Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Long Run Test

Yesterday was long run day. The plan called for 105 minutes broken into thirds. Starting slow, the effort or pace increases at each third. The program still has me running for 9 minutes and walking for 1. If you've been reading my posts recently you'll know that I've been struggling with myself a bit. This includes my training. Nothing has really felt right. This week I decided to make the change that I generally preach to everyone. I have three workouts a week that really count. Workouts that need total perperation and focus. They are the Wednesday long run, Friday Brick session and Sunday Endurance Day. All the other days are have workouts that need to take place but generally only in good form with no extensive effort. Those workouts should just feel like routine and easy. So it's with this idea that I went after my long run yesterday.
The first thing I did was remove my headphones. I love music but I thought I'd do something different. For the first 70 minutes of the run, I listened to my running, listened to the birds singing, whatched the Swans in the field and the 7 deer off in the distance feeding. I stopped and had a short conversation with Alice and even got to enjoy a great sunrise. At 70 minutes as I entered the Forest I put my headphones on. I run with a HR monitor on the three key days, so yesterday I managed my effort/HR. First third easy warm up trying to keep the HR below 140. It was really hard to run that slow. The second third I rolled through below 145 and the final third below 150. I had done this exact run before and new my Average HR was 147 which was a bit high for a long run. During the run, I felt great, it felt almost too easy but I had the strange sense that I was behind. At 30 minutes I was scared that I had only gotten as far as I did. At 60 minutes I was still worried that I would not make it to the office when I wanted to. I pushed those things out of my mind and stuck to the plan. Once I hit the Beer Garden at 80 minutes I knew I was right on time. I stayed relaxed, concentrating on my form and rollled to a stop just outside adidas.
Total run: 12.5 miles
Time: 1:46:18
Avg. HR 142

3 weeks ago on the same run.
Total run: 12.5 miles
Time: 1:45:46
Avg. HR 147

The 5 beats in Average means my heart didn't beat 505 times yesterday that it did the last time. That is really significant. It also means if I used those 505 heart beats I would have run significantly faster than the run 3 weeks ago.

My point in all this is we all have a reason to run or do triathlon. Maybe the goals aren't like mine to win but there is a reason. The only way to mark progress is to measure results against results. It's these kinds of things that keep me focused on the task. It also makes the coaches happy to see. I aslo add that sticking to hitting your key workouts and just executing the others is rather smart. I'm not always good at it but it sure works. Another thing, take the headphones off once in awhile. Listen to the world out there. It's an amazing place. I mean really, in one early morning view I saw two beautiful Swans in the middle of a field and off in the distance were 7 or 8 deer grazing. I would have missed it had I been listening to the music. Finally I preach to folks I love to slow down. This is proof that I practice what I preach. Believe me it's not easy for me either but look at the results. These results will pay huge in May and June.

It's a good life....
Dave
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