Adam and I have been running these upper aerobic runs of 20 odd km with 14 or so at upper aerobic pace. Last night, with only 11 days to the marathon we could be excused for doing something different. But this is the run that I think has been absolutely pivotal in the training stimulus I've received over the past four weeks. So if it ain't broke...but we did chop off some distance. With warm up and cool down we ran 17.5 km in 1 hour 20. My average heart rate was 136 (73%) and maximum 158 (85%).
******** Lap (1.9 km) paces (min/km) ***********
This: 4:18, 4:09, 4:01, 4:02, 4:02
2WA: 4:14, 4:15, 4:16, 4:16, 4:17, 4:17, 4:16, 4:12, 3:57*
3WA: 4:29, 4:24, 4:21, 4:20, 4:19, 4:14, 4:09, 4:05
4WA: 4:23, 4:21, 4:20, 4:20, 4:16, 4:14, 4:12, 4:12
(WA = weeks ago)
The incredible thing was that we were still quite comfortable at those low 4:00/km paces. We were still chatting at the end of lap 2, though it was getting harder. We knuckled down a bit for the next few. But the very instructive thing is my heart rate. Note above that my maximum for the whole run was only 158. Not so long ago, this pace would have been a lactic threshold run for me, that is, a heart rate of 160 to 165. Last night, even running up a slight incline at close to 4:00/km, it never got above 158. And most of the time it was down in the low 150s. Hard but comfortable territory.
The problem for the marathon though is that although my cardiovascular system has responded so well, I am not convinced that I have the leg endurance to maintain a particularly aggressive pace. So I can't get over-excited about these numbers. All I know is that gives me the confidence to really go out after a sub three hour marathon -- 4:15 pace should feel like stroll in the park. But only time will tell. I wish the marathon was this weekend!
And again, a tip of the hat to Adam. He is looking so strong. He ran a 35-km long run last Saturday at not much slower than 3-hour pace, and says he pulled up without any real leg soreness to speak of. I think he might be one out of the box and I am probably more excited for his chances of going sub 3 on debut than I am for my own race.