Just shy of a 25-mile week and all outdoors! There’s a certain joy to running in the fresh air again. Although, there are many pains and struggles that have accompanied it. The week was all about trying to run by heart rate targets alone and nothing else. Three decent distance runs and three separate indicators of different things to describe where I currently am.
Trying to keep my heart rate below 140bpm proved almost impossible. At least outside of all but downhill and early stages of a run. As such, I set the more reasonable target of 150bpm for the entire run. Sadly indicator #1 tells me that there’s no way my current cardio fitness will allow this target to be met. As much as I tried, even very much off-pace, staying below 150bpm just isn’t possible right now. However, there is a form of a silver lining. My average HR for the 10-miler on Sunday was below 150bpm. Also, my ‘time in zones’ recorded no Zone 5 activity for the first time in a while.
Indicator #2 is pace. Keeping the HR below 150bpm is one problem but while trying to do it I’ve dropped ~45seconds/mile and I’m still not there. There are a number of things influencing this. A major one is lack of strength. A huge amount of muscle atrophy over the last 7/8 months due to the cessation of any proper training (or any at all some weeks!) has led to a barebones chassis looking for gains. That will come with time and strength gains will both improve pace and drop HR in tandem.
Indicator #3 is the comforting ending to the story – I just ran a 10-miler on the road this weekend. I also ran it at a sensible recovery run pace (despite being far from a recovery run). That feels good. Only a few weeks back did I manage to hit 10 miles on the treadmill, my longest run in months and now I’ve managed it outdoors with hills and everything else that makes it harder. I’m pretty happy knowing that. It’s just one run and while my cardio fitness is rebuilding itself, I’m not so bad that I can’t run this distance. There are silver linings. Onwards!