Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Late March test results

In early March I speculated what my running zones would be using my most recent Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) test. That test was a bit old (August 2014), but then once settled the number should not change much over the course of a season. To review, my last LTHR average heart rate for 20 minutes was 154, so at 5% less than that my estimated zones were:

Run Zones with LTHR at 146

1Z 2Z 3Z 4Z 5aZ 5bZ 5cZ
96 124 131 139 146 150 155

A week later (March 8) I did a new test, preceded by a first ever aerobic capacity test. Turns out my estimate was pretty good. My average heart rate for the aerobic capacity test, a 5 minute all-out effort, was 160. For the 20 minute lactate threshold test, 155. Take 5% off that and my run zones are:

Run Zones with LTHR at 147

1Z 2Z 3Z 4Z 5aZ 5bZ 5cZ
97 125 132 140 147 151 156

In other words, no real change in LTHR, which is what I expected.

On March 29 I did another LTHR test, this time without the aerobic capacity test, and my twenty minute average HR was 153. Not enough of a difference to reset my zones. Besides, on most days my HR zone reported on my Garmin FR610 matches what I feel, in the legs and respiration. Once in a while these things do not agree, particularly at the start of the run segment of a bike-run brick, when HR is much higher than respiration and Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE).

To get accurate results an LTHR test should be preceded by a couple days rest. This most recent test was run on a Sunday morning after a Saturday trip to Mokuleia for the same test done on the bike. On top of that, there were significant environmental differences, the kind that are beyond my ability to control. The day of the earlier test was cool but windy. For the most recent test the temperature was considerably warmer, and while there was virtually no wind the track was wet from overnight rain.

As for the bike time trial, my twenty minute average HR was 138, with a minimum of 133 and maximum of max of 142. As a matter of fact, my average over the entire thirty minute test (the first ten minutes are not counted), was 138. At least I was consistent. Bike results are typically lower than for running, but not ten points lower. I attribute some of that to the fact that I decided to approach this as a race effort test rather than all out. On top of that I probably held back too much trying to avoid going out too fast and blowing up. As it was I held zone 4 for thirty minutes, which is tough to do. From that angle I consider this a good test; I can expect to average around 16 m.p.h. on race day, for a bike split of around 1:30.

After Sunday's run test I drove out to the Oahu Club and swam a 500 yard time trial. Part to measure progress, part to begin gathering data for estimating my swim split. My numbers for 5 x 100 were 3:04.31, 3:13.07, 3:14.25, 3:12.25, and 3:11.69.

My overall average pace was 3:11/100 yards. I think a better result is had by throwing out the first set, since it is so much different than the last four. Doing that my average pace is 3:13, which I think is closer to what I can really do. That works out to a 1,500M swim split of around 50 min.

Since I have gone this far I might as well add my run estimates. Based on recent runs I expect an average pace of 14:30, which comes out to around 1:30:0 for the run segment.

Last year my T1 time was 5:30 and T2 was 2:30. I know I can improve on that T1 time but I will use it here; it all works out to a sub four hour race.

Here is how I look compared to last year's 65-69 age group. My estimates are in the last column. All times rounded to the nearest minute. Totals include T1 and T2.

Segment Low High My Est.
Swim 0:29 0:49 0:50
Bike 1:12 1:41 1:30
Run 0:52 1:30 1:30
Total 2:41 4:13 3:56

I am about one month out from my first of two races. I do not expect any dramatic improvements in these times. I will keep checking and tweak the numbers when I feel that it matters, but from here on my focus will be more on developing the endurance and skills to do all three segments at this level, without the benefit of rest breaks and in the midst of all the frenzy and emotional stress everyone feels on race day.

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