Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Man In Tights

Winter is here. We even have the fields covered in white, though in Dublin at least that's frost at the moment, not snow. We did have snow as well but it didn't stick. Now we just have the freezing cold temperatures and the icy road conditions (I like the former, not the latter). Nevertheless I get amused by Met Eireann's description of the present conditions as "bitterly cold". Not where I come from, guys. Bitterly cold to me is -20 degrees (ok, -15 qualifies as well) and temperatures around the freezing point are just  - Winter. Suck it up.

Anyway, after taking a good look at my numbers and my training in the past few months I have come to the conclusion that while the base training is getting me into pretty good shape (as witnessed by running a surprisingly easy 3:10 Dublin marathon) this is just about as good as it gets and for further improvement I have to introduce a new stimulus. None of that comes as a surprise, I had been waiting for that point ever since I started training. If anything, I am surprised base training got me as far as that. Also, I didn't want to do any faster running until I was completely sure I had recovered from Dublin/Sixmilebridge, which seems to be the case now. My numbers are good. My resting HR has dropped as low as 36, which equals the lowest number I have ever seen, and that was while taking recordings in a seated position, not lying down. A low HR doesn't automatically translate into being in good shape and well rested but the other numbers, and most importantly the way I feel, supports the same conclusion.

As an introduction into faster stuff I did a set of hill sprints last Saturday, back home in Kerry, which enabled me to do them on the same hill I used to do them on in previous years. Then again, in my memory it had been much steeper and I was surprised how "easy" it felt. I still had the familiar tightness in my chest 20-30 seconds after each sprint, which I now attribute to my exercise-induced asthma, plus a wave of nausea, but I'm used to that by now. What wasn't quite so great was that my right calf started to feel tight; maybe I should have called it a day after 6 repeats rather than 8. The tightness stayed with me over the next few days when running (not noticeable at all otherwise) but it has gotten better. By Tuesday morning I could just about feel it during the first mile but after that it was gone.

The "long" run on Sunday was made interesting by some rather inclement weather, which prevented me from following my initial plan of running around the lake. I didn't want to be caught out on high grounds in a storm, so I remained reasonably close to home but still got one big hill in. I had to be home in time for Cian's birthday party and cut it short at mile 15, though in marked contrast to last week I was still moving well at that time.

Back in Dublin I did one more workout on Tuesday morning. I resurrected the Evaluation workout, which consist of running 4 miles at HR 160 (used to be 161 but I made a small concession to old age) while taking splits at each mile and basically measuring how much you slow down well you can hold the pace while running at the same HR. In this case I was less interested in the actual numbers but more interested in the fitness gains from a moderate workout. Actually, when I say moderate, it didn't exactly feel particularly moderate at the time. I paid the price for not having run at that effort level for many, many months and was breathing rather hard, and my asthma was noticeable as well but all was fine in the end. Then again, once I had finished the workout I very quickly felt fully recovered and rather good, so it can't have been that hard. Oh and the numbers - well, I'm having troubles getting them off my damn watch and Suunto's movescount website insists on rounding them to the nearest 5, so all I can say it was about 6:30, 6:30, 6:40, 6:40, with 40-45 seconds of full recovery for the HR to come down to 130. I need to bring my old Garmin 310 to Dublin with me, it works better for such a workout (the evaluation workout is the one reason why I kept it after replacing it 3 years ago with my Suunto, which is a better watch in all other aspects). Anyway, while I don't have the exact numbers that will do as a baseline. In fact, that's a pretty good baseline, I had not expected to be under 7-minute miles, certainly not for the 3rd and 4th miles.
7 Dec
9.35 miles, 1:13:26, 7:51 pace, HR 139
8 Dec
8.35 miles, 1:06:22, 7:56 pace, HR 141
9 Dec
8.75 miles, 1:17:08, 8:48 pace, HR 131
   incl. 8 x 8-10 sec hill sprints, 2 minutes recovery
10 Dec
15+ miles, 2:01:39, 8:04 pace, HR 138
11 Dec
8.35 miles, 1:06:18, 7:56 pace, HR 139
12 Dec
9.2 miles, 1:07:27, 7:19 pace, HR 145
   incl. 4 miles @ 6:36, HR 160, 40-45 sec recovery to HR 130

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