Lessons from the last half marathon

During the last 12 weeks I used a Stryd power based training plan for a virtual half marathon and that served me well and kept me true to my promise – it wasn’t a 100% compliance, but close to it .. maybe the last 2 weeks were a bit different, but not dramatically.

So, lets start with….conclusions:

  • I need to loose weight (that’s a long story .. but I feel this is one of the important improvements I could make)
  • I like colder temperatures .. the PB was in a February starting at -5 Celsius, today I felt excellent starting at -1 Celsius, cooling worked well
  • training consistency helps a lot – trust your plan and execute it properly, with good recovery
  • I should add strength sessions … I tried some, but didn’t actually did it during the last three months
  • I managed to have the second best time for HM, 10 miles, 15k, 20k based on Strava’s calculation
That’s what Strava said about my run

I was aiming for 1:55, even though deep in my heart I’d like very much to go for the 1:45 [not now, I’m not yet ready for that] – I was happy with the 1:54:14. That wasn’t so far from the PB (Feb 2018) 1:53:10, but I felt like that today I couldn’t squeeze that minute.

During my last two years, I didn’t participate in any official races and the competitiveness decreased – one friend of mine even said that if I will continue like this, I’ll actually end up with not running anymore.

I didn’t use any supplementary water (but also didn’t feel the need, because of the temperature most likely) and also no carbs/gels – that might have helped, because after 14th km, I felt I’m loosing my energy. So, having one gel supplement at km 10-11 maybe could changed the last 6 kms performance.

Stryd Power Center was suggesting based on my Critical Power and my training that I should aim for 286W during the half marathon race and estimated a time of 1:57 (actually an interval between 1:54 and 2:00).

My training with Stryd during the last 90 days

Since my course didn’t have any hills, I could use a Garmin Race Pro to guide me as an alternative to the 3s Power, knowing that I will have more energy in the early part of the race and designed a strategy slightly positive (but not by much)

PacePro strategy for my 1:55HM

Executing the strategy on the watch is simple, you can see the target pace for every Kilometer and also how much you have accumulated as positive/negative difference for your global time target. One think missing (in my view) is the kilometer number – I couldn’t tell from the screen which km I’m executing right now .. every time it changes, it says that your new pace for the KM is this or that, but I couldn’t figure out just looking at that screen where I am in the race. I changed the screen for a short while just to confirm that I was executing the 20th km and not 19th, but anyway ..

Today the heart rate was stable and stayed during the race very close to the average of 175bpm, the cadence dropped as expected in the second part of the race from 197-198 to 188, in the end with an average of 193 steps/minute.

If I would compare this to the PB session from 4 years ago, the average HR is similar – at that moment it was 174 bpm and the average cadence the same 193 spm. The average power value is different, at that moment the average being 270W compared with today’s 290W, but considering that I’m using now the newer Stryd footpod, measuring air power as well, it’s something expected. The weight for Stryd was the same, regardless of the real weight, so that didn’t have any effect.

Since Garmin added the new Stamina feature with the new Fenix 7 line, I looked in the chart as well to understand if that makes sense compared to how I was feeling by the end of the race – I’d say that’s accurate – my energy was pretty low. Could that 13% left in the tank allow me to be better today should I have tried harder … maybe, but I can’t quantify that.

Stamina evolution during the race

Overall, I’m happy with this result, it confirms that being consistent with your training allows you to perform consistent. With several kgs less (that’s another battle) and some strength sessions added to my training, I’d say that my objective for HM (the 1:45) is achievable.

Be well and enjoy running!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

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

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