Trying To Pace Myself

I completed the first week of my Base Training program this morning and, I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good so far.

Today’s run was all about building aerobic endurance, with a 45 minute run at a nice easy pace somewhere between 6:45 and 7:00 minutes per kilometre.

The first two kilometres went according to plan and, on average, I managed to stay within the prescribed pace range. But once I got into the third kilometre, I found it difficult to rein it in and ended up averaging around 6:30 or 6:29 for each of the final four splits.

2014-07-12_Splits

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I do need to be careful to stay within range as I build up the distance in order to avoid overdoing it.

According to the Training Peaks performance manager, however, at this stage I’m definitely not overdoing it. In fact, I’m not making any measurable progress at all.

2014-07-12_TP-Chart
Click On The Chart To See A Larger Version

Even though my fitness is levelling off now, rather than decreasing, if I continue with the current phase of my Base Training as planned, it doesn’t look like I’m going to make any real progress in terms of fitness. Which leaves me with a dilemma.

Do I ramp things up a bit and run the risk of being too tired to complete some of my workouts later in the week? Or do I continue as planned, ignore the chart and just enjoy getting into the habit of running regularly for the next few weeks?

I know myself that the first option would be a huge risk. Running three times a week every week isn’t easy for me and I need to get better at running more frequently before I start my half marathon training; but I’m also motivated by data. I know the chart doesn’t tell the whole story, but I also know that seeing progress mapped out in this way will help me stay on track. Once that blue line starts to go up, I won’t want to see it go back down again!

So, I’ve come up with a plan that might just help. Instead of adding extra running sessions or trying to run too hard or too far too soon, I’m going to introduce some walking into my training program. Nothing quite as strenuous as my day long hikes in the earlier part of the year, but something a bit more challenging than my daily foot commute to and from work.

I’m not sure how or even if it will help, but I plan to do an hour of brisk walking tomorrow morning to see what difference it makes to the chart as well as its impact on Monday’s training run. I guess time will tell.

What training do you do other than running to help increase your fitness? Do you walk, cycle or swim? What impact does it have on the rest of your training?

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