Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Performance Enhancing Weather

Whether a training run qualifies as a PR is debatable.  Does it count or does it need to occur during a race? Either way my recent effort gives me a high level of confidence that I can handle increasingly longer distances at high intensity injury free.  This year I have had some trouble recovering from such efforts of this distance but have since changed my form and feel strengthened from earlier in the year.  Being a glass runner is not much fun.

The past weekend featured what can only be described as performance enhancing weather.  No energy was lost to regulating body temperature up or down.  Friday I set out for a long run that resulted in a half marathon PR on the South Shore half marathon course.  It was the realization of an effort I have long been capable of but never did achieve because of weather, injury, and other training priorities.
Sunday at the track

I set out in the evening as the sun was rapidly sinking into the horizon.  I find the transition from day to night particularly enjoyable to run during.  The clear skies quickly cooled the air in the absence of the sun.  The air was refreshing and easy to breathe though my hands and arms were cold from choosing to wear shorts and a short sleeve tech shirt.  I ran through patches of breezy cold punctuated by warmth where the trees managed to trap heat.  At this point in the year it is probably safer to overdress for the temperature.  I was surprised by the relative ease in maintaining my pace through to the end.

Cadence courtesy of my newest toy the foot pod.  Cadence remained fairly constant (89 avg as counted per right foot strike) for the entirety of the run.  The initial elevated heart rate is from the cold.  Half marathon time was 1:30:37.  
There were no bugs the entirety of the course.  At the end of the run I did not look like a car’s windshield at the end of a road trip.  I could only complain about the beating my feet took in my zero drop minimalist Merrill trail gloves.  The Inov f-Lite 195s I have been running in feature 3mm of heel to forefoot differential and I could definitely feel the extra calf stretch from the zero drop.  
I rounded out the weekend with a 50 mile scenic bike tour of Milwaukee’s Oak Leaf trail on Saturday and a trip to the track Sunday.  I biked to the track at a leisurely pace, knocked out a mile warm-up and ran a mile for time.  I find this short but intense effort is a great micro example of a longer race and the intelligent pacing required.  Each of the four laps has a different flavor requiring a mix of restraint and all out effort.  Monday I did mile intervals.  This is in contrast to previous half marathon efforts that left me skipping runs and needing  longer to recover.

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