Monday, March 19, 2012

Pace retraining

It's great having old data to look at, I do love all the technology available for runners these days. My choice is the Polar RS800CX system. I did originally have a foot pod Polar system, but switched to the GPS and haven't looked back. Unlike a lot of my Garmin wearing friends, I don't have that strange need to get 'exact' kms each week. If my run is 19.6K, no I don't need to run another 400m to get to 20K. It's not an exact science anyway!

Yes, I do have all the accessories for the bike as well ..... I'm a techno geek after all.
Back to the topic at hand. I thought it time to go and review some old running data to see how I currently compare to the 'good old days'. To some extent it was a pleasant surprise. Current pace and HR data don't look hugely different to when I was in training for the 2009 Melbourne marathon. What is different, is my current RPE. Relative to the HR data, RPE feels harder than it should, hence I continue to 'choose' to run at a slow pace. Sure when fatigue is a factor this would be expected, but fatigue mostly isn't an issue. What gives? I believe that while I had iron deficiency and continued to run, I unintentionally reset my RPE. The fatigue and muscle discomfort that went with the iron deficiency saw me retrain my body to run really slow. It was the only way I could do some form of running while battling undiagnosed fatigue. I did that for close to 12 months! Plenty of time to rewire the brain. I am now more sensitive to trying to run at slightly quicker paces. Runs with HR in the 140-150 bpm range 'feel' more like 150-160 bpm. The brain keeps saying "stay in the 130-140 range". Hence, the time has come to reset my RPE and to do more runs with a slightly higher HR. Genuine recovery runs will remain at ~130bpm. At some point it should start to feel less taxing (I hope!).

The good old days - Melbourne marathon 2009
 Latest Training:
Saturday - Oops, I didn't get around to running.
Sunday - A nice group tempo run 13.2K @ 5:48km/min, hilly, HRav 143bpm, Total for the week, a tad over 50km (low due to missing Saturday and Thursday)
Monday - Brain retraining run! 6K @ 5:30 km/min pace, HRav 137 bpm. I was a bit tired due to a poor quality sleep overnight and the RPE was not nice.

1 comment:

  1. That's good news about recording similar data to 2009. One thing though, if you're running half the mileage now, in theory you should be benefiting from better recovery between runs (although maybe not, as I know you've been training hard!).

    I think the 'brain retraining' is a good idea. I've found the same problem myself... it's easy to get lulled into slower and slower paces on runs over time (the body naturally wants to make it easy for itself). Making an effort to run at slightly uncomfortable HRs over time will make the pace at those HRs feel easier. I think that's where some people get Maffetone training wrong... if their Maff HR is 140, over time their pace at 140 becomes faster, but they think 140=X minutes per k and keep doing their runs at X minutes per k and enjoy the easier effort.