No PB, but a nice half marathon in the forest

It’s been a while since I haven’t run more than 21km, not to mention an official half marathon, with public and everything. Actually, the last run for more than 21km was on 6th of December 2020 and the last official event was on 1st of February 2020.

When I registered in 2020 for the Cluj-Napoca half marathon (link), I never thought that I will run the HM in a forest with a friend and not with people cheering on the streets of the beautiful Cluj-Napoca. Since I couldn’t go to Cluj this weekend, I converted my registration into a virtual race and I went with one friend to run the half marathon distance in the Baneasa forest. The trail path was covered with brown leaves, the weather was really nice – not the ideal setup for a PB, but still a very good time for having a fun run.

Baneasa trail – count for virtual HM

In my ideal life, with a bit of training, I should aim at 1:50 for the HM, but today I was happy with 2:04, since I didn’t use any additional water or carbs and the trail required more attention than usual, because of the hidden rocks or roots under a thick layer of leaves.

I thought of myself that considering that not being trained for this race, I won’t be able to see a great result and I was right … but to my surprise, it wasn’t that bad … not in terms of pace, but in terms of HR stress.

Quick comparison of the stats for the similar HM (same forest, almost 4 years apart)

Looking back, when I run the same circuit in similar circumstances, the average HR was consistently higher, without me being much faster. On the left side, the HR values are much higher that today’s values (and the average pace was 5:47 min/km compared with today’s 5:53 min/km)… it might be the fact that today I wasn’t trying to be fast but to enjoy the run.

The running power was registered by Stryd (the same weight, that didn’t changed with Stryd), so what I see is a better power at a lower average heart rate, which to me looks like success.

That gives me some confidence that my investment this year in low HR training (not huge volume though) wasn’t for nothing.

Another thing … when running in the forest, either you know the path well, or you load the track on your device (preferably on Garmin…with Polar things may get a bit more complicated).

Happy running!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

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

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