Continuing with the sea change in my training regimen, I hit the track again last night with the plan on doing an unknown number of miles at around 165 bpm. I almost stopped a half mile in as my stride/legs felt awkward, but worked through the tough little barrier I seem to have early in such workouts these day and ended up running 5 continuous miles at an average of around 6:12 per mile. While I never felt comfortable stride wise, I really settled in mentally and never really struggled physically. Again, there was degradation, but less than on Tuesday.
I wish that either my HR/GPS program or the website where I upload my HR/GPS data had the capability to zoom into a certain pace range for a workout. As it is almost inevitable that my runs have pace spikes up to 30 minutes/mile when I stop at traffic lights and a correspondingly wide pace scale on any graphs, it’s very hard to see variations in my pace from a 5 mile workout that fall within 20 seconds per mile. Anyway, when looking at my pace graph from last night, I could still see a slight downward slope to the right.
For now, I have no plans to pick up the intensity of these runs. Instead, I will continue with 5 to 7 mile runs at this effort until I come close to eliminating the degradation that is occurring. At the moment, I hesitate… er, refuse to consider this degradation cardiac or heart rate drift, as I associate those term with the gradual rise in heart rate associated with hour plus runs caused largely due to the onset of dehydration and electrolyte depletion, as well as general metabolic and muscle fatigue. Maybe someday I’ll be ready to train at tempo pace again, but it’s certainly not time yet.