Monday, November 24, 2014

4 Weeks, 2 PRs

I run for me, but it doesn't hurt to knock down a few personal bests along the way.

In four weeks, I set two new personal records. On October 19, I ran the St Louis RNR half-marathon in a time of 1:32. Broke a 14 year personal best! Then last weekend, on November 15, I ran the Tunnel Hill 50 mile trail race in a time of 9:04. Another personal best, but this one was only 2 years old. I'm very happy. These were two very different distances on different courses and I crushed them both. Even more encouraging, I think I could have run better in both events. I hope to break both of these fresh PRs with new ones next year.

Why the better performances? I did a lot of basic aerobic running this spring, summer, and fall. Maffetone style low-HR training was my bread and butter. I started to add a weekly tempo run (3 miles at tempo HR) to my training and that helped to increase my speed. The last few weeks before the half-marathon, I changed the tempo run to 1-mile repeats in a last ditch effort to instill speed into my legs. I think it worked. I knew exactly what tempo pace felt like. I knew, within a beat or two, what heart rate caused me to begin breathing hard. In the half-marathon race, I stayed right below that threshold. In the 50 miler, I stayed well in the aerobic zone from start to finish. With age, I'm training wiser and racing with more discipline. I like my future.

What's next for this old ultra runner? Right now, I'm registered for the Clinton Lake 30-Mile trail race (March 28) and the Illinois Marathon (April 25). I plan on PRs in both races. And the Illinois Marathon should be my Boston Qualifier! Can't wait for 2015. Many personal records will fall...and I'll finally hit that 100 ultra/marathon mark. It's going to be a great year.


David Failing said...

I've been reading over a lot of your older posts re: Maffetone style training, and considering trying this approach to get me trained for my first 50 miler in May. I have toyed with working based off of heart rate reserve in the past, but always gave up. Spending time on the treadmill in the cold months seems ripe for jumping into HR training again. I'm curious - do you know if Maffetone's "injured" group would include a rolled ankle on the trail, about a month ago? I know he says when in doubt, go with the lower HR, but I hesitate to go too low and not see improvement rapidly enough to hold my interest. As it stands, the 180 formula would put me at 180 - 29 = 151 bpm, or another 5 down to 146bpm for a recent "injury."

What nature of improvement do you think I could expect to see in the first few weeks and months of base building, doing most of my runs at MEP? (say, 3/week at MEP with the long run bordering MEP/SAP)

David Failing said...

Also, great work on the PRs!

Chris Ⓥ said...


I don't think a rolled ankle counts as a running injury for Maffetone's program. It could be considered a stress on the body, but I would not count it as a variable that calls for a further reduced HR.

Be patient with the MAF stuff. It takes weeks and months to REALLY show a difference. You should see some improvement within 2-4 weeks.