Lydiard underpinned all his training advice with "listen to your body". Similarly, Mike's Mystery Coach says, "don't be a slave to a heart rate monitor. Use it as a guide to see how you respond to different workouts."
Well, these words are ringing in my ears at the moment as I try to figure out what is going on with my body and how to adjust my training. The simplest analysis and solution is that I think that I might be accumulating fatigue and in need of some freshening up. Which is probably no great surprise after the last post.
This morning's upper aerobic run was a bit of a disaster. Just as in recent upper aerobic runs, I had to work really hard to get my heart rate up, and this morning I was even breathing hard. It felt like a tempo run. Then, once I did manage to get up over 147, I started feeling heavy and the pace slipped and heart rate quickly followed it down. It was just physically too hard to run at the pace required to achieve a heart rate over 147. I don't quite get it because the idea is that when you are stressed you have an elevated heart rate, and as you fatigue your heart rate stays high...in fact you have to slow to keep the heart rate at the same level. Well, I didn't have to force myself to slow, I couldn't really help it, but not with heart rate racing away either. When I slowed, through sheer inability to keep the legs moving at pace, my heart rate also fell. It was just as though my system was saying "No! we are not going to run at that pace, fella!"
Resting heart rate this morning was 41. It has varied between 39 and 43 over the past couple of weeks since I started tracking it, so there is nothing there to suggest serious over-training or anaemia or anything. Maybe it is just tired legs.
Mystery Coach talks about the need for balanced training, typified by this statement on Mike's blog today: "It is better in the conditioning phase to see 1.25 hours and 45 minutes the next day than 1.5 hours and the next day off."
Maybe I have reached a bit too far trying to hit those numbers from the Hadd document. Maybe I am just going that bit too far or bit too hard to allow enough recovery. Maybe I am just being too much of a slave to the heart rate monitor (and Hadd) and I should put it aside for a few days and just run to how I feel. If I had tried to run to a target pace today, I probably would have found it tougher than expected, perhaps slower than target. I'd put it down to some residual fatigue and have a couple of easy days before making another attempt at that pace.
So, I think that's all I can do here too. I will take tomorrow morning off and do the Hadd heart rate test and some easy distance tomorrow night. I might be forced to take Thursday off completely because of an all-day meeting in Tsukuba, and then I'll perhaps have an easy run Friday morning and then another crack at an upper aerobic run on Friday evening (to see what difference morning vs evening makes). Seems about the best way forward. Listen to your body. Is it saying have a step-back week? Probably.
But right now, Hadd's theoretical HRmarathon (160ish) versus my envisaged marathon pace (4:15/km which I am hitting at HR147 but not maintaining) just doesn't make sense at all.