Saturday, 17 October 2015

...and back on the track

This one is on running, so if you’re a normal person, just close it and do something useful with your time.

After yesterday’s success in moving my body in a run-resembling manner, I decided it’s time for a proper track session.
So far I know about two tracks in Flagstaff. The first one is at Coconino High School, and the other one is at Northern Arizona University.
Coconino High School is much closer to my place (under 3km), so I choose this one.
I set off quite late, about 10:15am. Easy jog to get there, and the first surprise - there is a football match about to start. Between two very junior teams (boys about 10 years old). I asked some guys who looked like referees, if the track was closed, but they told me that it’s not and it’s fine to use it.
I started with a a warm up, something similar to what we do at our Paddington sessions on Tuesdays. So first 2 laps of all sorts of exercises - high knees, high heels, side-to-side, karaoke (carioca), skipping, some dynamic stretching.
Then two laps of strides - so striding the lengths, jogging the bends.
Good, already tired, sweaty and out of breath. A couple of minutes rest, and to the session.

I decided to do 15x400m reps with 200m jog in between. I find multiple shorter reps more manageable at the altitude than fewer longer ones.
The question was the pace.
It’s really tricky to judge your pace well at the altitude. It’s obvious you’re running slower than at home (provided your home is somewhere at more-less sea level. Or no more than a few hundred meters higher).
I assumed, that I’ll be probably about 20-25s/km slower here.
Let’s assume that my sea-level training paces would be:
3:20 min/km (80s/lap) for 5k paced sessions
3:30 min/km (84s/lap) for 10k paced sessions
3:40 min/km (88s/lap) for LT sessions
Initially I was thinking, that I’ll go for something at around 10k pace, what would mean laps in about 92 s. Although it would be quite low volume of quality work for this pace. 
Anyway, I set off aiming for that.

Another tricky thing at altitude is to actually pace yourself when you run. It’s because it feels ok and easy when you start. And it continues to be like that for the first 200m. And then, suddenly, you’re starting to suffocate. Your legs are getting heavy, you’re breathing is going crazy, you’re struggling.
It happened to me during the first rep of course. I clocked it in 79s, so about my sea-level 5k training pace. Waaaay to fast for here.
Then I slowed down, clocking next reps in 86-89 seconds, so reasonably consistent (provided it was at altitude and I didn’t really know what I was doing).
Assuming that my 20s/km slower rule is correct, that would make it some sort of a 5k session. Although I’m sure I couldn’t do 5k race at this pace here.
On the other hand, the volume (6km at this pace) was more-less ok for a 5k session. Definitely I couldn’t do 6km at 3k pace.
Actually, if someone who knows this stuff better is reading that, I’d really love to learn more about pacing at altitude, and different types of training here.
I know it would be quite dynamic, as with the body adapting to the altitude, all those paces would change, and so on.
Anyway, if you know anything, please send me a message, or leave a comment. Thanks a lot!

After that I took 5 minutes break, and then did 2x200m fast, just to check if I have any speed left (with about 4min rest in between).
I run it in 28s and 30s. I’ll take that. For now.

Shame I didn’t take the camera with me, as the football match was quite interesting. A proper game, both teams even had their own team of cheerleaders (girls at more-less the same age as the boys).
I don’t know much about American Football, but when I was leaving, hosts were leading 24:0.
Normally I’d probably make some joke about Polish national football (soccer) team here, but by qualifying to Euro2016 they disarmed me.

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