Monday, March 18, 2013

Evaluating your training after a training race - Caesar Rodney Half Marathon


Here's post #3 of my Boston.com blog which will be up Tuesday morning at: http://www.boston.com/sports/marathon/blog/

The long range goal of racing the Boston Marathon makes it easy to look right past the shorter range, the time between the current date and April 15th.  Add to that what seems like a relentlessly cold and dismal winter and it’s even easier to forget about the “now”.

We now sit a month away from race day.  A lot can happen in a month.  The key is to make the best use out of that month so that you can reach your goal.  Take a look at where you are right now and what you need to do to help get you there.

On Sunday I had a great opportunity to see where I’m at, evaluate it and maximize my time over the next four weeks.  I raced the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in Delaware and while the weather was much chillier than I’m hoping for at Boston the course was a true test with downhill and flat miles early on transitioning to uphills and downhills in the latter miles. 

I’ve run this race several times before as a build up to Boston, so it gives me a good measurement of my current fitness.  I finished within 20 seconds of my last two finish times which, both of which ended up being my two fastest times at Boston.  I ran a very consistent race and although I was tired I could have run more at that same pace, I just didn’t seem to have the speed to go faster.  I was very encouraged by the outcome of the race. 

I also wore my Polar watch and heart rate monitor which was the first time I’ve gotten heart rate data during a race in quite a while.   I didn’t look at the heart rate data while running, but it was interesting to look at after the race.  The watch provides a “summary” at the end of each activity and as I finished the race it said “Maximum training effort”!  Below is a screen shot of the data from www.polarpersonaltrainer.com.  When I initially set up the watch I input my resting heart rate, weight and maximum heart rate and the watch then calculates your zones and plots them on a graph of the race data.  The data confirms that my threshold pace and heart rate are right in line with the value’s which I’ve been basing my training on (6:00 per mile as threshold pace and 160-165 as my threshold heart rate).

Now that I know that everything appears to be on track for my goal finish time I can work on a few things that I feel I’m lacking over these next four weeks.  I’d like to get some leg strength for climbing (a weakness in Sunday’s race) so I’ll work some hill running (up and down) into one or two of my weekly runs.  I also need to get some speed into my legs, especially as they fatigue which I’ll accomplish in one of two ways, some “pick ups” at the end of my middle distance runs (this will train the tired legs to move faster) and by incorporating some short track efforts (200 meters & 400 meters) after running some miles at my goal pace.

I hope everyone’s training is going well and I hope that Mother Nature gets that memo from the Groundhog!

1 comment:

  1. It's really interesting to see data from Polar's training site (I use Garmin) - looks like a pretty nice system! Do you find that if you look at your heart rate during a race it affects your mental race? I have trouble with seeing a number that is maybe higher than I would have expected, and pulling back on my pace even though I feel good. I guess I'm worried I'll run out of steam!

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