My training plan for today called for a 15 kilometer run. Fortunately my training coach didn't prescribe the usual 15-kilometer long slow run where I would run at an easy pace. That would be so boring and tedious. My training plan was to run the middle 5 kilometers at a fast pace – 20 seconds faster than my marathon pace before reverting to an easy pace.
So the first 5 kilometers was the usual slow monotonous drudging run. The middle portion was where it got a bit challenging, if not fun. I had set my iSmoothRun app to provide me audio cues every minute so at least I would know how close or how far I was from the pace. I tried to maintain the prescribed pace but found myself running faster again. The voice coming out of my headphones told me to go faster but every time I finished the one-minute interval I discovered I was running 5 to 10 seconds faster. Maybe I should program iSmoothRun to be 5 to 10 seconds slower.
In the end, it wasn't a drop-dead exhausting run, though I did find it difficult to get my HR back to zone 2 after the fast interval portion. My “easy pace” has been somewhere between 7:45 to 8:30 but even if I ran at that pace, my HR hovered around 166.
Run stats: 15 kilometers in 1:52:54, first 5K at a 7:55 pace, second 5K in 6:34 pace, last 5K in 8:06 pace. Average HR was 134, 167, 167 respectively. I was able to maintain a good cadence throughout, averaging 91 for the whole run.
Sunday is long run day for me. Ok, so 10k isn't exactly a long run, but it is the longest run of the week. My training cycle begins next week so until then I'm taking it easy and following a formula of 30-minute runs on weekdays and reserving the weekends for LSDs i.e., long slow distance.
The challenge I have though on the LSD runs is the “slow” part. I once lamented on the difficulties in maintaining a slow pace. I'm supposed to run at a pace that is 60-70 percent of my max heart rate, the so-called Zone 2. Using last week's fast run as my gauge, I had set my max heart rate at 190. With that, calculations had shown that my Zone 2 is below 151.
So I ran the 10k nice and slow. Pacing was about 8:15 to 8:30 a kilometer, yet, towards the second half of the run, my HR was already breaching 150! I was sweating but was nowhere near tired. No fatigue at all. My legs were still ok, despite maintaining a cadence of close to 90. I was barely huffing and puffing. I could hold a conversation but would have to stop between sentences to catch my breath. I slowed down not because I was tired but because I really wanted my HR to go below 150. I finished the 10k run in about 1 hour and 24 minutes but I still had energy and could've run an extra kilometer or two.
Still I should count myself fortunate that I could run for 90 minutes and that I could cover 10 kilometers with no problems. At least I am still fit enough to do that.