The past couple of weeks since returning from Paris have been both very busy in terms of training and work. In fact at the beginning of last week I began to feel a little fatigued coupled with a slight cold that I had picked up.
At first I ignored it and tried to push through it but noticed that my resting HR was hovering around 49-50 which is around 5-6 beats higher than I would expect. The previous 3 weeks to that I had been consistently hit 8-9 hours of running and managed to squeeze in a few mid week medium long runs alongside my usual weekly 2+ hour run.
So Monday last week I took a day off and felt a bit better the next day. Training wise I have been running am running mostly within MAF range of 139-149 with most of my runs finishing closer to 149 by the end of it. as the week progressed I felt OK but from time to time tired. In fact by Saturday after a very easy 10 mile run I felt exhausted. I don't know what was happening as I seem to have been getting more sleep, eating better etc.
When Sunday came around my resting HR was still around 50!! I didn't see the point of adding more stress if I wasn't recovering properly so I binned the long run and just went out for a deliberately short easy plod. I was glad in a way as I did feel a lot better than when I started but knew that anything resembling a long run would have made things no worse the next day. So it was a very low week of 43 miles.
Now although I think the recovery issue is a combination of sub optimal sleep and upping the amount of time I had been running per week I think a bigger factor has been the effort I have been running at for each run. I had thought that my max MAF HR was 149 (180 - 36 + 5 for 2 years good progress) however Maffetone is quite explicit around some of the factors to include and although I have made progressing I hadn't taken my recent injury in October into account nor the mild asthma I suffer from.
On my next run I set out to run at a max HR of 144. On Monday I was feeling like my old self again and my resting HR had come down to 46 which was much more like it. I headed out the door to see whether the change of effort would help and of course it's logical to think that reduced effort would.
The legs felt much improved and the run ticked by pretty effortlessly and although my alarm did go off occasionally to ensure that I didn't push too hard I didn't feel awkward running at all which I know a lot of other people have noticed when switching to this method.
I followed this up with 10 miles yesterday and an easy 5 miles today and the legs feel good and my resting HR is at 41!. Of course being off work is helping with not having much work stress to manage and it remains to be seen how the remainder of the base phase pans out but I have to say I am confident I will still see improvements over the coming weeks.