Since collapsing, and subsequently sadly passing away, 3.7 miles from the end of the London Marathon a couple of weeks ago runners around the world have been dedicating a run to Matt Campbell, and making a donation in his memory to his charity, The Brathay Trust.
I had intended to do my run next time I was in London, just as I had done in the past for others who never got the chance to complete the marathon. However, my local parkrun dedicated today’s event to Matt and even though I didn’t go I thought today was as good a day as any.
There but for the grace of God go I.
I also wanted to use tonight’s run to further experiment with my heart rate training.
On Wednesday night Iverene walked for a few seconds to bring our heart rate down when it went over a certain limit but, this evening, I wanted to try it without walking at all, instead using my breathing and slowing my running in an attempt to regulate it.
That proved to be easier said than done. Previously I had my Garmin set up to alert me if my heart rate climbed above the aerobic zone over a period of time but this time I switched the settings to real time so I could monitor it instantly.
This meant I was constantly keeping one eye on my watch. My target was 139bpm or below and, for a while, I drifted just over at around 140-141 but after about one kilometre I did bring it down to 138 for a spell.
That, however, was as good as it got. I was running so slowly, and trying to control my breathing, but as relaxed as I got – and this was the most chilled run ever! – I just could not keep it with range. I wasn’t far off, admittedly, but I was still off.
But I kept running. I was determined not to use the ‘luxury’ of a walk to bring it down. It was also frustrating having to keep my speed in check, I was fighting every instinct in my body and my mind that was yelling at me to open my legs.
Yet, this was good. The burn I usually feel in the first 20-25 minutes never materialised, I began to really grow into the run, and it felt great to know I had so much more left in my legs. If this was a half marathon I sensed I could have just kept going and finished strongly which might be a real benefit in the coming months.
So, whilst I couldn’t keep my heart rate within range, albeit not far off it, tonight was a useful exercise in endurance, slowing down and breathing. Not too bad when you look at it like that – I just need to remind myself that speed on these runs doesn’t matter, it’s all about perfecting the technique.
The 6km this evening was also another little contribution towards my goal to do at least 100km per month for the entire year. I’ve managed it every month so far, and received my April medal from Virtual Runner this morning … the collection is starting to take shape!