When I started 80/20 training, I calculated my paces to establish a baseline. I did this by running 2-3 minutes in each of the 80/20 heart rate training zones while doing a combination of looking at the pace on my watch and also recording laps to look at the average pace afterward. I plan to do this same test after I’m done with my nine-week 80/20 5K training plan to measure improvement.
My baseline paces are below but don’t mirror exactly the paces I’m running in training. My paces in the high-intensity zones (4 and 5) are faster, and my paces in the low-intensity zones (1 and 2) are slower. I understand the slower paces. In the first few minutes of a low-intensity run, my paces are much faster than what I average. This has to be the result of cardiac drift—the longer I’m running, the higher my heart rate goes, so the more I have to slow down to keep in my zone. So when I do a longer low-intensity run–especially in warm weather–I get slower as the run goes on. As for faster paces, I never ran a few minutes in my zone 5 because I knew that zone would be anything faster than zone 4. Given that, I think another good measurement might be to compare my interval paces at the beginning and end of training.
Baseline Paces from Pre-Training Test
These are all based on my lactate threshold heart rate, which I calculated as 155 in my pre-training test. The pace range I’m giving is because I ran a tempo run for the test so have two data points–the first lap and second laps at that heart rate as I went up then down the ladder. You’ll notice that my second lap pace in the easy zones 1 and 2 are much slower than the first, a sign of just how hard it is to get your heart rate back down after you run at high intensity. The fastest zone has only one data point since that was the top of the ladder, and I actually didn’t spend time in that heart rate zone because I knew that pace would be anything faster.
Zone 1 (low aerobic)
Heart rate: 116-124
Zone 2 (moderate aerobic)
Heart rate: 125-138
Zone 3 (threshold)
Heart rate: 149-155
Zone 4 (V02 max)
Heart rate: 158-163
Zone 5 (speed)
Heart rate: 164+
Current Training Paces (Week 4)
Most of my low-intensity runs in zones 1 and 2 average between 13:30 and 14:30. Prior to 80/20 training, my easy runs tended to be 12:30-13:30, so I slowed down 1-2 minutes/mile. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’m hoping it will be good for me in the end.
Per my most recent runs, my zone 5 paces are between 8:20-9:15, and my zone 4 paces are 9:40-10:30. Prior to 80/20 training this past December, my hardest efforts were usually 9:40-10:15 when I tried to target a 9:30 pace. Like I said in my recap, I’ve never in my life run paces in the 8-minute range, so this is a brave, new, exciting world for me.
As you can see, the difference between my fastest and slowest paces are now as much as a 4:00/mile difference! Prior to 80/20 training, the difference was about 2:00/mile.
I’ll do another post after training to see if these numbers change.