As my 100 day running streak draws to a close, I have been thinking of what I want to do next. Because I bought the MEC 2016 Race Series entry and have an entire year of racing already laid out for me, I decided to simply jump into the Garmin Connect plan I selected to prepare for Race #1 of the series, a 10 miler in April. (Sunday's race was technically Race #0. The organizers must have an IT background.)
Since there was no 10 mile training plan available, I chose a half marathon plan. A little bit of over-distance training in the first part of the year can't hurt, especially since the training is time- and heart rate-based and I will be running in the snow for most of the lead up. Just yesterday the race organizers moved up the race by one week, but I am not going to adjust the schedule in GC. I believe that there is a one- or two-week taper built into the plan, and I don't think I will bother with a taper at all, not for this race. I think my "A Races" (with a proper peak and taper) this year will be the 30km trail run in the Summer and the HM or marathon in Gatineau Park on Halloween. The rest will be run like "B Races" - hard training runs for benchmarking performance and draw prizes.
It is week 3 of the plan and the first three days of this week called for an easy run, intervals and another easy run. Both easy runs were 30 minutes in Zone 2 and I managed get outside for both of them. The temperature was around 2C/3C for both of them with little wind on wet or slushy pavement. While the goals for the runs were identical, the runs themselves could not have been more different. On Monday, I set out at lunch and had a really hard time keeping my HR down in Z2. The Garmin was chirping at me constantly and I had to repeatedly force myself to slow down. The average pace was 5:53 - not bad, but not great either. The cool thing is that I got to run in shorts, which means my "run in shorts once every month streak" is intact for January and February. Yesterday, I got out just before 4:00PM to run 30 minutes (15 out and 15 back), and I had no problem at all keeping the HR in Z2. In fact, my HR dropped out of the bottom of the zone a few times, yet my average pace was 5:42/km. I can't explain it, but it is nice to see me doing runs that weren't possible 3 months ago, where my average HR would have been 30bpm higher and my pace 0:40/km slower. That's real progress.
For my interval work, I could not get away at lunch and hit the treadmill late in the evening. Since the workout in the plan would have taken roughly 40 minutes, I selected the most challenging 40 minute workout on the treadmill. It was a great workout: grades of up to 10% and speeds up to 6:11/mile (3:51/km). I will definitely be doing that one again. I used my footpod to measure the distance on the Garmin and it was way off from the treadmill. I wish there was a good way to determine which one is accurate. I'm inclined to use the readings on the treadmill.