This week’s running – 23rd to 29th of May 2016


Pulse racing because you’re happy to see me, or have you just been for a run?

Week 3 of the 22 week marathon schedule.

8 miles with 4 at marathon pace

Without going through my training logs, I think this must have been the longest stretch of marathon paced running outside of a race environment.

Proving how infrequently I run at such an effort level, the feel was most peculiar to me, yet if somebody had asked me to go faster, I definitely would have been able to oblige the request. Target pace was 6:47 per mile and I pretty much nailed it with the splits below whilst also contending with strong winds:

  1. 6:50
  2. 6:46
  3. 6:47
  4. 6:47

Here’s the Strava data for this run – it won’t be a precise match to what my Garmin recorded, due to Strava interpreting pace and distance data in a slightly different manner to Garmin’s approach.

5 miles from work

Just a humble recovery run from the city centre with no pace targets at all, apart from trying to reach Cannon Hill Park before the Race for Life shenanigans kicked off.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

More data? Yes please!

I signed up to Strava’s premium service on the promise of access to additional data and metrics. Whilst it gave me different views of my splits and lap data, heart rate data unlocks even more to scrutinise and pore over.

So, I busted out the heart rate monitor in a bid to satisfy my inner-analyst. Easier said than done! The older style Garmin strap has historically cut my chest to pieces due to a poor design; the combination of materials used and movement of the upper torso make for the perfect storm that is chafing. Comfort is the primary reason why wrist-based optical heart rate monitors have become so popular, though the technology is still reasonably immature compared to the decades old chest strap technology.

Smothering the strap in Vaseline has failed in the past, so I picked up some Body Glide as per a friend’s recommendation. It passed the chafe test with flying colours; unlike Vaseline, it doesn’t wipe off or disintegrate without the use of soap. Body Glide should also come in handy when I begin using my Camelbak again on my longest marathon training runs throughout the summer.

I still wasn’t finished, though. Using Body Glide was only prevention rather than cure and some research pointed me in the direction of swapping the Garmin produced strap out for one from Polar instead. The actual heart monitor unit (the older Garmin ones, at least) simply unclip from the Garmin strap and can then be attached to the Polar version with just some slight modifications using a sharp knife to trim off some excess rubber (be very careful, I managed to cut myself…) The Polar strap design is leagues ahead of the Garmin version due to its much softer and thinner fabric. It completely eradicated the chaffing and also had the welcome addition of producing a more stable heart rate without spikes at the beginning of each test run.

Beyond mulling over the data after a run, I won’t proactively use heart rate data to dictate how fast or long a run goes unless I’m feeling particularly ropey in some unexpected way.

10 miles from work

I was feeling pretty tired by Thursday and my mind began drifting to thoughts of how I was going to manage a 14 mile run in the middle of the week after work in the not too distant future as part of my marathon training schedule.

With the weather in good shape, there were plenty of people using the canal towpaths, especially between Brindley Place and Selly Oak. Thankfully, I didn’t find myself in any situations to make my blood boil!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

I was dead cert I wanted to hold steady at Cannon Hill on Saturday, given the increased mileage of the week and the warmer climes that I’d been through.

Dave paved the way for much of the run and I found myself drafting behind him for large portions of the course. I eventually crossed the line for 19:18, not feeling too worked at all with a heart rate of 168bpm average/82% of max heart rate.

With Cannon Hill cancelled on the 4th of June, I’ll be found over at Arrow Valley for a bit of Parkrun tourism.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

13 miles – to Brindley Place and back

Damn, did this run kick my arse. It was especially warm outside with zero cloud cover and my legs certainly lacked that bounce, not helped by running downhill on Fordhouse Lane to shred my quads.

Whilst I could have continued on to make up the distance to 14 miles, I really couldn’t find anything to call upon and called it quits at my front door for some 13.5 miles ultimately, and just shy of 45 miles for the week.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.



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