Last night I joined the Namban Rengo monthly 5 km time trial to conduct, for the third month in a row, a tempo-pace evaluation run. I start out at roughly about 5k race pace, maybe a tiny bit slower, but when my heart rate hits 165, as it inevitably will at this pace, I hold it there rather than allow it to continue creeping up as it would if I was actually racing.
The good news is that I did much better than last month; the bad news is I did about the same as I did in June.
The weather was not a factor. In fact all three tests have fortuitously been run at 24 or 25 degrees. We can probably dismiss the July result because I really wasn't feeling great that night and this was, I think, a precursor to the minor health problems I subsequently had.
At first it looks like I am in the same place now as I was two months ago. So let's look in more detail at the June and August data.
I ran faster at the start in June and slower at the finish, 1:28 for the first lap, 1:37 for the last, and took only four laps to hit HR165 average for the lap. I was also having difficulty keeping my heart rate down to 165 in the last full lap.
Last night it was 1:31 for the first lap and 1:34 for the last. I took six laps to hit HR165, and every lap from six to "13" was bang on 165 average HR except the eighth, which was 164.
I do think that I finished feeling more comfortable last night and in fact just clicked my watch at 5 km and kept running, albeit slower, to add another 5 km at upper aerobic heart rate to complete the night's work (I had done an easy 6 km before the time trial).
So, while the data are not totally convincing, and maybe I need a more taxing kind of evaluation run to bear out the improvements in stamina more clearly, I do think that there are signs of improvement. Phew, otherwise I might have started to lose motivation like my old mate Ingo.