I said that after the 10K run, then the fitness test based on it, my watch had set a bunch of predictions for my times.
The heart rate is pre-chest strap, so wildly inaccurate. My Normal maximum heart rate is about 166. Maybe a beat or two more. I was worried the predictions were all a bit optimistic so I set to testing them. It’s a flat out effort so I did one last week, one this week. Last week I did a 5K, hoping to beat the 20 minute barrier. I got a 19.52 and was made up.
Today I went out to test myself on a half marathon. That has all kinds of problems. There’s the speed, obviously, but then there’s the mental toughness to hang in when it’s hurting and you’ve got miles to go at your best effort.
My Coros watch had predicted 1.32:11. After the 5K it updated the prediction to 1.31:54. Obviously if I’m going to try and go flat out I’m going to try to beat the benchmark time of 1.30. That’s 6.51 m/m pace for 13.1 miles (I’ve just checked). I’m a 57 year old duffer, give me a break!
It was tough, but not “I can’t hold this pace” tough. I was working really hard but not gasping and ragged. My usual run route was blocked off so I found a mile and a bit circuit, which worked nicely because I was only into the wind for half the circuit, so I could make up my time on the other half. I was finding it so do-able I broke up the boredom of mile laps with a long circuit that had a bit of a hill and and a mile or so into the wind. Which was kind of stupid. But I did it.
13.11 miles in 1.29;09! That is exactly equal to my PB (but that was with my Garmin watch and I’m pretty sure it was suspect). A (at the very least, joint) PB at 57! Not too shabby.
I was kept honest on the last few miles, the last 1.1 miles (into the wind) in particular, because I hadn’t bothered to check the pace chart before setting off, and about 8 or 9 miles in I suddenly thought “is it 6.50 (the target pace I’d been holding for the run) or 6.48?” I knew I had some seconds in the bag for 6.50 but had to keep pushing in case I was going to miss out if it was 6.48.
I finished and sat on a fence bar, gasping for air. I must have looked rough because a young couple asked me if I was alright. Jogged around the corner to home, then coughed my lungs up non-stop for 2 minutes solid. Worth it!
My watch has amended it’s predictions
My VO2 max is back in the very best (48.9 VO2) for my age group (50 – 59) my heart rate is more realistic, but look at my race predictions! I’ve not started the proper race plan yet and it’s saying I’m only 6 minutes off my marathon goal. That’s only 15 seconds per mile. After I’ve cycled through the plan fully again…
Well, it gives me hope at least.