Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Weighty Matters

As I have mentioned on a couple of occasions, I'm presently trying to shed a few extra pounds. It's not that I'm particularly fat - my BMI is somewhere between 21 and 22, my body fat percentage close to 10% and my waist about 29.5 inches (much to Niamh's disgust). There doesn't seem to be much fat to lose, but I know from past experience that I race faster whenever I'm below 145 pounds. I started the New Year at about 152 pounds, and by cutting out chocolate and sugar (the occasional treat excepted) I'm right now losing about a pound per week, maybe a tad less, which is just about perfect and should get me to my desired weight in time. Things are all good on that front - certainly good enough to give myself a free pass for Pancake Tuesday tonight!

I can't complain fitness-wise either. Sunday's 20 mile long run passed by in no time at all, very much thanks to Sean for the company during the middle 10 miles. I did the same as for all other club runs, ran 5 miles on my own into town, joined the club for a comfortable 10 mile jog and then ran home again. The pace is a bit slower than what I would do on my own, but considering that I'm doing a couple of quality session per week that's probably a good thing anyway.

I must be in really good shape. I always used to notice the HR creeping up noticeably in the second half of a long run, something called heart rate drift (triathlon coach Joe Friel calls it decoupling). This is no longer the case, the HR remains steady even in the later stages of a 20 mile run, unless I up the pace. I had to be very patient in this training cycle and did a lot of aerobic running, waiting for a long time for improvements to show up. It has taken quite some time, but it seems to be paying off.

The cherry on top of the training cake is provided by speed work, which I tend to use sparingly, but right now I'm doing just that. I wanted to get a few faster miles into the legs (definitely with half an eye on Ballycotton, admittedly) and opted for quarter mile repeats. My 5k pace is about 5:45, which translates into 86 seconds, so that was the target rather than a balls-out effort that would leave me in a heap on the roadside. I used the first few to get myself into the proper rhythm and spooled them off one by one.  Quarter miles are mercifully short and I managed to recovery surprisingly well in the 60 seconds recovery breaks. I also got gradually faster as the session went on, which is definitely preferable to slowing down.

87, 87, 88, 84, 86, 86, 86, 85, 84, 82

More important than the pace is the fact that I managed to run in a reasonably relaxed and controlled manner. The breathing threatened to switch into hyperventilation on a few occasions, so I mostly focused on keeping that under control. Once more, I'm pretty happy with the workout. On the whole this is going well - I need to mind the legs though, they are definitely starting to feel heavy.

2 Mar
20 miles, 2:41:48, 8:04 pace, HR 134
3 Mar
10 miles, 1:18:59, 7:54 pace, HR 133
4 Mar
7.5 miles, 56:22, 7:31 pace, HR 150
   10 x quarters in 87, 87, 88, 84, 86, 86, 86, 85, 84, 82; 60 sec recovery


  1. You're running well. Nice 400s! And a good trend with the weight chart. Don't understand why Niamh would be disgusted!

  2. Great workout!! We runners want to be thin and lean, women prefer them fatter I would say.

  3. It looks like everything is falling into place nicely. Great job!