Thursday, May 26, 2016

Conflicting Information

I'm not 100% where my fitness is right now because I am getting two conflicting sets of information:
  1. objectively, my HR data is already looking good and heading upwards towards "very good"
  2. subjectively, I am feeling rather sluggish and tired
And where does that leave me? I've been doing rather hefty mileage this week, which easily explains the tiredness and heavy legs. The fact that the HR numbers have continuously been improving over the same period came as a bit of a surprise to me but the upwards curve in the graph is perfectly obvious. This is the main reason why I keep a training log and why I created my spreadsheets with graphs, to have a view of objective data that does not rely on potentially unreliable subjective input like how the legs are feeling.

At the same time I cannot dismiss subjective feelings either. I'm feeling tired, and I do have to take note of that.

There's only one more week of heavy training left. Maybe feeling tired right now is where you'd want to be anyway. Just don't overstep the mark. Don't get injured. And try not to race on tired legs this time!

I did 2 fairly long morning runs this week, 15 miles on Tuesday and 18 on Thursday. Both required to get up rather early but thankfully with the sun rising at 6 am it was bright enough even at stupid o'clock. I felt a bit sluggish on Tuesday and was surprised afterwards by the faster than expected pace, and also by the fact that I had not slowed down towards the end. That just goes to show that you can't entirely trust subjective effort levels. On Thursday I felt better early on but I did get rather tired towards the end, and I could not help but notice that I had run 15 seconds per mile slower than on Tuesday when I would have thought I had run at the same pace and effort.

Sandwiched between those 2 runs were hill sprints on Wednesday. There was some clear improvement to previous efforts: for the first time this year I did not get a tight chest and I did not have to deal with waves of nausea either. I only headed for home because I had run out of time rather than out of steam as usual. At the very least I'm getting better at doing hill sprints.

My left knee remains am issue. I felt a sharp pain the other day when walking down some stairs, but that's the only time it actually hurt, at all other times it just feels a bit funny without being painful. I can just about feel it at the start of each run and have to ease into the effort but within a minute or two it feels fine, and running itself doesn't seem to aggravate it.

23 May
am: 10 miles, 1:21:00, 8:06 pace, HR 136
pm: 3 miles, 20:00, 8:40 pace, HR 127, treadmill
24 May
am: 15 miles, 1:55:05, 7:40 pace, HR 142
pm: 3 miles, 25:58, 8:39 pace, HR 129, treadmill
25 May
am: 7 miles, 1:04:07, 9:10 pace, HR 136, hill sprints
pm: 5 miles, 44:17, 8:51 pace, HR 131, treadmill
26 May
18 miles, 2:22:24, 7:55 pace, HR 137


  1. I had discussion with the author of Canute's Efficient Running blog a few years back about my observation that my HR for pace figures the week or two after a big run or race can be really good. He has on occasion something similar and put it down to the balance between the para and sympathetic nervous shifting to avoid you over doing things when you body is doing repair work. You max HR during this phase is depressed. I get the idea that max HR would be suppressed but don't find it a good explanation why apparent efficiency would go up as well.

    Could this has some relevance to you? You have done a heap of training of late that your body will be trying to rebuild itself in response. Feeling tired is the bodies way of telling you to hold things back, perhaps the lower HR is part of this too, perhaps the tiredness is due to lower HR itself.

    Either way it does sounds like your body is on the cusp of over training. Adding too much more might push it over the edge. Backing off a little might see you not quite reach your potential peak.

    Another thing you could do is just make sure you are eating plenty and sleeping as well as you can. Not getting up at silly O'Clock or getting to be an hour earlier might all you need to rebalance things on stress/repair cycle.

  2. It's hard to say, but I wouldn't mind being half as fit as you (without the tiredness).
    I've been watching the Giro and the commentators mentioned that some riders don't ride into top form until the third week... but it's so gruelling that they spend all their time off the bike recovering, eating and sleeping. I'd say you're running towards top form.