Saturday, October 15, 2016

A good Bethpage run guided by heart rate

85% maxed out
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 4.4 miles

The air felt chilly this morning, but I resisted the temptation to add an extra layer on top. That was a good move, although I do wish I'd run in shorts rather than track pants. I've had a good week of running that included spending a little time on dirt trails. Today's trail was paved, but still preferable to running on the road.

I wasn't sure if Bethpage State Park is still collecting tolls on the weekend so I headed over to Colonial Road to park. The wind made the 45° temperature feel closer to 41° and that prompted me to go out fast to generate a little heat. My second mile was slower than the first, but I settled down and had negative splits on the miles after that. My overall pace wasn't in the nine minute range, but it was better than my current average. And that pace is a significant improvement over where I was at the beginning of this month.

The section of the Bethpage trail that runs north of Haypath Road is rolling with a few noticeable hills. Those hills have roughed me up at times and I didn't enjoy them today, but they didn't slow me down at all. The weather brought out a lot of runners, many in groups, and I wondered if these people were training for fall races. I'm considering a return to racing this year, targeting a 5K that I'd do with the Runsketeers in December.

From Haypath to Washington and back
That said, my training still has a ways to go. I pushed to stay over 80% HR max throughout most of today's run and stayed between 83-86% throughout the second half. I ran the last half mile at 9:36. Perceived effort was high considering the unremarkable speed. Still, I'm pretty sure running mid-9's would have put my heart rate above 90% max a month ago and I appreciate the conditioning gains so far.

I may head to the track tomorrow to do some repeats. I'm hoping that will unlock a little more speed. My first performance improvements happened on the track earlier in the month. Perhaps these intervals will take that a little further.

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