… rate monitor.
I just finished a half marathon. Taking some insight from a few conversations with Stickman, I decided to try a few new things for this race.
First, instead of focusing on pace, I decided to focus on just my heart rate. I setup my watch to only show heart rate and heart zone, and I averted my eyes whenever there was a race clock visible. I had no idea what my time was until I finished.
I haven't done any tests using this technique, so I didn't really know where to keep my heart rate. I opted to just keep it in the 150-160 bpm area (which is high zone 3 / zone 4 for me). That is a large window compared to what Stickman does. He keeps his heart rate within 2 to 4 beats of his target rate. That's just too advanced for me at this stage, and I figured the wiggle room would help on the hills.
In the end, I was pleased with the result. In the back of my mind I was hoping to get somewhere around 1:45 (my last half marathon time was 1:56). I wound up with an official time of 1:46. While it may not seem like a lot to most people, knocking 10 minutes off my time was a nice present.
On top of the time, I felt great in the last 2k. Last year, the last 2k was uncomfortable, but this year I had enough to sprint the last hundred meters. It was a great feeling to have a better time than last year and feel better at the end.
The second thing I tried was to monitor my fatigue level. TrainingPeaks has a graph which can predict the best time to race. It uses your training load and your fitness level vs fatigue level. I've used this in the past, but in a haphazard way. I did my best to have all the variables line up on the right day. Here is the graph showing it coming together:
If you note where that purple line drops down, and the yellow line comes up, that is supposedly when my fatigue is lowest and my ‘form’ is highest. I tried to do the same thing on the 104k bike ride (which you can see as the shark fin on that downward trend). However, I misunderstood how the variables worked and messed up that attempt.
(If you're curious what that massive hole is all about, that's when I went on my meditation retreat)
All in all I am very happy with the race. Heck, I am grateful I can run at all! Thanks Banana Man for talking me into doing the race this year.