy indeed and the HR was back at its previous level. I think it took those two days to get the weekend out of the system and on Wednesday morning I was ready to do another evaluation.

I sometimes have a hard time getting my HR up to the right level before the start of the evaluation but this morning I had a hard time nailing the correct HR during the evaluation itself. I was running just a tad too slow, not enough to have my HR alarm chime up all the time but enough to show a difference in the numbers. MC's formula for correcting HR deviations is 7 seconds for 2 beats (3 seconds for 1), and the adjusted figures are in the bracket.
        Mile 1    6:45   HR 159    (6:38)
        Mile 2    6:44   HR 160    (6:41)
        Mile 3    6:39   HR 161    (6:39)
        Mile 4    6:38   HR 161    (6:38)
        Recovery to HR 130: ~40 seconds

I have never had an evaluation where I had gotten FASTER with each mile. Maybe the cold temperatures had something to do with it as it was about -2C/28F and I needed to warm up to hit the right pace, but I had already done almost 4 miles of warm up before the start of the evaluation, which seems almost excessive as it is. The recovery time is more an educated guess because I got confused by all those shiny numbers on the Garmin while standing at the side of the road. Must be old age. Oh, and I did notice that the Suunto Ambit recorded the same miles as about 5 seconds slower each (or, more accurately, did record less than a mile per repeat), though I keep using the Garmin's numbers for the evaluations to make comparisons with previous efforts easier.

Anyway, the figures are pretty damn good, if I don't slow down during an evaluation that's an excellent sign and in fact I had gotten progressively quicker, though the adjusted numbers are more even. The heavy legs from Tuesday were quickly forgotten as one of those days. I am in good shape already and ready to push on.
2 Feb
10 miles, 1:24:31, 8:27 pace, HR 132
3 Feb
10 miles, 1:26:37, 8:40 pace, HR 139
4 Feb
11.8 miles, 1:29:09, 7:33 pace, HR 148
   incl. 4 mile eval: 6:45, 6:44, 6:39, 6:38; 40 sec recovery


  1. Yes, that is unusual! I'd say the cold weather; your body warming up into the session and becoming more relaxed as it progressed. Nice weekend last too - you're going well.

  2. That's a big step up in speed since the last evaluation, along with maintaining the pace through the evaluation all great signs.

    I'm planning on trying out an evaluation run in the same style as yourself, I have scoped out a flat half mile out/back at along the side of local loch, I've use strava to scope out the lengths of the section. At the end of each half mile I'll need to do a 180 turn though. What type of course do you have set up for your evaluation?

    I'm also curious about the what you do at the end of evaluation, do you just stop completely and wait for the HR to go down to 130, or do you walk/jog?

    Finally do you find that the evaluation pace maps to your marathon pace in any meaningful way? At a guess I'd say that the pace in evaluation can't be too far off your marathon racing pace.

    The reason why I ask is that I'm curious about where my current fitness is and how it might map to marathon performance. Not that I'm training for a marathon, but it's just nice to have a inkling how my fitness might relate to standard distances.

    1. Hi Robert, my evaluation course is exactly as you described your planned one, a flat half-mile stretch that requires a 180 degree turn at each end.

      After the evaluation I come to a complete stop and time how long it takes for the HR to get down to 130 (which can be surprisingly tricky).

      I find the evaluation pace to be very close to my marathon pace. I generally average 5 seconds slower per mile in a marathon than I did my last evaluation in (if I race it, that is, obviously), but since that is the difference between real pace and Garmin pace I think the actual evaluation pace matches my true marathon pace almost exactly.

      However, that assumes I am trained for a marathon, which right now I am not, so I very much doubt I'd be able to run a sub-3 tomorrow even if I tried.

    2. I finally did my evaluation run. I've written how it went on my blog along with other bits of evaluation I've done. The evaluation seemed to go go well:

      6:56@161, 6:56@160, 6:56@160, 7:00@161 and quick recovery of HR to 130 of around 25 seconds.

      I was really looking forward to going back and forwards on the same bit of flat road but actually quite enjoyed it. Can't imagine being able to keep that pace up for a marathon yet though... Lucky I'm training for an ultra really as I don't have to face the prospect of running 7 min/miles for a bit over 3 hours ;-)

  3. Haha cold temps at -2C !! T'was a balmy -29C this morning in Montreal for our 20 miler. It has been a long cold winter here and with the snow there has been no chance of an evaluation since before Christmas. Keep up the great work -jojo.