Sunday, February 19, 2012

Racing 10,000 metres on the track

I'm not sure what it is, but there's something uniquely difficult about racing 25 laps of a 400 metre track. The ACT 10k Championships were held on Thursday evening. Although not my goal distance (that remains the 5k), I hoped to 'do well' and perhaps run close to my M50 PB of 44:54.57. Prior to the race I thought I was in good enough shape to do this, but it was not to be. My taper went okay (although in retrospect, perhaps it wasn't long enough) — I ran an easy 12.5k with the Speedygeese on Monday, an equally easy (and great feeling) 4k tempo run in the Summer Series on Tuesday, then a light 5k jog on Wednesday.

On Thursday I lined up with 28 other runners, all with the same goal: to run 25 laps of the track as fast as we could. Initially I followed Burkie, as his even-pacing is legendary and I thought he'd run around 45 minutes. Pete was running just behind, with Kelley and Mick ahead, while the fast-starting Bronwyn ran with Craig — these two quickly splitting away from our group. Following Burkie, I ran through the first k in 4:28 and the second in 4:28. Perfect! Or so I thought. I started losing contact with Burkie as we ran up the back straight to the 3k mark. 4:37 for that k — markedly slower. The rest of the race was pretty much a grind. Pete overtook just before the 5k mark (23:11) and ran a negative split, finishing in 45:59. I continued to fade, running the second half in 24:36, for a finish time of 47:46.96. Burkie finished just behind Pete in 46:07.

My average heart-rate for the race was 147 and it was lower in the second half than the first, which is unusual for a track race. For the same race in 2010 I ran 45:57 at an average heart-rate of 153. I'm slightly confused about this. I suspect my legs weren't fresh enough on Thursday evening to run at a speed that would have pushed my HR into a higher zone. Between now and my goal 5000 on 29 March I'll be running 'training' races pretty much weekly. I may turn some of those into extended training sessions as suggested by Sling in the comments on my last post.

HR data shows a poor second 5kHR data shows I couldn't maintain the effort beyond 3k


Blogger Janene said...

That drop in HR is very odd indeed. I would have thought all that humidity would have sent the HR up as the body worked hard to keep cool. It looked tough going out there and most people did slower times due to the humidity. Has the Brisbane climate followed me south??!! It will be interested to see how your new post-race training goes. Here's hoping for much better running conditions in the 5000m on March 29!

6:18 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

With your HR lower in the second half I'd agree that your legs must have suffered - unless you decided to take it easy.

I remember running a slightly longer race (100k) and seeing my HR (and pace) drop noticeably during the second half as I had less muscles to recruit.

7:39 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

"Slightly longer"...yes, I would say so.

I think the strange thing is that you started fading in the 3rd k. It seems that for whatever reason, you just weren't ready to run a good 10k.

And I agree, 10k on the track is terrible. I did it twice, and that was enough!

9:05 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Janene, if the Brisbane climate has followed you south, we're sending you back north ASAP ;-) Surely the weather on March 29 has to be better.

Grellan, pretty sure the legs didn't come to the party. One thing though, I find it difficult to push to the nth degree in a long race once I realise the goal is a lost cause.

Bob, that's funny. Perhaps I need a few ultras under the belt to make a 10,000 feel short. Yes, perhaps I wasn't ready. Running the first kms at 4:36 pace may have helped - that and more favourable weather.

9:53 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

The races on the track are always difficult because we have 25 marks to check: every 400 mt are a goal. It is also difficult to find the right pace at the start.
I am not expert in HRM but the finishing time is very good.

3:00 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Sorry to hear you didn't reach your target time, does sound like your running tired as your max HR should be pushing higher and higher during a 5k.
Whats your nutrition like?

7:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your HR was in about the right place at 3K. However in hot humid conditions it is probably best to aim a bit lower. That is easy to say in hindsight, but in the circumstances staying on the shoulder of someone who is running at around your target pace had to be a good strategy. It is noteworthy that Burkie also decreased the pace a slightly in the later stages, confirming that the conditions were not good for a 10,000m. The fact that your HR dropped once you knew you were falling behind target pace is not too surprising. The 10,000 is an exhilarating race to run when you are running well, but it is gruelling when conditions are not right.

Good luck in the 5000m on March 29th

9:37 am  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Ditto on thinking it's the legs since the HR dropped. Egads on 25 time around a track anyway. You are a strong man! :)

I totally relate to your comment about finding it hard to push when it seems like a "lost cause". However, I read of people getting second winds quite often in longer races, so maybe that's worth working on. Then again, with humid weather, there probably is no coming back.

12:24 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Stefano, that's a good point. 10,000s on the track would be easier if the track was 1k around instead of 400 metres!

Rick, my nutrition could be improved I guess. I'm yet to try the Himalayan sea salt you mentioned. I've been taking an iron supplement, because my hg/ml was low on the last blood donation.

Canute, that's right. Quite a few I spoke to mentioned the humidity. I've run 10ks in hotter conditions, but historically I struggle when it's humid (I'm a big sweater).

Flo, you'll have to do one one day. You're a strong woman. Sadly (or happily for the Bobs of running) we only get two chances each year to race a track 10k.

9:06 pm  
Blogger Andrew said...

Great you toed the line all the same. Good race!

1:32 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

hmmm ... there's always a myriad of ways to look at a less than hoped for race result ranging from seeing it as a random aberration through to doing a minute analysis of every factor that could have had the slightest impact. Intuitively I'd say that the humidity was a big factor and so too was your previous training focus being on 5km rather than 10km leading to a trailing off of performance towards the end of the first 5km and the whole of the second 5km being inferior to the first 5km. Either way, I'd suggest putting it down to a "bad night" and looking forward. You have both your goal 5km time and a good quality 10km within reach this year. Stay focussed on that :)

7:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wannabecoach said:

Yet again you ignored my instructions. I told you to use Bruce Graham as your pacer. You are not an easy person to coach.

7:58 pm  
Blogger Andrew(ajh) said...

Well done mate, I would struggle to run one lap at that pace right now, let alone 25!

10:30 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Andrew.

Thanks Liz. Good point about the 10k race distance not being my training focus. I felt a little underdone going in which isn't good for the confidence. Also, probably a combination of a bad night and suffering somewhat with the humidity.

Wannabe, yes, I'm up there with Jim White as being difficult to coach. Wish I'd followed your instructions and hung with Bruce Graham - even if I'd dropped off in the second 5k I still would have broken 40 minutes.

Andrew, I'm sure you wouldn't. I'd back you to run at least 4 laps at that pace ;-)

9:24 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Wheeewww. that's a long tie to be running in circles! Congrats on getting through a 10K on the track, something I have never done. A 5K was plenty for me way back when.

Sometimes if I'm extra tired, my HR will drop, and I can't bring it back up to what I consider a "race" effort. It sounds like everyone else already addressed this though. I'm late to the party.

3:11 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize. There's always room at the party. I watched the US indoor 3k today, which was 15 'circles' of a 200m track. And on Saturday the winner of the Stromlo 12 hour ran 120 laps of a 1k circuit! 3k is my favourite distance on the 400m track - I can count to 7 quite easily.

6:57 pm  

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