Monday, August 31, 2015

New York City Marathon 2015 Week 2/11

This week it was back to Madrid and back to work. Luckily things were still very quiet in the office so I was able to catch up on a few things as well as be very flexible with my training (for example, to avoid peak time a the gym, the two times I managed to go).

It was nice to get back on the treadmill and to a new series - Ray Donovan season 3. I've decided to stop agonizing over whether it is easier or not - I think this is a bit like selectively searching for evidence that drinking wine is good for you. The 8 lots of 1 km were noticeably easier than the same ones I ran in Cambridge the week before and I can't put it down to the training effect or even the temperature. My watch agrees: supposedly it has been calibrating the in built accelerometer based cadence sensor to my outdoor runs and it thinks I am running 10% more slowly than the treadmill claims on average. Now this is no doubt an exaggeration, but one thing is true, and that is that my cadence is lower for the same speed on the treadmill compared to running outside. I think that this is due to the lack of wind resistance and the more springy running surface - both of which mean it is optimal to "bounce" more. When I finally get my hands on the runScribe sensor I helped kickstart, it will be interesting to see what it has to say about the matter. I'm also tempted to ask Santa Claus for the Garmin Heart Rate Monitor with additional running metrics such as vertical oscillation. You can never have too many running metrics (whether they are useful or not is another matter).

My first run on the treadmill, however, was on Tuesday and consisted of 15 minutes at 15 kph followed by 15 minutes at 16 kph (no rest in between). I'd just had dinner with lashings of my favourite hot sauce

which is basically fresh chili preserved in soya oil. I've become quite addicted to spicy food over the last year or so (although I've always liked it having been brought up on it by my dad) and this packs the best punch without overwhelming the flavour that I have found so far. Anyway, the reason I mention this is because I noticed during my run that I was actually sweating chili! I had to be careful not to rub my eyes...

On Wednesday I went for a run outside at around 12 pm (avoiding the hottest part of the day, but it was still pretty warm - 27 degrees or so). I enjoyed running in random directions in the fields round the back of my work and then using my GPS to retrace my footsteps. I can't have noticed how much I was climbing because I was surprised to get back to the start 4 minutes quicker, so I did an extra little loop to make the time up to an hour. All in all, quite a spritely pace of 4:16 (14 kph). Even though it was hotter than those early morning runs I did in the UK, I sweated less because at least it is a dry heat in Madrid. How did I measure this? By the fact that there was still a small dry patch on my shorts at the end of the run!

I managed to squeeze in a weights session on Friday although I was slightly nervous about it screwing up my weekend training: last time I had taken almost a week to recover from the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Whether it was because I was a little more trained or because I did a run that evening that served as a kind of "cool down" I don't know, but it did little to interfere (except, curiously, making it hard to sit down on the toilet). I've also been using my PowerBreathe "inspiratory breathing resistance apparatus" a couple of times a day - 30 breaths until "failure" - as I think that this helps. Certainly, I felt that same feeling of literally gasping for breath on the 30th breath as I did during my 1K repeats at 3:25 (17.5 kph) in Cambridge.

My hour run on Saturday went well although my watch seemed to think that I was overdoing things. It has a "recovery advisor" which is based on how much time you spend over 70% of your maximum heart rate. It tells you how long you should wait before training (hard) again. You have to take these things with a pinch of salt, of course, but it at least has the effect of making you ask yourself whether you should take a day off or not. For some reason, it tends to severely underestimate how tired I feel after doing intervals, but after aerobic runs it has been correlating reasonably well. Normally it will say that I should wait between 24 hours (normal) and 36 (maybe take a day off). This time, it surprised me by telling me to wait 3 days! I didn't want to do this as the longish run the next day was the culmination of the weeks' training. I had once made the mistake of preparing a Marathon taking my weekly break the day before the long run and I am convinced that this explains my lackluster performance that time. As a result of the "warning" I took my recovery quite seriously on Saturday and made sure I ate well and treated myself to a very hot bath (followed by a very cold shower) as well as a session with my Compex electrostimulator.

The long(ish) run on Sunday was fine in the end. I made sure to get up early, had a light breakfast (although I am of the mind to do my "easy" long runs on an empty stomach from now on) and was out of the door by 8:30. I'm following the same training plan I did two years ago for the New York Marathon in 2013. The problem is that I cannot help comparing myself to myself, training session by training session (I ran this in 1:34, three minutes faster than two years ago). It is probably not a very wise approach as my watch again warned me to take 3 days off. The "training effect" it also calculated came out as 5 / 5 which sounds good until you realize that 5 equates to "overtraining". Whatever the case, my heart rate was on the high side. After my recent VO2 Max test I am a little confused over what to make of this. On the one hand, my maximum heart rate seems to have dropped significantly from 191 to 185 but on the other hand, my aerobic threshold seems to have climbed from 155 to 160 - or, as a percentage of maximum heart rate, from 81% to 86%. Is that good? Should I allow my heart rate on the so called easy runs to climb higher as a result of my higher aerobic threshold? Or lower, as a result of my lower maximum heart rate? As I didn't wear my heart rate monitor for my training (but only for the race) two years ago, I don't really have a reference. Maybe I should just go by feel.

Monday: -
Tuesday: 15' @ 4:00, 15' @ 3:45
Wednesday: 60' @ 4:16
Thursday: 8 x 1 km @ 3:25
Friday: 3 x 12 x 60% (weights), 40' @ 4:00
Saturday: 60' @ 4:19
Sunday: 21.1 km in 1:34 (4:28)

Total kilometers: 75

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