Week Ending 22/03/15
Another challenging week running wise although I managed to make my MAF treadmill runs an hour or so, including a 10-20 minute warm up.
I mentioned last week that my HR monitor wasn’t working. I figured out that it was my Garmin transmitter – I had changed the batteries but it still did not register with my Garmin XT310.
Fortunately a friend of mine loaned me her Garmin HR monitor which I’ve been using without problem.
The MAF runs on Thursday and Friday were ok as far as MAF runs go, but the pace is even slower on the treadmill. Or maybe, I’m getting slower and going backwards MAF wise.
My progress was tested on Saturday it being MAF Test number 4. On Friday night after getting home, I noticed that I was feeling flu like symptoms in my throat. I couldn’t understand that as I hadn’t been thrashing myself running wise, and was feeling fine right up until Friday night. Sure a few people had been sick at work but I hadn’t been exposed to them, other than through the air conditioning. It was annoying as I had already made an appointment with my doctor on the Saturday to get a flu injection so as to avoid this situation especially as it was so close to the ultra marathon. Strangely enough, I always get worried about this time of the year before the Canberra marathon with getting a cold, so always try to get a flu shot in March and stay away from sick people. But it’s just not to be.
Sadly to say, I woke up Saturday morning with a rough feeling in my throat but I was committed to the MAF test so headed out about 7:30am to run the 8km’s after my 20 minute walking warm up.
Boy am I having a rough time MAF wise. It didn’t take long for my HR to hit 128bpm (probably about 300m). It was downhill from there. The first km took 7:34, then 7:52, 7:45, 7:42, 7:36, 7:38, 7:26 and 7:26. The pace was in reverse of what should have happened. I can only think that the onset of the flu was affecting my HR as compared to previous weeks while running in the park my pace at the same HR was significantly better. And of course, I had to walk to keep the HR down as it peaked at 135bpm. It was such a frustrating run and very discouraging. Of the 4 MAF tests that I’ve done, this one was my second worst, pace wise. My very first test was worse. Am I going backwards, well it seems that way. Which means I’m doing something wrong. Or is it the onset of the flu and maybe the pressure I’m placing myself under at work (unnecessarily I might add). Of course I’ll soldier on.
The HR is affected by so many environmental factors it seems, confirming what Phil Maffetone has stated. But how can you train at MAF without being affected by environmental factors and have a life as well? It seems to be about how well you handle stress in your life, regardless of its source. Clearly there seems to be a correlation between stress and HR.
I have found that doing my MAF run midweek week tends to result in a faster average pace. But doing a MAF run or test on a Saturday morning produces a poorer result. I’m starting to think that after a week at work, when you’re generally worn down, a MAF run reinforces that you are in fact, worn down. Maybe I should look to doing a MAF test on a different day?
Probably not now, as one thing that the MAF test needs to be is consistent from test to test. That is, same track, roughly same time of day, same day and same distance.
My ultra is in 3 weeks so Sunday’s run was not going to be a MAF run. I needed to run 30km’s at a steady but slow pace, somewhere between 6:30-7:00 min/km pace, as I haven’t done any training or race preparation for my first ultra other than the MAF training. I sort of thought that building my aerobic base over the last 3 months would have put me in a good position to run the ultra – I think I may have made a mistake in assuming that! I also wanted to track my HR over this distance at that pace so I could see how far above MAF it was. After all, the theory is that I should be able to run at my MAF HR for ages. So my thinking for the ultra was to run at MAF plus 10 bpm for 30km’s or so then forget about HR.
But it wasn’t to be. I woke at 5am and my throat was not happy. I had not recovered and even though I could have pushed myself to run, and figured that I’d be better off allowing the body to fight the flu now, rather than running and wearing my self down even further, which would take longer to repair and so much closer to race day.
So I decided to miss the run and give the body time to fight the flu – short term pain for longer term gain, I hope.
Next Sunday, I’ll run the 30km regardless. Frankly, I’ve run out of time to prepare for the ultra. I’m just hoping that the MAF training that I’ve done so far, has improved my aerobic base and efficiency, even if just a little.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say.