Thursday, July 05, 2007

Numbers Don't Lie...or do They?

Some possible answers:
a.) God I hope so
b.) If they don't lie, just throw in more numbers to confuse the issue and make excuses in an effort to make yourself feel better.

Today was a 10 mile evaluation run where I kept my heart rate between 150-155 beats per minute. This was my third go at a run of this type, though the first time it was 7 miles and the second time it was 8 miles. Here are the results for all three runs with the same heart rate guidelines-

5/17, 7 miles at 6:15 average pace (no individual splits)
6/7, 8 miles at 6:03, 4, 4, 3, 7, 7, 8, 1 (6:04 avg. pace)
7/5, 10 miles at 6:10, 01, 07, 10, 14, 15, 18, 14, 16, 16 (6:12 avg. pace)

So, the short story is that I went from averaging 6:15 pace at 150-155BPM in May to 6:04 in June, then back down to 6:12 in July. Even if I take out the last two miles to make a more direct comparison with June's run I'm left with a 6:11 pace, or 7 seconds slower per mile than I was running a month ago.

While I was a bit ticked off to see the splits sliding off after three miles or so (mile 2 had a little more downhill), I will take some consolation from these factors (and in cases excuses)-

1. I was relaxed and never felt like I was pushing too hard, so no increased perceived exertion at the same heart rate.

2. I'm coming off two weeks of 93 and 90 miles, so perhaps I'm dealing with a bit of residual fatigue as I re-acclimate to the increased volume.

3. It was 88 degrees when I finished the run. Yes, I started before 5 this morning, but after a record high yesterday and some late evening clouds causing a bit of an inversion I was slapped in the face with heat when I opened the garage door.

My first two go-arounds with this workout found me running in 60-68 degree temps, so this was a big change. I'd love to just blame the weather and leave it at that, but of course my obsessive nature and delicate runner's psyche won't allow it. However, I'm withholding declaring my running career over until I see how both the long run tomorrow and the subsequent recovery goes.

And yes, I'm being sarcastic.

Training: Today, 13 miles, 1:23:43, 6:23 pace, w/10 miles at 150-155HR: 6:10,01,07,10,14,15,18,14,16,16 (6:12 average)
Yesterday, 10 miles, 1:07:57, 6:48 pace


Love2Run said...

I'm sure a 20deg increase in temperature and diverted bloodflow for cooling would be a major factor. Do you run these on the same course or on a track? These 'tests' seem to be the hot topic lately but it's hard to keep the conditions constant, recent training load, etc.

Eric said...

I would place the blame for this squarely on the heat. Your normal skin temperature is around 75F, so anything over that, and you are literally baking. It's the same thing that happened on your last 2-mile 'evaluation'.

Don't sweat it. ha. haha. bwah-hahahahah!

Mike said...

Mike, I've been doing just about all of the miles on a one mile loop that's sort of "squarish" for these, with the goal of controlling as many variables as possible. I did skip the typical evening run the night before, which I think helps me more for my long run on Fridays.

I'm with you and Eric on heat being the major factor, and doing this one by heart rate probably will save me for tomorrow. If left to my own devices (without heart rate parameters assigned by the coach), I surely would have just sped up and run myself into the ground with a heart rate in the mid-160's for the meager satisfaction of covering the miles at the same speed or faster than last week.

Stephen Lacey said...

left to my own devices (without heart rate parameters assigned by the coach), I surely would have just sped up and run myself into the ground with a heart rate in the mid-160's

Exactly. That's why the HRM is so valuable in summer. Gives you a better understanding of the combined physiological stresses. Where I run we also have a huge increase in humidity, and even at modest temperatures, it really screws with heat dissipation. Just keep training to heart rate and then once the temperatures break in September, you go out for a run and feel like you've just been shot out of a cannon.

Abadabajev said...

Since I think different than others I will go against what others are saying.

You just came off 2 weeks of 93 and 90 miles back to back. Welcome back to high mile country. I luv it. You are a borned high miler. There is no denying that. During your 3rd week(now), you should have cut your volume in 1/2 for a recovery week. So the max. you should be covering this week is approx. 45-50 miles. But you keep pushing the envelope.

As for the heat, this is perhaps a dumb question(I'm good at those),but shouldn't you already be acclimatized to the Tucson heat?
Or is this weather way above normal? Just asking.

eric said...

Ugh. This hurts every thinking muscle in my head. It's not possible to acclimate to those kinds of temperatures to the extent that one is *not affected*. Mike is acclimated to the heat as much as anyone physically can be. Case in point, Mombassa World Cross Country 2007.

Afternoon temperatures reached nearly 35 C (95 F), with humidity at over 70 percent. In all, 82 of the 471 competitors who started their respective races did not finish. 27 were hospitalized.

The people running that race were the best in the world, many of them from Africa, where these temperatures are de rigeur. Human beings simply cannot *not* be affected by conditions like this. Incidentally, tomorrow, at around 3pm, the above will be exactly the forecast for my weather here in North Dakota. I'm going to try fifteen minutes of jogging just to see what it's like.

As far as the recovery stuff, I know I chew on Mike a lot about that, but cutting back mileage by 50% is absolutely ridiculous. The only time I can see that being of any value is when you are so over your head with mileage in the first place, that the only way to remain uninjured through the training is to drastically reduce the load. And obviously, if you're overdoing it that much, your problem lies with the schedule, not the recovery.

Mark said...

looks like my log pulls a near 50% cutback, never considered it to be ridiculous, just the way it played out and hence my lack of following a rigid schedule

Mike is long mileage from what I have seen as he really wants to be "true Lydiard". Miles make champions, etc

In this case, I will side with the heat being a major factor with accumulation of miles a second, will need to take another look to see if there is a pull-back or continual mileage appetite