I am three weeks into my HR training plan, and three weeks away my next race, a Half Marathon in Laois, so I said I'd do a quick update. I have been sticking to the plan as prescribed by Matt from Fitness Analytics, which involves two threshold runs (one short, one long), one interval run and two recovery runs.
I'll admit I am loving running 'with a purpose'. I have felt more engaged with each of my runs over the past three weeks. Yes I've had to keep an eye on the watch but I've found running without a time driven purpose has been a welcome change. Instead of going out 4/5 times a week running at the same intensity (5:00/km), I've really enjoyed using my heart rate to better understand how my running form differs on different days.
It doesn't matter how hard you push yourself, there are benefits
Weather, Mood and Energy Levels play such a huge part in effort yet I never really gave them credit before. This week (Week 3), I've really seen my times pull apart depending on the run type. For example, I ran my Interval (11km) at an average of 5:05/km while, Threshold (10km) at 5:22/km and Recovery (10km) at 5:30/km. Even having intent before I leave the house (e.g. This Interval Run is going to be tough, but its only for an hour and then I get a Recovery Run tomorrow) has been great.
The only difficulty however has been to shake the Stopwatch-Holding Monkey from my shoulder. I am very aware of the fact that I haven't hit 5:00/km yet - this is my Half Marathon Pace - a 1:45. I've three more weeks to go before the Laois Half and I'd love if I could get my time in under the Marconi time. I have to learn to trust the training and trust that it will take time (oh the irony) to work/kick in.
Also, I downloaded a great app (free) called Intervals which allows you to set an Interval Clock so you don't have to be watching your watch. I created this routine below which includes a 5 minute warm-up (Recovery Zone) and 5 minute cool-down. This stepped approach has been great so far: 3 x 1 minute, 4 x 2 minutes, 3 x 3 minutes, 4 x 2 minutes, 3 x 1 minute = 1 hour running. I am interested to see what others do when it comes to Intervals but for now, I'll stick with this.
Three weeks down, three weeks to go. Training to the beat of my heart has been a welcome change from the norm. I even clocked my first 50km week since before April's marathon last week. After the Half, I'll be 16 weeks from the Tralee Marathon and I'll create a more structured timetable. For now however, its wash rinse repeat.