"My plan for this run was to run 10:30 pace (an easy pace for me) and shoot for a 5k (an easy distance for me at this point). I started out exactly to plan with the first mile coming in at 10:33 with avg. HR of 149. Hey looking great! During mile 2 HR starts creeping up past the 150's and into the 160's. "Crap, heading out of Z2. Better slow down the pace." I drop the pace in mile 2 to 10:51. Mile 2 avg. HR ends up at 160. Mile 3 and my HR starts creeping into the 170's. I dial the pace back again to 11:25. Despite this, mile 3 average HR is 169. 11:25 pace actually starts to become painful for me as my form completely breaks down. I start feeling the stresses in my knees and hips. I worry about the possibility of injury at this pace. I can run much more comfortably anywhere in the 8:30-10:30 pace range. Form feels fluid, no pain, no injuries. So then I end up asking myself if the benefits of Z2 training are going to be trumped by an injury? I know training in Z3-Z4 are junk miles, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to avoid it. Or, maybe I take a counter-intuitive approach and minimize my run training. Since I can stay in Z2 on the bike, I can build cardio fitness there and work in just a couple of runs a week just to keep my form. Again, any advice is greatly appreciated."
After quite a bit of back and forth regarding my historical training data and race data the guys on there came up with what I believe to be the solution. They pointed me to the site www.mcmillanrunning.com and advised me to put in a recent 5k time into the pace calculator there. Here's my response: (pasted from www.beginnertriathlete.com):
"Boom! You guys got it. I went over to mcmillanrunning.com and plugged in my 5k time. I can't believe I haven't run across that site in all of my studying so far. My race paces were dead on below 5k. It calculated a best 1 mile of 7:00.6 and my PR is literally 6:59. Longer distances drop off. McMillan 5k is 50:32 and my PR is 59:49 and 1/2 is 1:52:40 and my PR is 2:18:02. I'm o.k. with this. Just shows that I have some work to do on the endurance side. I'll still keep an eye on my HR, but am willing to bet it will come down over the long term as my overall fitness level increases.
The McMillan paces were spot on to what I have been training at and the associated RPE's match my real world RPE's perfectly. Now that I feel good about having solid training paces I can round out my training plan knowing that it is a "good" plan. Now I won't dominate the forum so much! I can't say how much I appreciate you guys throwing out the advice as it has helped me close up a very confusing chapter. I'll post my training plan draft in next few days."
With all of the above, all I can say is that it is good to have experienced people to get advice from. If you are reading this and new to the sport, I highly recommend the mentor groups over at beginnertriathlete.com. I also highly recommend checking out mcmillanrunning.com to set up some training paces.
One last thing. This was another cold run! Not as bad as yesterday though. It was 21 degrees today vs. the 14 yesterday. I was able to get this run in without really feeling the cold too much. Probably couldn't have gone 10 miles in it though! 5k? Not a problem.