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Evaluating your training after a training race

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  March 19, 2013 07:00 AM

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100chrisgarges.jpg Chris Garges is one of six Boston Marathon entrants testing Polar personal training gear and blogging about it for Boston.com
The long-range goal of racing the Boston Marathon makes it easy to look right past the shorter range, the time between the current date and April 15. Add to that what seems like a relentlessly cold and dismal winter and itís even easier to forget about the ďnowĒ.

We now sit a month away from race day. A lot can happen in a month. The key is to make the best use out of that month so that you can reach your goal. Take a look at where you are right now and what you need to do to help get you there.

Caesar start.jpgOn Sunday I had a great opportunity to see where Iím at, evaluate it and maximize my time over the next four weeks. I raced the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in Delaware and while the weather was much chillier than Iím hoping for at Boston, the course was a true test with downhill and flat miles early on transitioning to uphills and downhills in the latter miles.

Iíve run this race several times before as a build up to Boston, so it gives me a good measurement of my current fitness. I finished within 20 seconds of my last two finish times, both of which ended up being my two fastest times at Boston. I ran a very consistent race and although I was tired, I could have run more at that same pace, I just didnít seem to have the speed to go faster. I was very encouraged by the outcome of the race.

I also wore my Polar watch and heart rate monitor, which was the first time Iíve gotten heart rate data during a race in quite a while. I didnít look at the heart rate data while running, but it was interesting to look at after the race. The watch provides a ďsummaryĒ at the end of each activity, and as I finished the race it said ďMaximum training effort!Ē

Below is a screen shot of the data from polarpersonaltrainer.com. When I initially set up the watch I input my resting heart rate, weight and maximum heart rate and the watch then calculates your zones and plots them on a graph of the race data. The data confirms that my threshold pace and heart rate are right in line with the values that Iíve been basing my training on (6:00 per mile as threshold pace and 160-165 as my threshold heart rate).

607Caesar-2013-Polar.jpg

Now that I know that everything appears to be on track for my goal finish time, I can work on a few things that I feel Iím lacking over these next four weeks. Iíd like to get some leg strength for climbing (a weakness in Sundayís race), so Iíll work some hill running (up and down) into one or two of my weekly runs. I also need to get some speed into my legs, especially as they fatigue, which Iíll accomplish in one of two ways, some ďpick upsĒ at the end of my middle distance runs (this will train the tired legs to move faster) and by incorporating some short track efforts (200 meters & 400 meters) after running some miles at my goal pace.

I hope everyoneís training is going well and I hope that Mother Nature gets that memo from the Groundhog!

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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