Ugly (Yet Effective)!

Wasn't last night fun? OK, it was great to get the workout in and even better to be done. It was fantastic to have so many join in at the track for this workout.

I did my 8 x half mile repeats on the road this morning using my Polar RC3 and have linked my workout file for your amusement.  The reason I am posting this workout is to make a few points about quality sessions in the heat which should make some of you feel better about the work you did last night.  It is not because my workout was fast or pretty.

A few comments about my workout file and then I will discuss generalities that apply to all of us.  I warmed up for 3 miles and then did 4 x 100 meter striders.  That is the part that looks like an ecg before I started the repeats.  I began running at about 8:40 am and finished close to 10 am.  It was plenty warm and very humid.  Today was a rare time I was looking for a headwind for cooling.

I did miss the split button after my 1st recovery so the first recovery and second half mile are lumped together. At my current fitness under good conditions I would have expected to average around 2:55 with a few a little faster and hopefully nothing over 3:00 at 85% and 90 second recovery jog.  As the workout slid downhill I wondered if I went a mile could I run the same pace I was for halves.  I decided to try and combined my 5th and 6th halves into a mile.  As you can see from the file it was a successful experiment.  After returning to the halves the splits continued to slide for the last 2 half mile repeats.

Here are some conclusions we can draw from doing this workout in the heat.

You will get slower as the run progresses.  Good pacing and attention to effort will only keep the fastest and slowest closer together.

With significant heat and humidity the hard effort is harder but the big deal is the recovery is much slower to occur and with each interval less recovery is happening.  That is why I could run a mile at the same pace as the half miles.

Heart rates will be elevated due to dehydration and the resulting blood volume loss requires the heart to pump harder to deliver oxygen.  HR is a great tool but in these conditions I had to temper it with perceived exertion, muscular tension, and aerobic pressure.  This resulted in giving myself 5 extra beats for the first half to 2/3rd s of the workout and 10 towards the end.

Faith and common sense are important (in running and life!).  Have faith that when the weather breaks you will feel a jump in fitness.   Apply common sense when you feel like you are working hard and the watch is not rewarding you.

Your body responds to effort not splits.  This one might have been ugly, it was for me, but with proper recovery it will make you better.  Ugly, yet effective!

Writers note:  What a difference some acclimatization and more reasonable temperatures and humidity make.  Today (8/17/13) I ran 20 miles at 7:04/M and my last half mile repeat on this workout was at 7:02/M pace!