Midweek Runs

On Wednesday and Thursday I had planned runs with Jonny. Besides enjoying having a couple of runs together we wanted to check out his heart rate compared to mine. Jonny is doing the Fling in just over a week and is keen to have a go at running to heart rate. Jonny bought a new Suunto Ambit 3 with HR strap so the idea was to do 2 runs together and compare our HR. Then we could we could work out Jonny’s target HR for the Fling.  We are hoping Robert will have some input as well!! It didn’t quite go to plan ….

Wednesday – road run

We ran a very similar route to last week but we started and finished at a different school. It was a lovely afternoon and we enjoyed the run. We chatted about our HR’s as we ran and every now and then compared rates. I’m almost 10yrs older so we would expect mine to be lower.

At the end of the run my average was 129 bpm and Jonny’s was 159 but his had a large spike for 6mins or so at the start which doesn’t look right. So we (actually Steven H who commented on Strava!) thought that it was probably more like 153.  So about 24 bpm faster than mine.  What does that say about Jonny’s fitness??

Here is a comparison of our HR graphs taken from Strava ….

comparing HR

We both had a gradual increase as we must have picked up the pace a bit.

Thursday – Ben Lomond Run

Another glorious evening. My friend Cammie was joining us so we met at Drymen and went down in one car to Rowardennan. I asked a guy at the car park to take a photo of us before we set off.

04-16 ben 1

Me, Jonny & Cammie

Cammie & I were ready to go but Jonny was having trouble pairing his watch to his HR strap.  We tried all sorts of things but to no avail. It was a shame as we were keen to have another run to help compare HR’s in planning for the Fling.

After a few minutes of trying we gave up and set off. We did this run a few weeks ago in the snow, ice and wind. The difference was amazing. Blue skies and hardly any wind.  I’m glad I took my camera to capture the moment!!

04-16 ben 2

Cammie & Jonny striding up with Loch Lomond in the background

04-16 ben 3

I led the way up with Cammie and Jonny following. We reached the top in 1hr 19mins. There were 3 tourists from Germany I think who said they had taken 5hrs to walk up! They kindly took a photo of us.

04-16 ben 4

As soon as we set off Jonny and Cammie were away and I was left behind. I’m normally slower on the way down but I was even worse this time as I struggling with my shoes. I have been trying out the Hoka Mafate Speed. As soon as I tried them on a few weeks ago they rubbed my bunion on my right foot and they were uncomfortable. I wore them for our 40 mile Lakeland 100 recce and I could feel my bunion all day. I swapped to my older Hoka Stinson for the second day and it was absolutely fine as there is more room in the toe box. I was hoping they would expand a bit but knew that this run would be a good test.

On the way up it wasn’t too bad but on the way down it was putting too much pressure on my foot and it was quite uncomfortable.  Half way down Jonny waited for me as he was concerned I was taking so long! I explained the problem then I encouraged him to push on.  He waited again further down and we ran in together. In the end I took off my sock and that helped a bit.

I really do like the Hokas but I find this a bit frustrating that they have changed the width and now they don’t suit me. I could wear my Stinson’s for Saturday’s Cateran recce and the race but I don’t think they have enough life left in them to do the Lakeland 100 as well so really needed an alternative.

I’ve been wearing Sketchers for my road runs and really like them. Jonny and Dave have started using the GoUltra 2 version for off road so I decided to buy a pair today from the store in Glasgow and I’m going to try them out on my Cateran recce tomorrow.  Then if that goes well I’ll wear them for the Cateran race and hopefully the Lakeland 100. They do feel a lot more comfortable as they have a wider toe box.

GoUltra 2

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4 Responses to Midweek Runs

  1. Rick Williams says:

    Hi John. Glad to see you’ve seen the light and switched to a better shoe! The only problem is now you’ve mentioned it on your site everyone will be buying them and the price will go up!! Enjoy your Cateran run.

  2. james smith says:

    hi john,i to have had the same problem with the hoka mafate speed shoe as you, these were the first hoka shoes I have had and can,t really wear them.

  3. Shame about the Mafate’s not working any more. Fingers crossed the Sketchers will work well.

    For Johnny’s HR range for the Fling, the trace in question isn’t ideal. The errors in the first 6 minutes skew things, Steven’s suggestion of an average of 153 is likely to be decent estimate to work from. Johnny’s average is 24 higher than John’s, but isn’t a particularly important value for relative fitness, the HR drift will be though – Johnny’s HR drift looks to be higher, with the ended HR up around the high 160’s for Johnny, and around 30 higher than John’s.

    HR drift can be caused by the body heating up, or the body switching more towards fat burning, or changes in running economy. Low HR drift is ideal. One thing I noticed between my 2012 and 2014 Fling training was that my HR for a given pace on short runs changed very little, but my HR during long runs was lower in 2014 for the same pace, showing how that my HR drift was much lower – I suspect this was largely down to general aerobic improvements and in particular how this supported my fat burning capacity. I then went on to do a 1hr PB 😉

    Johnny simply doesn’t have the years of training and racing ultra’s that you, John, have, so I wouldn’t get too discouraged by it – as long as you keep training and racing fitness will improve. It takes years to build a really good aerobic base, all this untapped potential Johnny has yet to reap.

    For this years Fling future potentially doesn’t mean anything though, for now Johnny could use this HR drift observation as a hint that heat might be an issue, so make sure he doesn’t get hot during the race. Fat burning is also a important aspect he’ll want to maximize to conserve his glycogen stores. This is where pacing by HR can help – to help mange the pacing going up and downhills, as well as the longer term pacing of starting out at a pace close to what he’ll be able to finish at.

    Sp this takes us back to the HR zone topic. During the Fling Johnny will be running much slower on average than the 8min/mile test run, but running for much longer so higher HR drift, be carrying kit+food+drink, and will be affected by adrenalin. If we had a HR trace from a previous ultra Johnny had done we could factor most of this out and have a better chance of estimating an accurate HR band.

    A second best to this would a HR during a tempo run/10k pace. For instance last year I average 154bpm at the Fling, while my Lactate threshold was around 175bpm, so raced the ultra at roughly 20bpm less. I guess it might be a bit close to the Fling for Johnny to do a tempo run…

    Third best would be to see if we can use John and my race and training data to have a stab at estimating what Johnny’s HR zone might be. From my own logs I can see that last year when running a similar route to the one that Johnny and John did, with similar elevation/descent and mileage I was averaging around 8min/miles at a HR of around 152-155. Which is pretty close to where Jonnny’s HR was in the 6.6 test run, it’s also by co-incidence not far from my own Fling average HR. Could it be that an average HR of around 153/154 would be a good fit for Johnny too?

    If we look at John’s training run with the average HR of 129, and Hardmoors 55 average HR of 136, we get difference of 7bpm. If Johnny can manage the same increase relative to the training run then he may be able to achieve an average of around 160.

    Which leaves us in a bit of dilemma. What might Johnny be able to achieve in the Fling, low to mid 150’s or around 160? Until Johnny’s run a few 10hr ultras and recorded the average HR we won’t know.

    Given the higher HR drift that Johnny is seeing relative to John, I’m inclined being more conservative in the first half, so a range of say 148 to 158, aiming to spend most time in the 150 to 155 range would seem reasonable. If Johnny finds that he is feels really strong after Rowardennan then relaxing this range to 155 to 160 for the second half, and from Beinglas just choose a range that feels like it’ll get him home putting everything out on the course – this could be even be 155 to 165.

    There is even a chance that Johnny might be able to mange a 155 to 165 range all the way. We’ll know come next Saturday evening 🙂

    For myself this year I am currently thinking of aiming for a 145 to 155 range, with an average of 150. This is lower than last year, but in training my HR for a given pace has been around 10bpm lower, and I believe my lactate threshold HR has come down to around 170 as well (this is just based on one tempo run though… so could well be wrong…) So it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll be able to manage the same average HR now. During the Fling I’ll try to assess my pace, HR, strength and energy levels and adjust my target range up/down so I finish in the best time I can manage on the day.

    • Jonny Rowan says:

      Hi Robert, thanks for taking the time to look at this and give your thoughts. I like the idea of having different zones at different stages of the race depending on how well I am going. I will practice these on my last few runs this week and hopefully be in the zone for the Fling!

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