Friday, January 15, 2010

Running Targets

A couple of months ago I ran a 10 km race and although my finishing time was close to what I had predicted, it was nothing like what I used to be able to do. "Eh," I deceived myself. "I'm not training like I did back then. I could have pushed a bit harder. Just need to build up my conditioning." Yeah right. A few weeks later, I ran four hundred metres (a quarter mile), at what for me was flat out lung-bleedingly fast. And then I looked at the stopwatch and did some math. To be fair to me, there was a slight uphill grade, but were I able to sustain that near-sprint pace for ten kilometres (6 1/4 miles) I would finish five minutes behind the thirteen years ago me. I was never awed by my speed back then. If I placed well, I thought I was lucky that the fast people were having an off day, or at another race. And I remember even back then looking at the international 10k race winners' times and realizing that I couldn't run one kilometre at their average 10k pace. And I bet even now that there are people with no particular health problems who can't run a single block at my current 10k pace. Isn't it amazing to have so much variation in one species?

Why am I being so coy about my speed? It's not that I'm ashamed or secretive about my abilities, but that there is so much variation. I recently discovered that a friend had done a 10k and the time she was proud of was a third again longer than the time I was calling slow. So I'll just let us own travel at our own speeds and be proud of our own progress.

I've already taken thirteen seconds off that quarter mile, and have to go out with a GPS to find out what distances I'm running otherwise. I should also check out a library book on some kind of proper training regime, in case alternating running as fast as I can over short distances and as well as I can over long distances while hoping the two converge doesn't represent the latest in athletic science.

And today's simulated approach featured an arrival from the east to follow the 26 DME arc for the NDB/DME RWY 13R into Whitehorse. It's tricky because there's a 15 degree turn at the beacon just 3.3 nm from the threshold so you have to make the turn and track outbound to the missed approach point. I gave myself clear night skies and saw the runway ahead of me as soon as I made the turn. I'll have to do it again with poor weather to practice my outbound ADF tracking.


Fly West said...

Hey Aviatrix,

I think its cool that you can do an intertemporal comparison of yourself to get a good idea of your current fitness level. The GPS watches available now for that kind of thing are fantastic. I am going to consider doing something similar for myself even though jogging is not my cup of tea. I think it would be cool to see if I end up in better shape when I turn 30, 40, etc.
I really enjoy reading your blog. I just wrote a post on what I'm doing for exercise so check it out if you have a sec. Cheers.

Jimmy said...

Good for you for trying to stay as fit as possible. Don't worry too much about comparing to old times or those of others. Age and physical differences are hard to account for.

Considering being a pilot is predicated on some level of health, I should be doing the same. I used to be able to run 1.5sm in 12 minutes (the old police test standard). Now I think I would stroke out just attempting it. Sad to say my only exercise consists of resistance training- lifting 12oz of beer for numerous reps...

Traveller said...

It can be humbling to compare our current selves against a younger self. One of my long term goals is to match myself when I first entered the service (on the order of a quarter century ago).

You might want to check out Hal Higdon's website, He has various training programs for different distance races. He also has programs that are good when not aiming at a specific event. Finally, you might benefit from his book, Run Fast.

I'm definitely in the "also ran" category currently. My last two races were 10K and took me over an hour each.

All that said, a good approach would include alternating easy and hard days with at least a day of rest and a day with a longer, slow, run. I'm currently easy MWF, Hard TTh, rest Sa, and long Su.

Good Luck!

Rhonda said...

I unintentionally took a break from running for a few months too many and ended up getting a stitch in my side after 5 minutes on my first run after the break, just over a week ago.

But I am targeting a 10k race in May, and beating last year's time would be good.

Also, I agree on the GPS watches. The one I have also has a feature where it beeps at you if you're going too slow (or too fast, for rest periods) compared to the workout program you selected. I sometimes use that because I can easily get into a comfortable pace which doesn't really challenge me but I can keep up for the full 10k with no problems. Handy to know that pace, but not useful for improving my time :-)

Peter said...

I did my first ever half marathon earlier this year (Toronto Waterfront). Anyway, the guy that won the marathon (2:08:32) ran at a faster pace than the guy that won the 5 km race! It was crazy!

I've found having a heart rate monitor has helped me train better. I run slow enough on my easy days and harder on my tempo days. Get one with a chest band, if you're interested.

Word Verification: rowffcni -- I have *no* idea.

John Lennerton said...

Are you sure you aren't comparing metric minutes to English minutes? I mean, 13 years is a long time. Just sayin'.

The only time I run fast is towards the bagels. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Good for you for finding such a positive way to look at your fitness over time.

I've been struggling the last couple years to remove the last minute or so to reach the 10k times I ran 20 years ago.

Maybe I should be similarly content with where I am.

BTW, don't know if Canada (or how much of it) is in these run-mapping sites, but I like and for determining training run distances.

Thanks for the blog.


Aviatrix said...

I'm going to buy one of those GPS heartrate watches today.

So far the only fly in the ointment is that with all the training I'm cycling my blood through my liver more than usual and keep having to up my warfarin dose. It's up almost 10 mg/wk from October.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago I went through this whole process of comparing myself against the young man I was. It started when my son and I were on a run together and he finished WELL ahead of me. Welcome to my world.


P.S. He didn't rub it in too much, I think he saw in my eyes that it wasn't a good day for me.

Anonymous said...

Lore of Running is the most comprehensive running book I have found. It has the detailed scientific approach that I think Aviatrix would appreciate.