Monday, April 12, 2010

What Happened?

On a whim, I decided to wear my heart rate monitor during my Saturday run. I hadn't done that in ages. Up until I started ultras last year, I ALWAYS recorded my training runs. I know that some of you are not friends of the Garmin, but what can I say: I majored in math, so I like to crunch numbers. Well, let me tell you that I was in for a surprize. My top-end fitness has gone to shit. Sure, I can slog forever but on that run, done at what should be my recovery pace, my HR was a full 10 beats per minutes higher that on the exact same run last year. WTF?

That goes to show you that all those intervals and hills actually do a lot for one's fitness. I just recently started doing hills again (Susitna was flat as a pancake) so I'm expecting things to improve quickly in that department but I will change something else in the way I run: I think I run my recovery and long runs (when I can't get to a trail) too fast. They feel fine, I breathe easy, but I think that I need to slow down on those runs.

I'm running the 52km at the Seaton Trail Mud Puppies on Saturday. I intend to push a bit and see how things compare to last year. I was definitely more fit last year, but I feel that my body is stronger now and also I have more experience with ultras. My other experiment: stop wasting time at the aid stations. This is my curse and I have to stop doing that. I might just go with gels and grab the occasional cup of Coke and/or cookie, but that's it. I'll let you know how things go.

On the training front, I managed an ok week of training. Following last weekend's 5hr, 38km long run, I pulled back a bit this week with a nice 2hr run at Rattlesnake point. The trail was more challenging than I remembered and I tripped and fell for the first time in a while. That obviously happened as I was meeting a group of hikers. Never saw that rock sticking out of the dead leaves. I felt ok but not great. I really wanted to run on trails because I just bought a brand new pair of La Sportiva Crosslites. My old ones were a shade too small and after a year and much distance, the lugs were almost gone. The ones I bought for Susitna are too big to run with regular socks, so they will be my Winter shoes. I bought the new ones half a size bigger than my old ones, but still half a size smaller than the Winter pair, and they feel great. My toes didn't hit the back of the toe box, even when I hit that rock and fell on my face (well, I tried to roll, with mixed success).

This week's training will be light, kind of a mini taper, with hopefully a great day at Seaton on Saturday.


Johnny said...

Hope you have a great race on Saturday. I'm sure you'll do well.

I'm also hoping to limit my time at the aid stations. Those minutes sure add up after a while.

The weather forecast is calling for rain on the weekend, so your new Crosslites will come in handy on those muddy trails.

I start an hour earlier than you, so hopefully you won't pass me before I've finished the first loop.

BTW - Do you have a membership for Conversation Halton Parks? Do you recommend the trails there? What else is good besides Rattlesnake Point?

chris mcpeake said...

I too have always had an issue with running recovery too fast. I fight to keep that in check non stop. No problems with the aid stations tho I mostly just run through unless I need a water bottle refill.
Cya on saturday!!
It should be a blast

JD said...

John, no I got a Bruce Trail membership. I like to try a few different trails. In addition to the two you mentioned, I like the Terra Cotta area. Hilton Falls is also great and there's a long loop, which I like. A lot of people run the Sulphur Springs course on the weekend.

Chris, looks like it might also be a splash!