So yesterday was my youngest son's school sports day (undokai). His last for primary school, which makes it a bit of a landmark for us. No more family picnics at undokais for us. A bit sad really.
I got home about 4:00 in the afternoon and prepared to head out for my run. I noted that the new pain in my hip that had popped up after Saturday' long run had receded and that, in fact, I felt pretty good. If you are in marathon training and the body is feeling good, there must be something wrong, so I knew there was only one thing to do: punish it! ha ha, no not really, but I did set out to run a decent aerobic pace for 10 km or so. It is an unusual time of day to run for me, so I wasn't sure what course to do. Then I thought about the Maffetone heart rate formula and fitness test that I had read a couple of days before. So I headed to my old stomping ground of Komazawa Park with the resolve to not let my heart rate go above 143 (180-43+5) (I know, that is 142, but I just had to add another beat). Then, once in the park, I would run right at the 143 limit for three laps and record the time, a bit like the MAF test in the Maffetone article. So that's what I did. The three 2.15-km laps were 9:36 (4:28 min/km), 9:44 (4:32), and 9:46 (4:33).
With the conditions being so mild, once I'd got well into the run my heart rate was not drifting much, though the MAF test is for more like five repeated miles on a flat track. Maybe I should do that test one Wednesday per month, every month. The only problem I see with his article is that if you do these kind of cardiac drift tests, the weather has a profound influence on the results. A lot of us who have been building over summer for our autumn marathons have probably not felt much progress because the hot, humid weather makes it hard to see any improvements. But we get this rapid improvement in conditions and, poof, our watches suddenly tell us we are much fitter than we thought. So I'm not sure how you use a regular testing mechanism like Maffetone's in a climate like Japan where you cannot get consistent conditions for more than a couple of months.
Anyway, I ended up with 14 km for the run and 98 km for the week. Quite a relief after the wobble on Thursday and Friday. The time for the 14 km was 1:06:41. As good as a lot of runs lately where the heart rate was more like 149 or 150 for a large part of the run. A large part of this is weather, but it is also good to see that a modest heart rate now does return decent pace. So I think I'll continue with this sort of heart rate and added distance over the next month and hope to see further improvement in my pace at the maximum aerobic heart rate.
I also got out for a very easy 6 km this morning -- 34 minutes, average heart rate of 120 (65%)!