Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some Good Data

For today's track workout I decided to do a "transition" type session where I'd start at a slightly faster than threshold pace and ramp down to interval pace - the vehicle for this - 800m repeats w/ 2.5-min rests.

I had done this workout before back in October in the build leading up to the winter season.  Here are the results of that session:

Rep #TimeAve HRMax HRHR- 128HR Min

The idea is to get the body prepared for the faster paces (i.e. long interval sessions) that are coming.  The post from that workout can be seen here.  BTW - HR-128 and HR-Min are the time it took for the HR to get back to 128 and the min-HR during the subsequent rest period.   

I did today's workout a couple weeks earlier in the build than last time, but knowing I'm in considerably better shape than I was in October I penciled in the target paces as follows:  2:42-2:40-2:38-2:37-2:36.  (I was leaving a 6th rep as optional depending on how the session went)

The first rep came in as planned at 2:42, but the second rep started a bit quicker and stayed that way throughout.  I hit the watch and saw a 2:36 on rep #2 and immediately said, "damn, too fast".  I didn't figure I'd be able to maintain that pace, but that's in fact what happened:   2:36-2:37-2:36.  I was quite surprised - aside from rep #1 these were all very close to long interval paces.

But a quick look at the data shows that clearly this was not long interval effort:

Rep #TimeAve HRMax HRHR- 128HR Min

In fact, the HR data is quite a bit better than the October data even though the paces here are faster.  I was again surprised to see that the HR never exceeded 168 the entire workout.  However, I will state that the last two reps felt more difficult than that HR data would suggest, but I think this is likely due to my legs being tired.  I did not expect to be hitting these paces today - if I had, I'd have made sure my legs were a little more rested coming into the workout.  Nine sub-7 minute miles yesterday on the heels of the 7-miler @ 6:44 pace the day before did not set me up well for a fast workout today, but again I wasn't expecting this workout to go as well as it did.  If I thought I'd need to go low 2:30s in order to get the HR up to 170-173 I'd have made sure the legs were rested coming in.  

Also, for comparison - here's what a 5 x 800m long interval session looked like back in December:

Rep #TimeAve HRMax HRHR- 128HR Min

The paces of reps 2-5 are about 2-seconds faster than today, but at the cost of considerably higher HRs.  

In short, today I was able to hit close to interval paces (without that ever being the intention) at HRs that were lower than what I'd expect from a transition workout.  Maybe this will kick start the motivation again - hell, after the 5th rep today I even threw in a 400m.  


Fri, 2/27:  AM  5-miles @ 6:58 pace
PM 4-miles @ 6:56 pace

Sat, 2/28:  5-miles, including 5 x 800m (2:42-2:36-2:36-2:37-2:36) plus 400m (74):  2.5-min rests


Ewen said...

That's really encouraging Mike. Nothing like great numbers such as those to kick the motivation along.

What do you put the result down to? The general improvement since last year, or something else?

Mike said...

Thanks Ewen.

I believe the difference is just me being further along as a runner. At this point, I've still only been running for about a year and a half (started in Sept '07) and 3-4 months of that I was out w/ an ITB injury. So I think this is just general improvement.

When comparing to October, I'm sure my cycle of long and short intervals has given me a boost as well.

I'm very interested to see how things progress after I go through the 6-week period of stressing long intervals which starts in mid-March. My hope is that combined w/ my soon to be upped mileage takes my general fitness to a whole new level.

If I can bang out a 5 x 800m session at 2:28 per, I'll know I'm really getting somewhere.