Keeping in the Zone

Following my simplicity plan I completed my first race of the year on Sunday. As not one of my 5 main races this is categorised as a ‘training event’. Wiltshire 10 miler in Melksham.

The plan was to run it in HR zone2 as a long slow training run, budding on my run distances this year. I have done this race a couple of times before as part of London marathon training posting times of 1:40 & best of 1:32. Each time memorable for the rain or cold or both !

This years plan was to run within HR zone 2. Now I have a ridiculously high heart rate and can peak over 200bpm on a treadmill or static bike. Whilst I rev high I also recovery quickly with HR dropping rapidly to a resting rate of around 52 (it used to be 46 pre asthma inhalers).

To stop me going off like a rocket and remember I was looking for a slow and steady comfortable pace I offered to run with a couple of friends at their pace not my usual race pace – not that I really have much pace at the best of times !

The weather didn’t disappoint it was freezing with a cutting wind on the country lanes. HQ was in the Bear hotel for registration, offering pre race coffee, a warm place to meet friends and proper toilets not pongy port-a-loo’s.

Race briefing in the park a short walk away then assembled on closed road for the start. The race was full to capacity of 500 runners, we slowly headed up the first mile up hill and factoring in the cold, extra inhalers and my HR was starting to soar bouncing uptown 160bpm within a couple of minutes.

Calm it down, slow it down and enjoy the leisurely ride…..

As we ran along we picked up and dropped a few others along the way. I managed to chat continuously, maybe thats why a few disappeared !? The pace was comfortable, slower than I would have gone if solo but I felt I could have run on at this plod pace forever or until hypothermia crept in.

Before we know it the water and Jelly Babies station arrived with the first incline, cue HR rise. It was good in a way to see the leaders coming back the other way and cheer on a few friends in the top 20, even though I knew I wasn’t event at half way. Β  Then a gentle down hill to loop into the back of Lacock which was very quiet compared to Boxing day hunt when I was last there on police duty, but such a lovely location.

Across the stone bridge and flood plain back to the bottom of the biggest hill on the course.

We soon hit the summit saw the jelly babies and water station and then it was all downhill to the finish πŸ‘πŸ»

One cheeky rise before we peeled off the road and along the river back to the park. Medal & useful cotton gym bag which will be great as a laundry bag for travels.
Back to the Bear where on production of your race medal πŸ₯‡ you got 20% off lunch. So 5 of us tucked into a main meal, coffee to warm up and a few had a cheeky pint to hydrate of course 🀣 🍻

Whilst my slowest time on this course this was my most controlled run within HR zone 2 and as a training event it was perfect.

10 miles βœ…

HR in Zone 2 βœ…

Comfortable pace βœ…

Asthma behaved in cold βœ…πŸ˜Š

UPDATE: to prove this wasn’t a one off Zone2 run the following weekend I completed a 9.5 mile run and 25 mile bike ride both with 80% in Zone2

Slow progress is making progress for me. Focus on the Zone !



    • To prove last week wants tab fluck I managed to run for an hour and three quarters with 83% in Zone2 yesterday 😁
      The inclines at the end did me in up to zone 3 for a few minutes.
      Tried a Zone2 bike ride today and just about managed that too.
      Slow progress – in many ways ! But hopefully come race day I’ll fly ?! 🀣

  1. That’s impressive discipline there to stick in zone 2. I also have a high rate (can hit 200, resting is 65, and I can keep up 185 for an hour) and I find it tough to lower my heart rate. As soon as I know I’m going to exercise it shoots up – that being said I have been trying to get down to Zone 3 at the very least. I have never done a whole run in Zone 2 (or even half or a run).

    Was recovery easier this way?

    • I stretched as normal after the run and had a bubble bath when home. Whilst feeling tired & hungry no aches or pains next morning at all.
      It wasn’t easy slowing down and I did have to walk half the hills.
      Often when I start a run my HR is 110+ but I think the coffee pre run also has an effect !
      I have to run slower as I’m looking at my Garmin constantly so if I trip it’ll be slow motion 🀣🀣
      Stick with it – lower heart rate getting easier

      • So for me, Zone 2 would be 121-140 bpm which is tough to maintain. I am going to try though. I’ll do a 5k or so at the weekend within this zone and see what happens. It will probably mean I have to walk!

      • Tried to keep my heart low in todays run, and Zone 3 the whole way. Top end of Zone 3 too, don’t think Zone 2 is possible for me

      • Slow down to a walk if required
        At first I didn’t think it was worth going so slow as only a plod.
        Once a week I also do a 5 mile fartlek or hills which reminds me I do still have some speed.
        As my coach said – stick with it and be patient 😁

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