A relaxed tempo run

It was a wonderful morning to be out running. The sky was blue and the low-angled winter sun sparkled off the ice crystals that had formed overnight. I had awoken with a scarcely perceptible dull ache in my right calf at the site of the recent injury, but little else in the way of muscle aches or pains to remind me of yesterday’s interval session, so I decided to go ahead with my planned moderate tempo run. I settled on 5Km at half-marathon pace. After about 25 minutes of warming-up which included a few easy stride-outs, I set out along the path beside the Trent. The slight ache in my calf had disappeared during the warm-up, and troubled me no more. I covered the 5Km in 24:14 (4:51 per Km) at an average heart rate 139. In days gone by, such a run would have been of very little significance, but today it signalled that my body is coping with the gradual build up of training intensity reasonably well.

My primitive early-model Polar heart monitor does not allow me to record average rate during split intervals, but I was aware that my heart rate rose from 136 to 142 during the run, despite a fairly constant pace that I had anticipated would be comfortably below lactate threshold. This substantial rise in heart rate while running in the aerobic zone suggests that I am lacking endurance. I should not have been surprised by this as I have run only a total of 61 Km in the seven weeks since I injured my calf in mid October. My preceding aerobic base fitness was probably rather fragile as it was based on training earlier in the year that had been fairly consistent but low in intensity and only modest in volume. Unfortunately a fragile base dissipates very quickly during a lay-off. It is clear that I cannot hope to achieve any really worthwhile performances until I have re-built a sound aerobic base. Nonetheless, because I do not anticipate much opportunity for day-light running in the next few months, I will persist with my plan to focus on moderate intensity sessions during the winter and then when spring arrives, I will include long runs in the lower aerobic zone to establish a solid foundation for next summer.

I will also experiment with the use of elliptical cross training in the next few months to determine how useful it might be as an adjunct to building an aerobic base – though my experience so far is that it is far less enjoyable than running.

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One Response to “A relaxed tempo run”

  1. Ewen Says:

    That run went well! It’s good to hear the calf didn’t cause any problems – a demonstration of the value of a thorough warm-up.

    With care you can build some aerobic condition with that plan. That’s right about the rising HR during the tempo run though – if you were fully fit, you’d expect the HR to stay steady throughout (presuming you’re under lactate threshold, and the weather is cool).

    All the best for the rest of the week.

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