Petestack Blog

28 March 2010

More shoes and heart rate

Filed under: Running — admin @ 7:12 pm

No, I haven’t being buying more shoes since yesterday! But I’ve been out again in the same ones, trying the same HRM pacing trick on a 14 mile round trip to Luibeilt that starts with a climb I’d rate more severe than any on the West Highland Way. So perhaps it was a mug’s game trying to keep to 125 when I was backing off big time and even 130 was only giving me an average of 2.9 mph up that first, steep mile, but the ease with which I was able to maintain mid to high 120s for the rest of the course suggests that I’m still running well within myself at that, which is basically what I was wanting to know. Since it also took the remaining 13 miles to drag the average speed up to just 5.4 mph, and said average was clearly still affected by two short stops (to don Pertex smock and trousers when the weather turned nasty and remove an annoying stone from my shoe), it seems stupefyingly obvious that you can never regain what you lose by moving too slowly (as likely to result from setting out too quickly and blowing up later as being too cautious early on) or not at all. Which leaves a WHW race strategy based on perfect pacing and minimal stopping (neither of which I achieved last time) looking crucial if I’m to hit my target (which I still regard as ‘on’!).

Might just add that the two obvious heart rate ‘spikes’ late on (approaching and starting the final descent) are possibly rogue readings and the Gel-Enduros seemed little more secure (although certainly no slippier) than standard road shoes on that same descent (which I’ve covered significantly faster with more serious studs and attitude to match!).


  1. I quite envy you for having those superb trails right at your doorstep!
    Are you still exercising 4 hours to Balmaha mantra?

    Comment by Thomas — 28 March 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  2. Interesting question, Thomas…

    Balmaha is a fifth of the distance and logically worth a fifth of the time/effort or whatever you like to call it. Now of course I’m aware that many (most?) WHW competitors see the start (which includes Conic Hill!) as easier ground begging a brisker approach to bank some time for the tougher stages later, but still believe that approach to be flawed if you’re strong enough not to be phased by a few wee hills, and risky (in terms of potential burnout) even if you’re not (well, just look how many folk finish practically walking for miles and miles!). So, whether it’s four hours to Balmaha, three hours fifty to Balmaha or (best of all) the right heart rate to Balmaha, I’m still convinced by the concept, prepared to let everyone go early on and confident that I’m capable of covering the rest of the way in sixteen hours and running most of them down again if it does turn out to be four!

    BTW, did you see the spikeless start to today’s HRM trace? Achieved by wetting the HRM band, and starting from 49 bpm after I paused briefly to let things settle a bit after hitting 80 climbing the back fence…

    Comment by admin — 28 March 2010 @ 11:24 pm

  3. I was admiring your HR profile. it looks so nice and straight. Wetting the band did not work for me. I have tried all kinds of lubrication. Salt Water. Cold and Warm water. There are a few spikes later though.

    Anyway, I agree to your observation (thesis, theory) that most of the runners slow dramatically towards the end of the WHW Race. That applies to almost all kind of distances to a more or lesser extend. And I do agree that getting quicker to Balmaha does not buy you anything. 30 minutes will easily cost you a couple of hours.

    However I will focus more on a “half way” point like Tyndrum. Or better even BoO. There is no point going slow to Balmaha and “speed up”. That will be as costly. Therefore I want to get comfortably to Tyndrum. Comfort beeing a relative term here. But you know what I mean.

    Anyway I am looking forward to see how your stategy will work out! I am sure you know what you are doing.

    Comment by Thomas — 29 March 2010 @ 3:14 pm

  4. Re. HR profile, yes, that’s quite satisfying when I was *trying* to keep it nice and straight… although Saturday’s monster false spike is the worst I’ve seen yet (NB I’m struggling to get to 160, let alone 199!) and yesterday’s late spikes (probably initiated by letting myself go a bit knowing ‘mission accomplished’) came up quicker than I’d have expected. All things to play with when I’m now using the Forerunner 310XT and new soft HRM strap after training for 2007 with the 305 and running that race with a standalone Sigma HRM for battery life.

    Re. slow to Balmaha and speeding up being as costly, I know, and think the root of my big 2007 timeout at Bridge of Orchy lay in over-exuberance up Loch Lomondside. But I’m also still sure that my 3:56 to Balmaha was right (remember I’d targeted between 20:30 and 23:57 overall and came in right in the middle of that despite all the stops) and I shouldn’t need to go much faster (if at all) to break 20:00 if I get the rest of the race right. Which is what I’m working on! :-)

    Comment by admin — 29 March 2010 @ 5:07 pm

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