I was back into training after a week of downtime following the Thames Path. With the 100km de la Somme less than two weeks away, I’m not going to be spending a lot of time pushing hard in the lead up to the start line. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on maintaining my form from the Thames Path run, keeping the fitness level up, and not getting injured. Shorter efforts – 10 to 15 kilometers or so – and keeping an eye on my pace will be the name of the game.
This morning was the first of those maintenance runs. I set out to do a 10K and keep things nice and easy as I did – yet I ran into an issue that, while I knew would hit sometime, hit harder than I thought it would.
Here’s how it happened…
I set off from home and headed up the Rue de Republique towards the Opera House. I ducked around the bottom of the Pentes, under the bridge, and then crossed over the Rhone to drop down onto the trail pointed in the direction of the Parc de la Tete D’Or. I was running what were really reasonable 5:00 to 5:10 splits. What I didn’t realize immediately, though, was how hard I was actually working to hit these splits.
I wasn’t breathing hard, or at least I didn’t feel I was breathing hard, but my heart was racing. And when I say “racing”, I mean it. My average for the run was 175 beats per minute and I topped out at 193 beats per minute around the 8km mark. This is WAY too hard to be running even if I was averaging under a 5:20 pace. To put it in perspective, on the Thames Path and on a slow Lyon Running Club group run I am sitting on less than 140 beats per minute. Hence, even if I felt like the run was a little rough, my heart was racing.
After a quick turnaround at the entrance to the Parc de la Feyssine, I crossed over the footbridge to Saint Clair and then headed back towards home. As I got to the bottom of the Croix Rousse, I went up a short flight of stairs, took a breather, and then headed back down and turned for home. Back past the Opera House, down to Terreaux, then down towards Bellecour before taking a u-turn to finish where I had started at Jacobins.
Even if it was only 10 kilometers I was feeling more tired than usual. While I expected the heart rate to be elevated, the data that the Garmin returned was a little shocking.
So what explains it? I think it is diet. As I mentioned in my post-Thames Path write up, one of the things that will help me go a little faster in the Saintelyon (and in the Somme) is going to be dropping a couple of kilograms to get up hills a little easier. This week, then, I have been keeping a close eye on what I am eating, cutting out a lot of carbohydrates, and making sure I am keeping hydrated. While this has worked to drop some weight – it always does and fast, and then it slows down in the weeks afterwards – it also means I don’t have the glycogen stored to allow me to bang out 5:00 splits without eating a thing on a Monday morning. The impact of diet is very real.
Still, I can always introduce the carbohydrates again in the days before the 100km de la Somme and build up a little internal supply for the day on my feet. In the meantime, though, I’ll just have to take it a little easier when I’m leaving the house in the morning for a run. With nothing to prove in the next ten days besides just keeping things in motion, taking it a little easier would seem to be the best bet I can make.