Helsinki half marathon and 80/20 training

Last Saturday I finished the Helsinki half marathon (Helsinki City Run) after being as compliant as I could with a HM 80/20 training plan from (through Final Surge).

The event was nice, the weather was nice as well (a bit warmer than I expected .. I was expecting something like 15-16 degrees, it was more like 20-22 degrees Celsius) – unfortunately no PB, just close under 2 hours.

Nice run in Helsinki

Even though I was aiming for a better time (close to 1h:52min), I enjoyed the race as I discovered areas of Helsinki I didn’t see before. I finished the event in 1h:58min, still under the 2 hours threshold and I took this as a lesson for better preparing the race: I didn’t know too much about the elevation profile, I assumed one as flat as it gets and also I overlooked the temperature impact, assuming a cooler weather [I usually train in the morning, with averages well below 14 degrees] and I was a bit surprised by the sunny shine and more than 20 degrees Celsius.

I won’t spend time on the GPS track accuracy – I used Stryd (calibrated) and my Fenix 5X+ (with only GPS on, not Glonass or Galileo) and it worked fine – the distance was reasonable (21.3km) and the track didn’t have any ridiculous issues.

Fine looking GPS tracks, even with U-turns

Anyway, I would say now that the training plan helped me to get back in shape after a longer pause over the December-February period.

That’s how Strava Elevate sees things from January to May
That’s how Runalyze sees the evolution from January to May
That’s how Training Peaks sees the evolution from January to May

Basically, my fitness level improved .. but to make an assessment of how the 80/20 plan worked for me compared to the usual training period it’s not that easy. I’m comparing below the distribution of the time (or distance) spent in heart rate zones in January-May in 2018 and 2019.

Distance distribution in HR zones in Jan-May 2018
Distance distribution in HR zones in Jan-May 2019

The more relevant period for comparison would be February-May, since I started the 80/20 on 15th of February …

HR zones distribution in my training in Feb-May 2018
HR distribution in my training in Feb-May 2019

It’s easy to see the difference in the approach…forcing myself to stay lower in HR was fine, I felt better in my training sessions and I was able to run more (40% more) – 515 km in March-May 2019 compared to 364 km in the same period of 2018.

During the race, for various reasons I wasn’t able to keep myself in lower HR zones and stayed more in Z4 and Z5…and that’s not different from the previous similar event in 2018 (even though the course was different).

HR distribution in the HM in May 2018
HR distribution in the HM in May 2019

I still need time to spend analyzing the data … or even better, training myself 🙂

I will start a 80/20 training plan for a marathon in end September .. we shall see how things will progress over time.

Author: Liviu Nastasa

Passionate about software development, sociology, running...definitely a geek.

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