Friday, April 27, 2012

Easter SunRun 10K Race Review

Easter weekend I ran a 10k.  In past years, I opted for the 2 mile race that follows the 10k, but this year I was climbing back from injury, and I thought it best to go for the extra mileage without the lung busting, muscle burning pace of a 2 miler.  Instead of going into great detail about the race, or who I saw and where, I am going to shift focus to a self reflective analysis of how temperatures can affect your race performance.

Let me just come out and say it right off the bat...  I set a 10k PR that day (by 21 seconds) when I thought I had no business coming close to one.  Some of you might recall my injured hip flexor that kept me from running the first 2 months of the year.  Well, the Easter SunRun came a little over a month after I started getting my running legs back to pre-injury form, and I still have a ways to go.

In fact, the week of the SunRun I did a test where I kept my heart rate at 175 bpm for about 8 miles and compared that to an identical run I did last fall.  The results indicated my pace was currently 30 seconds slower.  So, how did I manage a PR when I wasn't in top form?  My only explanation is the weather, just ask those who ran Boston this month.

As far as 10k's go, I really only do the same one every year, and it occurs more towards Summer.  Temps for all my previous 10k's have been in the 70º to 80º range.  Temperatures for the Easter SunRun this year were in the mid 50s with cloudy skies.  There have been plenty of articles published about why and how heat affects runners, so I won't go into much detail about the science here.  My hope is that my recent experience and the statistics I've recorded can serve as a good real world example of how varying temperatures can affect you.

Now I will concede that I made some decent progress between my previous 10k's and my injury, so an argument could be made that by taking "two steps forward and one step back," I still end up 1 step ahead.  However, I have one more point to make.

One week prior to the SunRun, I ran 2 legs in a relay which were on average 0.7 miles shorter than a 10k.  The temperatures for the relay started out in the 70s, and ended in the mid 80s.  It was a struggle for me to maintain an 8:00 pace.  In comparison, a week later at the SunRun 10k, I averaged a 7:04 pace.  Notice in my charts below the 10k is the longer race yet my pace is faster while my heart rate is lower.

Here's my Garmin Data from my last leg in the 84º Brew to Brew Relay 04-01-12:
Split Time Distance Avg HR Max HR
1 08:08.3 1 188 197
2 07:49.7 1 193 196
3 07:54.9 1 197 200
4 08:05.1 1 199 202
5 05:36.0 0.73 202 203
 Summary 37:33.9 4.73195.8 203

Here's my Garmin Data from the 55º SunRun 04-07-12:
Split Time Distance Avg HR Max HR
1 06:55.0 1 174 186
2 07:09.0 1 186 190
3 07:16.4 1 190 195
4 07:09.4 1 191 195
5 07:06.1 1 193 198
6 06:55.4 1 197 200
7 01:24.0 0.23 200 203
 Summary 43:55.0 6.23 189 203

2Slow4Boston Easter SunRun 10k
Chip Time43:54 (PR)
Overall Place68/689
Age Group6/37
Average Pace7:04

I'll leave you with a few pics from the SunRun:

I wonder if the guy in red looks as awkward in motion as he does frozen in time.

Headed down home stretch.  HR = 203

All smiles post race while pitching a different kind of tent.


Meghan said...

Congrats on the PR!!! Weather totally affects everything. I find it much easier to breathe when it is 40-50 out :)

Jill said...

Dang, Speedy, you are smoking fast! Just think about what you can do with optimal training and great weather conditions. You did great! And I love your running pictures...what perfect foot strike you have *(NO HEEL STRIKING for you :)).

I can't believe you're getting chicked by the guy in the red shirt though. Sheesh!

Christi said...

Great job on the PR!

FYI, love the Shocker umbrella! Too cool! I went to WSU for the fall semester in '86. Good times!

Coy Martinez said...

That's a great PR!! First Congrats!! You know, you're the first person that's written a blog, that I've read anyway that talks about performance and weather together. I feel like the poster child for weather and performance. If it's 65 + I'm just a hot mess of salt, but if I can catch a cloudy day around 50, I'm good to go! Even better if it's in the 30's or 40's. It's rare that I can PR over 50 degrees.

You look pretty happy in those pics!! That one guy needs to straighten himself out! HAHAHA!

Paul said...

super! shiny new PR.

Glad you are getting back in good form!

Yes, running when its' warm is just for fun..not for PRs.

Terzah said...

Yay for the PR! I totally agree with you about the weather (we've had lots of recent examples of how heat and humidity can affect a race for good or ill). Here in Colorado today it's overcast and in the 50s and I so wish I could go for a run. Even when not racing, it just *feels* better.

On the Right Track said...

Speedy Gonzalez!!! Super job and so so glad to hear you are feeling better!!! You really kicked in your speed and great splits!

I love the first pic...and yeah, the guy in red looks totally akward ;) I agree with the heat factor...however I LOVE running in warmer weather!

ajh said...

Great pace! I love colder weather for running except for the freezing factor when you are all sweaty and done!

Robin said...

Congrats awesome time/PR....I find 10K's a tough distance...well done.

Nelly said...

Congrats on the PR! Gotta love running in perfect running weather!

Char said...

Great result! It always amazes me at how much better I run when the weather's cooler. Nice when the weather helps you to a PR.

Laura said...

Congrats!! 10ks are tough but it's nice to be done a race and still have the day left. The weather for my upcoming race looks...warm right now. Bring on the sunscreen...

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