Tuesday, December 10

Houston Marathon: Week 9

Week 9 Primary Focus:           Recovery
Longest Run To-Date:             12mi

This week's primary focus was on recovery as I was on vacation with Jessie's family in Costa Rica. This was by design, as the previous week had taken a toll on my legs. What not a better way to recover than on a beach in paradise? Although the intensity and volume drastically dropped off, I didn't sit around doing nothing. I kept the legs fresh with three separate runs, a half hour of weights and some fun cross-training: golf, tennis, hiking and swimming. I believe I yielded tremendous gains from a week of lighter activity. And on top of the physical component of recovery, the mental break made me feel rejuvenated.

Jessie and her Dad, Dr. C, enjoying the Costa Rican view
Climate can make or break you

The three runs I did in Costa Rica were beautiful. Mountainous backdrop with an oceanic view. The climate and terrain, however, made the runs difficult. Much harder than the cooler temperature and flat roads I was used to in Dallas. Back in August of 2010 I wrote a blog post on the impact climate has on performance. It was a very high-level observation I'd like to share here.

Notice anything interesting when comparing these two runs?

Thursday, August 19, 2010
Running distance: 4.0 Miles
Total time: 31:58
Mile 1: 7:21
Mile 2: 7:24
Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 4: 8:39
Average pace: 7:56
Average heart rate: 173bpm
Time of run: 4:48p
Temperature of run: 100+

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Running distance: 4.0 Miles
Total time: 31:20
Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 7:53
Mile 3: 7:57
Mile 4: 7:24
Average pace: 7:50
Average heart rate: 154bpm
Time of run: 7:42a
Temperature of run: 74

Pretty obvious, I know. But I find it fascinating to actually see this written out: The weather can make such a dramatic difference in performance. Here I am, running identical distances, on the same streets, in almost the same time and pace, yet the run in the 100+ degree heat requires my heart to work 13% harder. That’s 20 beats per minute (bpm) more. And that is a significant difference you can feel. It’s the difference between being able to chat while running, and barely being able to suck enough oxygen down in order to sustain your pace. It’s the difference between finishing feeling miserable and fatigued, and feeling energized and ready to go.

Back to the Houston Marathon home page.

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