Thursday, May 29, 2014

I admit it, I'm pissed off

I know I shouldn't be and I'm trying ever so hard to (a) not take running / triathlon too seriously and (b) not obsess over improving (times, distances or challenge). But I have to admit, I am pissed off that I not only didn't get a time close to one I was hoping for on Sunday, but that I actually don't know why I didn't. I mean, really, who cares? There are so many more important things to worry about without even going outside my immediate worries (of work and family). Nevertheless, I have been feeling quite demotivated and anti-climatic after months of preparing for a couple of races, to now not have a clear goal until November, when I run the 20K Behobia - San Sebastian race.

Maybe denying my anger is almost as bad as fueling it: perhaps this post can act as a catharsis of sorts. I have been saying that my recent training regime was an experiment to see whether simply increasing the intensity would help me go faster but - if it was an experiment - surely I have to be prepared for it not to have worked?

Today I thought I would see how well I fared at the test I sometimes set myself, of 20 laps (7 km) around the football field keeping my heart rate below 172 bpm. It was a bit windy and the temperature was up in the 20s so I didn't expect it to be my best result ever - and it wasn't helped by me mysteriously losing my access card on the way, which put me in an even darker mood. I'm starting to see a pattern: the first lap was way too fast and my heart rate shot up very quickly (normally it takes about 8 laps to get up to the target of 172 bpm). I found myself having to slow down and down until it got silly - in fact, I didn't bother finishing the test. This isn't so far different from what has happened in the last two races I have done this year: I have started off very fast and faded.

So, I think that I need to do longer (slightly slower) runs more often to improve my endurance and get a better feel for what my race pace should be. There's probably some wisdom in the traditional school of training in macro cycles targeting different aspects such as strength, endurance and speed, as well as the common practice of polarized training whereby the easy runs are easy.

Having said that, I found that my heart rate is much lower (i.e., 10 bpm) than it used to be running at what I used to consider to be my easy pace: 13.5 kph (4:27 /km) and at 15 kph it my heart rate was closer to what it used to be at 13.5 kph. On the other hand, I know from experience that 15 kph is more like my Marathon pace and there is no way that I would run a Marathon at such a low heart rate. In other words, running on a treadmill with a fan is a different (but not necessarily better or worse) workout than running outside. Perhaps it is also time to go back to training to heart rate.

By the way, I finally got my NordicTrack T20.0 treadmill to read my heart rate from the supplied Polar strap. The repair man had to change the console (by instruction!) even though it was probably not necessary. He told me that other electric devices could cause interference. He also told me that the interference could be coming from the neighbours happening to wear a heart rate band at the same time - come on! But he was right about the first point: it turns out that if the fan of the treadmill itself is running, then the displayed heart rate is all over the place! It's actually quite handy having the treadmill read my heart rate as it is automatically uploaded to the iFit website every time I do a workout on it.

Well, having said all this, I am doing another 10K race this Sunday! I'm going to try to take it differently (as well as not going off too fast!). I remember last year enjoying doing a number of local races, let's see if I can't do the same this year.

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