I thought I'd share some of the notes (directly quoted) from my Training Peaks account over the last two weeks as I've been working on fixing this aerobic efficiency thing... It feels weird to share all of this because it's almost like publishing my personal diary, but I think this tells a great story about how much fitness can change in a very short amount of time with high frequency fairly high volume running. I ran a total of ~80 miles over a span of 11 days, and with very few exceptions at HR 140-150. Here are some of my daily notes from some of my runs:
~Kept HR 140's and was strict about this and in great news- didn't have to walk at all! Even up the hills to my house! This might be the first time I've ever 'run' up these hills while also keeping HR from going above 150.
~In good news, my body is responding really well to this aerobic running. This run this afternoon I did pretty much right off the bike and it was 25"/mile faster than the run this morning at the same HR... yay!
~Not a ton to say about this except that I kept HR <150, only had to walk a few times up hills, and had the thought that these long 'durability' days I think give me the most return on race day... As hard as it is to train for 5.5 hours in a day, I think this is the kind of thing that really helps me the most! And really, to avg <10' pace on a run this long at the end of a training day like this with HR low shows giant improvement already over last week when I couldn't run 2 miles at that HR <10' pace... So even though I'm super tired right now, I feel like we are on the right track here so it's easy to embrace the fatigue I'm feeling.
~Since I was in Kailua for the swim (where it is flat!) I figured I'd do this run on that same flat loop where I did the HR Benchmarking last week... just to see how it has changed in the last ~8 days. It's not an exact comparison b/c today was much warmer than last week (9:30-10:30AM and no cloud cover at all!). So still showing a significant slowdown though not as drastic as last week (most of the miles today were 40-50" faster than last week, so, yay).
~HR was much better controlled than it has been recently- and it didn't seem to drift much over the course of this run like it has been drifting lately. I drank a bottle of Osmo before I went then carried a bottle of Osmo and drank that, then refilled 2 more times w/ water... That seems like a lot of fluid but I think it was perfect... staying hydrated helped a ton. also, full cloud cover was nice!! It's still hot out but without the sun beating down on me it was way more comfortable. Anyway, kept HR <150 and didn't have to walk much except on a few big hills (Haiku/Heeia/Lanipo loop is quite hilly) and I slowed at the end to keep HR low but that was mostly a factor of it all being uphill. Today was one of those days where had it been a progression run I felt strong enough where I could have picked it up and run a good bit harder in the last few miles... I wasn't slogging it in just trying to finish today. yay! Left achilles is talking to me. Am taking care of it and just got done voodoo banding it- that took care of it temporarily. will stay on it.
~Headed out around 4PM for this and it was drizzling rain which was awesome. I took really good care of my calf and achilles all day so it was fine during this whole run no issues. And, this was the same route as I ran Tuesday morning but was almost a full minute faster today at the same HR (avg 144). I'm super happy with the progress I've made running this week! Physically and mentally I feel really good and I totally enjoy this game of "How fast can I run while keeping HR <150?" It's addicting b/c I see that almost every time I head out the door I run faster than the last time so it makes me want to head out all the time! :)
~Ran Ben Parker out/back which is pretty much 2 miles down then 2 miles back up. I've done this run a lot over the last 1.5 years since I've lived in this house- often by HR and rarely under 40' when I'm trying to keep HR <150... but today what I was doing was more like running vs slog/trotting and I did it in 38:02. Pretty sure that's the fastest I've run this route while also keeping HR140's. Felt good!
~Did this at ~2:30PM (~3 hours post bike finish) on the TM mostly b/c I was curious about HR drift if I controlled for temperature and hydration... so I had a big bottle of Osmo that I drank during this run and I'm sure that helped. First mile HR 130's was pretty slow like 10:20ish then 5 miles straight at HR148-150 interesting there was very little (if any?) drift going on here... super interesting to see that HR didn't drift when I was inside and not hot. At the end of this run I added in 6x20" strides with 20" straddle TM rest... started at 8:00pace for those and each one bumped up the pace by .2 so finished last one at 7' pace and felt really good. HR got up to 153 on those.
~Can definitely tell that we are making change in my fitness- today was the first time I felt like I was more limited by my legs vs my heart rate/breathing- especially on the way back. Ran aikahi out/back from 9-11ish AM... some clouds and I wouldn't say I felt super hot but I was sweating like a fountain and drank almost 5 bottles of fluid during this run (2x Osmo + 3x water). Also took gels at miles 5/9. On the way back I def felt like I had some fatigued legs and had the thought that I want/need to do more long runs until the distance is not hard anymore... come home to log this and see next weeks schedule yikes 2x long runs but yep I'm with you there... anyway, today was almost even split out in 60' and back in 61' avg HR 145 so it was more controlled than it has been for sure.
~Holy cow I feel like a completely different runner than I was 2 weeks ago. Did this in the afternoon after the core work and felt good right from the first step. Was sunny but still super windy so that helped keep me cool. Ran the same hilly loop as tuesday morning but was a full 90" faster today at the same HR. I feel like unless I'm going up a steep hill, I'm actually able to run at an effort that feels comfortable- this feels a lot less like I'm having to hold way back and more like I'm just out for a cruise run. Still have a bit of an issue on the hills but only if/when they're steep. Shallower hills no problem now. I'm super happy with the progress I'm making here. Of note though: I am aggressively managing my left calf/achilles. It's ok but only b/c I'm spending a good bit of time throughout every day being really really nice to it.
Anyway, I'm not 'done' with this process because I'm still seeing improvement just about every time I head out the door... I will caveat this with a couple of thoughts:
1) I think I respond really quickly to this type of training because I have been through the process before (and have seen great results so I truly believe in it).
2) I was super diligent about keeping HR in the right range and I didn't fudge it. Not even on days when I felt really good and wanted to just say screw it and run faster.
3) I have both the available time and the durability to handle a lot of miles. Plus, I sincerely enjoy running a lot.
4) I am a conscientious NUT about doing all the body work necessary to keep myself healthy through a lot of miles. I can pretty much guarantee that had I not pulled out every trick in the book, I'd be nursing a calf/achilles injury right now. Every day I was massaging, rolling, stretching, voodoo banding, and e-stimming my calves... and they responded by letting me continue to run. :)
In good news, I got to test myself out with a little local sprint triathlon this morning. I haven't tried to run 'fast' in a few weeks so wasn't 100% sure how it would go but I figured no matter what it would be better than 2 weeks ago, and I was right. :)