I was up and out the door early Thursday morning to meet Megan for some up tempo running at McAlpine. The plan for the day was 4 x 10 minutes @ roughly 85% of max heart rate workout which was to be followed by a 3 minute recovery between each interval. Assuming we were running around 6 minute pace, we would be covering a little more than 6 miles at a solid pace during this workout.
We started over by Harris Blvd and ran together for about 9 minutes of the first interval. Meg slowed just a little to keep her heart rate in check.
The 2nd interval headed up toward Old Bell. Pretty much the same situation happened during this interval. Although, Megan did mention that during this interval we clipped off the mile around 5:50 pace. My body was telling me that it felt harder. This was partly due to my having rode both the individual time trial and the team time trial at the speedway the night before. Just because the bike doesn't pound the body like running, it does mean that it hadn't dipped into my energy reserves. It had and I was starting to feel it.
For the 3rd interval, we headed around upper Boyce. I took the lead going up the hill but my heart rate started pushing upwards. This meant, l had to let Megan gap me to pull back my heart rate. Low and behold, while circling through upper Boyce, we saw one her neighbors who let me know that I shouldn't be letting her beat me. I was thinking "let nothing, you should try chasing her up and down these hills. If I could keep up, I would". I was just thinking it and not thinking it out loud. LOL.
The 4th interval was run over lower Boyce and my fatigue was now starting to creep through. In addition, with the recent rain lower Boyce has some rough terrain. Megan probably opened about 25 meters during these rough sections. My legs don't like the dips and gullies.
So coming out back on the main path, I had a few beats to give. Let's see if I can run her back down. I watched first 1 beat more. Then, it was 2 beats more. Hummmmmmm, I was not closing and possibly I was losing ground.
That's about the time; the thought crossed my mind that Megan might just be exceeding our 85% agreement. Ok, now the gloves come off.
With the 85% agreement off the table, I was not losing any more distance and in fact, I was gaining, but it was costing me. The effort was starting hurt more than I wanted.
By time I closed all of the distance, my heart rate was running closer to 95% of my max rate. Fortunately, we only had 1 more minute left in the interval and I was able to hang on to her.
My reason for sharing this experience is for a couple of different reasons.
First, it makes for an interesting workout to run with someone where the objective is not to maintain a certain pace but a certain effort based on their heart rate. Because one's heart rate can be affected by more than just the current workout, you could find yourself running ahead of someone who is much faster. Thus, this creates a new dynamic for the workout.
The 2nd reason is one that I find far more interesting. Megan and I are separated not only by ability (she is definitely better), but by age, gender, experience, and miles logged. Yet, during workouts our heart rates track fairly closely. I have no real explanation for it and to be honest, I wonder if it was true for other people as well.
Anyway, if you and buddy want to try it – just put on your heart monitors and have a gentlemen's agreement about the % and off you go.
There is an old saying "sometime you have to slow down to go fast". It is as if this saying was tailor made for this workout.
Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner