Friday, March 4, 2016

Madrid Marathon Week 10/18

I actually won a race outright this week! OK, there were only 100 or so participants (out of all the millions of Santander shareholders) but a win is a win! It was actually the same race I won last year, so I had some expectations of winning again, but you never know who is going to turn up. As we arrived, to my surprise the security guard waved me through by name. When I asked him how he knew my name, he said that he remembered me from my days of commuting in to work by bike. Now I come to think of it, he might have been the one to tell me that cycling on campus was banned (until I managed to get that ruling overturned).

The course was very windy (as in twisty) and hilly, so 3:48 was not a pedestrian a pace as it might seem; I had to work fairly hard for that. I lead right from the start so I could have taken it a bit more easy, but this was substituting my weekly speed session, so it needed to be a good workout. I very nearly finished in under 18 minutes (the course was slightly short at 4.75 km) but, as the girl who announced the winners pointed out, I ran it faster than last year. Actually, the course was slightly shorter and more hilly than last year but she was correct in that I ran at a faster pace.

Another reason for entering was because I won a goody bag of gadgets worth around 300 € last year. I can't say I was too surprised that there was not the same level of generosity this year (apart from anything else, the share price is less than half what it was last year!). At least I didn't have to rush off to hospital this time - last year my wife was being operated on, so I had to dash off to keep her company and drive her home afterwards.

After jigging around things a little because of the race on Wednesday, I ended up doing my 13 km tempo run on Friday. I noticed my heart rate was significantly lower than usual (<160 bpm the whole way). I also noticed that I ran it with a cadence of only 172 versus my usual 178 - I think that this was simply because the drum 'n' bass mix I was listening to was recorded at that tempo! Maybe I have inadvertently discovered that I am more efficient at a lower cadence. Or maybe I'm just getting fitter.

Another thing I have come to realize about the Hanson's training plan that I have been following versus how I have been training the last few years is that there are very few workouts designed to boost your confidence; the philosophy is more about running on tired legs. For example, they don't recommend doing tune-up races because these mess with the training plan. I would also tend to do those sub-maximal aerobic tests (7 km at 172 bpm) to see how I was doing. The tempo runs are a good measure of how my heart rate would respond in "perfect" conditions during the opening stages of the Marathon and will, I think, ultimately be a better guide when it comes to the race itself. For the rest it is a question of having faith in the plan - I certainly notice that I am getting fitter (as does my Garmin watch) - the question is only whether I will be as fit as I can be on the day.

Monday: -
Tuesday10 km @ 4:19 (track)
Wednesday: 4.75 km race @ 3:48 (73 metres ascent)
Thursday: 10 km @ 4:33 (treadmill)
Friday: 13 km @ 3:57
Saturday: 16.1 km @ 4:23
Sunday: 16 km @ 4:11
Total kilometres: 77

VO2 Max (Garmin): 65 ml/kg/min
Resting pulse (average): 43 ppm
Fat (average): 6.7%

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