Sunday, November 26, 2006

89 seconds

I've just finished my first Interclub 3000 metre race for the season. I ran about what I expected – 13:28.37. It was a pretty lonely run. I started in last place and had this position well and truly secured after less than 100 metres! I was lapped by the entire field and twice by the leaders. The winner was Kale Symons, an under-20 Victorian who ran 9:05.

I need to find 89 seconds before March if I'm to run under 12 minutes for 3000 metres. I've taken a few positives from the race. These are simple facts to remind me what happened, as I hate making excuses... It was a warm and windy day, so conditions were less than ideal. I didn't bother with light shoes, so there's a bit of time there. I only started speedwork this week. I ran for 1 hour 46 minutes yesterday morning which I wouldn't normally do the day before a race.

In the comments on my last post, Tesso asked about my best 1k time. I rarely raced 1000m, so my good 1k times were run in training. 1000 metre repeats on the track were a common session we ran in the late 80s and early 90s. I can remember running 3:06 during a set of 3 x 1000m. On November 8, 1990 I was training with Speedygeoff's group on the 400m grass track at Bruce Tafe College (now Raiders HQ). I wrote in the diary: "4 x 1000m in 3:10, 3:16, 3:09, 3:15. 800m slow recovery jog in 5:54. Steady, felt good, chasing Robert Ey. Cooler, track good." If I can do a similar session, with 45 seconds added to the times, I'll be confident of achieving the 3000m goal.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

How did I do that?

The running has been going well since I last blogged. No mooing at all from the calf, which has been a great boost for the confidence. I've managed two Saturday long runs with Steve's very sociable 6' group – 18.2 and 18.7k. In the first, I used the 2P 'distance extender' to good effect. In the second, I struggled on Mt Majura and Trent's Hill, but didn't mind as it was simply the most perfect morning for running.

On Thursday I did another 'Slow Race Test' for a slightly better result than the previous week – 16:51 for 3000m. I received an SMS from an excited Luckylegs yesterday morning after her good 1500 metre time trial. This news, and watching competition at ACT Interclub on Saturday afternoon, has inspired me to soon resume track racing.

I looked through my training diary from 1987. This was the year I ran regular track races on Thursday evenings at Hensley Athletic Field. I started on March 19 with a 3000m in 10:27. Thereafter, I had a goal of running under 10 minutes. The 3000s were held approximately every second week and my times progressed like this: 10:18, 10:16, 10:09, 10:15 and 9:56.5 on 11 June (which remains my 3k PB).

Training diaries from two decades ago can be quite sobering. I look at the sessions and wonder how I did them. I have the same wonder at times when watching the athletes who train at Calwell - especially the very young and 'slightly older' ones. The week of my 3000m PB went like this:
Sunday - 14k, first 10k a race in 37:12. Monday - 4x90m ave 13.7 + 2x200m ave 27.9. Tuesday - 15k at Lane Cove Park including 9.7 to top gate and back in 42:09. Wednesday - 7k easy jog through Chatswood west. Thursday - 3000m race in 9:56.5 (3:17, 3:23, 3:16.5). Friday - Lane Cove Park 9.7k easy in 43:45. Saturday - 5k including 5x300m Chatswood grass track, average 50.8.

These days I don't even contemplate training like that. It does however, reinforce the need for some 'speedwork' as well as some 'good' aerobic running if I'm ever to get near my current goal of running under 12:00 for 3000 metres.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Slow Race Test

I'm excited! Since my 'gift run' on October 21, the renegade calf has been well behaved. Some readers, such as 2P, DJ and Tesso might even suggest it has been corralled. Last week I ran 42 kilometres, a rule-breaking increase in volume of 35% over the previous week.

Reading the blogs of Robert Song and Steve L has given me an idea for a fitness test. I'm calling it the 'Slow Race Test'. My usual way of testing fitness is to run as fast as possible in a 3 to 5k race. My Slow Race Test is to run a set distance (I've decided on 3000 metres) at a set average heart-rate and time how long it takes to complete the distance.

I've chosen a heart-rate of 138, which for me, is about 84% of my 165 maximum. It's easy, controllable running for speed and heart-rate. If you decided to try it, you'll need a flat course and 'normal' weather with no wind. It takes me 400 metres or so to gradually accelerate the heart-rate up to 138.

I did this test on October 12 for a 3000m time of 18:16. I repeated the test today in 16:57, which shows an improvement in cardiovascular fitness. I think it's a useful test, as it can be done at any time during the week (even on an easy day) and is less stressful than racing. Eventually I want to do the test during the week of a 'fast race' (if that ever happens), so I'll have an SRT time that indicates possible good racing form.