Leaps And Bounds By The Numbers
- Lap 1 30:00 HRav 169, HRmax 176
- Lap 2 29:30 HRav 170, HRmax 174
- Lap 3 29:10 HRav 173, HRmax 179
It was at between 12 and 13km that I decided to increase the pace slightly and this is reflected in a small but noticeable increase in HR to above 170bpm. This is the point I felt like I was close to my limit. This is what many people would term the anaerobic threshold, the point at which lactate production increases above lactate removal in the exercising muscles. The point at which the burn starts to hurt.
After sitting back and comparing both races I believe they were both run well and appropriate to the race conditions. At Como Landing I think if I had of checked my HR I would have slowed down somewhat, and lost time. Running by kilometres splits at this race would have been ridiculous due to the terrain, after all my pace varied between 4:21 and 4:00/km. In this situation running on feel worked in my favour. Williamstown I found that the strong winds distorted my feel for the race, and checking my kilometre splits against heart rate made sure I was able to put in a consistent effort over the 21km. In this case I needed the HRM.
I don't favour one method over the other. I enjoy running on feel, I often have my faster races doing this, but I also have a history of blowing up early using this method. I think you can only use HR and splits if you have a consistent training base behind you from which you have developed a strong sense of feel versus heart rate. I also have to add that while I may not be able to tell exactly what pace I am doing compared to the other day, I seem to have a very good ability to compare my pace and effort inside a single run. I can run for 2-3 hours on an out and back course and finish with a deliberate 1-2 minute negative split without checking my watch.
Learn your average numbers during training, and sometimes be guided by them during a race. But remember no one won a race or smashed their personal best by limiting how fast they ran because their heart rate was high if their legs felt good.