Friday, February 19, 2016

Madrid Marathon Week 8/18

I'm running so late with my update this week that I'm almost into next week. Better late than never, I suppose.

This week the intervals on the track reached their pinnacle in terms of length of each interval (1 mile). I found it quite challenging to run 3 of these at a faster pace than 3:30 per kilometer - I must be getting old. Still, it was more or less what could be expected based on my recent performances over shorter distances.

The following day I went to London for a conference that I have been speaking at for the last few years. As I was staying with my brother and had "uncle duties" including babysitting my 5 year old nephew on the Thursday evening, I had to jiggle my training schedule around a little, and ended up with two hard(ish) workouts back-to-back. For my "tempo run" (which, in the Hanson's Method is really a Marathon Pace run, i.e., somewhat slower than most people's idea of a tempo run) I ran round and round Regent's Park. I had to fork out 15 pounds to be able to use the showers at a nearby gym but they were very nice and let me check that my suitcase would fit in the locker before parting with my cash. I'd forgotten that there is surprisingly little street lighting around Regent's Park - I think the park itself was closed (although I didn't bother to check) - but I always run on the pavement around the outside, which is roughly a 5 kilometre loop. As it was so dark, it was pretty hair raising having to avoid people with dogs or even running towards me. Some of the more savvy runners (not me) at least ran with hi-vis clothing or even lights. Stepping out into the road at the last minute was not an option because, while cars tend not to hug the curb and make a fair amount of noise, there were the usual cyclists zooming round and getting in their way would not have been fun.

One good thing about London public transport is that it is so slow to get anywhere, that you can almost always run their faster and thereby kill two birds with one stone. So, on Friday, I ran back from the conference in Canary Wharf to my brother's house 12 kilometres away in Forest Hill. As he works in Canary Wharf, I was able to hand him off my work clothes in a plastic bag and then try to beat him home: had I not had to wait for ages to get a GPS signal among all the skyscrapers and not got lost as a result of the map on my watch getting stuck, I would almost certainly have managed.

I'd arranged to stay the weekend - partly because it was my brother's birthday - but due to a bit of a misunderstanding, he'd booked a trip to Cornwall so I was left to my own devices. I went for my run in the morning and then headed up to North London (via one of my favourite restaurants - Ceviche) to stay with another friend and catch some good music. On the Sunday I went for another 16 kilomtere run from Hackney along the Regent's Canal and in to the City and back. It was actually a sunny day by London's standards.

My resting heart rate has spiked a bit this week - maybe I have been fighting off the virus my youngest son has been suffering from. As I mentioned last week, I possibly overdid things the previous Sunday. Also, if I forget to charge my Vivosmart HR and as a result don't wear it during the night, it doesn't pick up my "true" resting heart rate, which is normally achieved around 4 am and is usually quite consistent. My % fat is now back to where it was at the beginning of the year. At this rate (even if it is slower to shed than to put on), I'll easily get down to whippet like levels before the Madrid Marathon on the 24th April. I'm also finding my VO2Max as estimated by my Garmin Fenix 2 to be quite a steady and reliable measurement - maybe I'm just saying that because it is trending upwards. The watch itself is cute but is a step backwards in some ways from my trusty Garmin 310 XT - which I still use in parallel when I am running on the track: it is harder to read and paradoxically, considering it is aimed at the orienteering crowd, I find its navigation features to be worse (less accurate GPS, no warning when running off track, no ability to set automatic laps based on position). However, the very much improved Heart Rate Monitor and the HRV (Heart Rate Variability) associated metrics like recovery time as well as the VO2Max make it worth switching in my opinion. Also, when I am travelling or on holiday, the ability to be able to upload workouts or download routes via Bluetooth is fantastic, even if it is a bit fiddly to get it to talk to my phone. One thing I have learned is to add the GPS accuracy field to the default screen - it rather optimistically claims to have a satellite fix when the error can be in the range of 40m. If you keep still until this drops to around 10m, it usually behaves well after that; if I ever see a surprisingly fast split, I check that the GPS accuracy is good before believing it.

Lastly, I finally got my new plywood board installed in my treadmill but we were unable to adjust the belt so that it didn't veer off to one side. There is a little bold you can adjust with an Allen key, which inclines the rollers one way or another. We got to the point where a movement of one millimeter of the Allen key in either direction would send the belt off one way or t'other. The treadmill is still under guarantee so hopefully someone will be able to fix it for free.

Monday: 10 km @ 4:28 (track)
Tuesday: (speed) 3 x 1,600m w/ 400m recovery @ 3:28, 3:34, 3:32
Wednesday(tempo) 11.3 km @ 3:49 (Regent's Park)
Friday: 12.2 km @ 4:26
Saturday: 16 km @ 4:16
Sunday: 16 km @ 4:18
Total kilometres: 78

VO2 Max (Garmin): 64 ml/kg/min
Resting pulse (average): 43 ppm
Fat (average): 7.0%

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