Sunday, January 11, 2009

Running update and my "friend"

My running this past week completely fell apart owing to a visit from an old friend and an old "friend".

First, Wednesday's scheduled speed intervals didn't happen as the weather came down on us hard - icing the roads, glazing the outdoor track I intended to use and then, argh, forcing my gym to close early so I couldn't even try things out on the dreadmill. In retrospect I should have just called it a cross-training day and hit the rowing machine, it's in my basement after all, but I figured I'd get up early and hit the treadmill at the gym. That's when my "friend" showed up.


Insomnia and I have a long history, and in the last year it's kind of come back. Usually it's stress-induced, but sometimes, like this time I think, it just happens. In any case, I didn't sleep a wink Wednesday night and got up the next morning and, preparing for the worst, went to work and had one of the most productive days I've had in months. Weird.

Productivity at work, where I'm sitting on my ass in front of a computer is one thing, I wasn't going to attempt speed intervals. Then, that night a friend, who was in town on business, called and he and I and another old friend went out for beers. At 2:00 AM I dragged my butt in the door and had a great sleep - sleeping in a bit and going to work a bit late. Working as a scientist with a computer instead of a lab, I can do that some days.

Friday night I managed a 7 km easy run, untimed, just to get out and get some air and Saturday I hit the gym for a good weight and ab session.

This morning (Sunday), I ran my last pre-FIRST training run, as the 18-week program for the Bluenose Half starts next week. I figured I'd reprise last Sunday's 13 km run, and managed to meet the target pace (5:33). I set the Garmin to lap count every kilometre and got this:

5:32 (ave HR 151 bpm)
5:34 (ave HR 160 bpm)
5:31 (ave HR 154 bpm)
5:36 (ave HR 161 bpm)
5:32 (ave HR 169 bpm)
5:34 (ave HR 167 bpm)
5:25 (ave HR 164 bpm)
5:28 (ave HR 163 bpm)
5:29 (ave HR 163 bpm)
5:34 (ave HR 165 bpm)
5:44 (ave HR 166 bpm)
5:34 (ave HR 167 bpm)
5:13 (ave HR 171 bpm) - the big finish!

I finished in 1:11:47, at an average pace of 5:31 (owing to the big finishing spurt, I guess) at an average heart rate of 163.

Just looking at this, I see that my heart rate increased a fair bit over the past few kms, even aside from the "big finish" final km. Like all routes around Dartmouth, it was hilly, which shows up in both the km paces as well as the exertion, particularly in the first and last few kms, but I can tell that I was tiring in the final few kms, both from the numbers and from the feeling I had on the road.

Hopefully this bodes well for the training program that truly begins this week. With any luck, visits from my "friend" will be few between now and May.

Happy running!


Sonia said...

Very consistent splits! Good job =)

Sorry to hear about the lack of sleep hopefully things will get back to normal this week.

I cannot wait to start my chemist job, which is also a non-lab job so I'll be able to have late nights drinking with friends too LOL

kevvyd said...

Thanks Sonia, and congratulations on the new job! Maybe you should wait a few weeks before showing up late hung over ;)

Actually, I was the driver that night so I was only tired in the morning.

Jennifer said...

That's a pretty high heart rate-- I'm always wondering if I'm pushing too hard or not hard enough on some runs.

Maybe it's time to get lactate testing.

kevvyd said...

The heart rate is definitely too high, Jennifer. I was looking at my records from my last Bluenose training (two years ago now) and I was running only a little slower than this with an average heart rate a full ten points lower. I'm going to try to keep to the FIRST program paces to see what it does, they are based on my past running after all, but I'm going to keep in the back of my mind that I might need to spend some more time later in the year base-building.

Jennifer said...

Be careful with the paces. I know personally it's pushing the pace on the easy runs that makes me go overboard with training. The FIRST paces were determined on the treadmill, which might account for them being a bit faster than they seemingly should be. I also remember reading in the book that they expect people to race half-marathons about 30 sec/km slower than their training pace. For me it's closer to 1 minute slower.

Btw- when I mentioned lactate testing, I meant for myself-- Have you thought about it?

kevvyd said...

Jennifer - One of my coleagues just did a lactate test done in Halifax and he's got me thinking about it. I would love to be a little less in the dark with my training.

With the FIRST training, as you know, there are no "easy runs" in the basic training plan, which is where I think I was personally falling down before. (There is mention a couple of places in the book that easy runs and increased running volume *will* lead to better running performance in many runners, but that it is not strictly necessary.) As I mentioned previously, I think I'm a bit more self-competitve that is healthy and have a hard time running "easy", so redirecting easy run days to cross-training makes sense for me. I think. For now. :)

What do you mean by running the half 30 sec/km slower? My understanding, and I don't have the book right in front of me, is that all training paces are based on previous running races and the race pace will actually be faster than in training. Most of the long runs on my schedule are at "half-M pace + 12 sec/km" or "half-M pace + 20 sec/km" or "easy pace" - hence running the race will be faster than in training. Am I misreading something? (Please, tell me now while it's still early enough to change things.)

Jennifer said...

Sorry- I meant 30 sec/km faster in the race. Yikes-- I must have been tired. So for example, my half-marathon pace is 5:15/km, so FIRST would expect that my longer long runs would be about 5:45/km (and even faster for the shorter long runs). I know that if I tried to run that fast on my long runs regularly, I'd burn out pretty quickly. I do go that fast on the flat portions, but my average pace is closer to 6:15/km.

I think of the long run as an easy-paced run, and I guess they don't. That's what I have trouble getting my head around.

kevvyd said...

Yes, the long runs are fast and the purpose contrary to the philosophy behind the slower long runs I'm used to. In the past, I ran ~ 45 sec/km slower than race pace (~ 6:00 min/km), so these runs are appreciably faster. I'll keep you posted on the progress.