So this was a pretty good week - I'm definitely feeling fitter and fitter. Friday's tempo was faster than I expected it to be, and Sunday's long run/workout was MUCH faster than I had expected.
To be honest, the Sunday workout of 4, 3, 2, and 1 mile intervals with 1 mile recovery was supposed to be at marathon effort, but my actual effort was a bit harder than what I could sustain for 20+ miles right now (I also kicked during the final mile repeat, but that's allowed if you're feeling good).
When I saw the splits, I worried that perhaps I had left my race out in a training run. But it really doesn't feel that way - it was a hard workout (as it should be), but I didn't go to the well, and I've done this workout at a slower pace at other times and felt worse during it.
One conclusion, based on how I felt this week and during the long run, is that perhaps I am better off on lower mileage and less long runs. I was concerned about Sunday's run going into it - over 16 miles seems like a long way when you've only done one run longer than 12 miles in the past 8 weeks. And yet the distance was an absolute total non-issue, and my pace just got faster as the workout continued. I think I just need to recognize that my strength is my strong point and to trust that I don't need to focus on that much, instead prioritizing recovery and speed. But it's hard to resist the more-mileage-is-always-better mindset, especially when that has worked for so very many others.
Or as I noted to my coach, "perhaps I don't need many long runs or a lot of mileage." (He gave me a well-earned side-eye and noted he'd been saying that for years).
|Charts from Sunday's long run.|
This is a big graphic, so I shrunk it.
You can click on it to see it full size.
I've only run with it three times so far, so I'm just starting to get a feel for the data. It is interesting, though I'm not sure how useful it is. The thing about running (and life) is that we assume that if we can measure something, we can gain useful knowledge from it, and improvements will be measured in the metric. I'm not sure that's always the case.
Garmin claims that a more even "ground contact time balance" (GCT balance) is better, and also that a lower "vertical ratio" is better. Both of these make some sense to me - the first more than the second. But it also "makes sense" to train for marathons with 26+ mile long runs, so I resist placing all my analytical eggs in the sense basket. I'm somewhat skeptical of the value of this data.
But it is fun to look at. And after three runs - a tempo, an easy run, and the 4-3-2-1 long run, a few things do stand out. First, I'm unbalanced - my right foot generally spends a bit longer on the ground than my left. This isn't surprising, given my injury history, and the fact that my left leg tends to be nervy and weaker.
More interesting, though, is the fact that I'm apparently "better" at running when I run faster. Looking at Sunday's long run, my vertical ratio is consistently orange (not good, according to Garmin) when I run slower, and green (good) when I run faster. My GCT balance also improves slightly at faster speeds, though not as notably. It's also worth noting that my GCT balance was worst on Saturday's easy run, and much better on Sunday.
(my heart rate, stride length, and cadence also all increased with the hard parts, and dropped with the easy, but that's not surprising at all.)
I don't know what to do with this information, other than waste time staring at it. But it sure beats what's on television these days.