Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On the search for more positives

Its hard enough to run around Welling & Bexleyheath, an area I've known for the best part of 36 of my 38 years but tonight it was time to be brave and head out on a slightly longer loop around Petts Wood, rather than just a couple of local roads and the straight out and back route to Chislehurst that I've been doing recently.

I went out with Petts Wood Runners a few weeks back and they'd taken me out to Locksbottom and Bickley, so I thought that would be a good starting point, especially as I'd have a comparable metric to see how I was fairing, fitness-wise.

Its a fairly basic route as you can see.

Segment courtesy of Strava

I ran a warm up of Grosvenor Road, Perry Hall Road and Petts Wood Road to get to the route, picking it up at Tudor Way, following Crofton Lane then Crofton Road up to Chapter One at Locksbottom/Farnborough Common, then Croydon Road, before turning right into Oakley Road (couldnt not remember that name!) and then back to Southborough Lane and Petts Wood via Magpie Hall Lane.

No particularly steeps hills, although a couple of drags involved, mainly coming up to Chapter One and at the end of Southborough Lane.

Elevation data courtesy of Strava

Halfway down the first road, Tudor Way, my Garmin bleeped the first mile split of 9:17 with an average HR of 142.  Conservative to say the least.  

It was at that point, I decided to give the 3:2 breathing technique another try.  I'd read about it a few days before and had run with it on my previous training run.  The theory is that you inhale for 3 steps and then exhale for 2 steps.  The idea is that you inhale and exhale on alternating feet, so you dont always strike and breathe, what I've always tended to do.  It takes some getting used to.  I struggled on my first attempt but I seemed to grasp it this time around.  However, as soon as my thoughts wandered, I felt as though breathing wandered too.  I go to run to destress and think about things, then throwing this into the mix makes it even more complex.  However, more practiced required for sure but first impressions, it seems to work.

Anyhow, the run was good.  I knew that the first part of the run up to Locksbottom was generally a tedious drag so it made sense to work in the first half and then take the foot off the gas in the second recovery part before hitting the last climb.  Well it didnt go to plan.  I stayed steady in the first part and felt good up to Chapter One, although both Achilles are still nagging me on every run at the moment and then just kept going.  Why take your foot off the gas when you're feeling good, eh?  Even up through the Magpie Hall Lane drag and onto Southborough Lane, I was still feeling good, banging out a good rhythm and focusing on the 3:2 technique.

So in terms of times, it looked like this...

Segment times courtesy of Strava via Garmin Connect

Two things we have to take into account for the run on Oct 28 is that (i) it was a group run at a measured pace of between 9:15-9:20ish min/mile pace so it was never going to be quicker than that; and (ii) it was 8 days after the Amsterdam Marathon, so my average HR was always going to be higher than it should be for a run of that distance (based on previous experience!)

So as you can see, last night's run was 2:50 quicker and with a significantly lower average HR, which is to be expected for that pace/distance combination with (i) the beginnings of a small cold and (ii) with the little extra timber I'm carrying at the moment.

Very pleasing indeed.  It was also helpful that I remembered to have my 4pm pre-run porridge as I'm finding it awfully difficult these days to put off the hunger pangs of a late 8:30-9:00pm dinner now.

The full garmin data which takes into account the full run can be found below...

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