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Sub 50 min 10k at altitude
Hi TheEd, All,

I've been running for around 20 years on and off. Recently I've got more time to commit to running and have decided to take a more structured approach to training and reach for a long-standing ambition to run 10k in under 40 mins. I'm currently a fair way off that (and my previous fitness levels!) though, so my current goal is to run a 10k in under 50 mins, and reassess from there.

A slight complication is that in October last year I moved to South America and now live at approx. 2,600m above sea level. I have found that it makes a huge difference in running performance. I am now more acclimatised but the more intensive runs such as intervals are still extremely tough on the lungs, even though the legs are willing! Apparently each breath takes in 25% less oxygen at this altitude which explains that. I expect to move back to sea level or thereabouts in around 3-4 months from now, so hopefully will be able to reach my ultimate goal later this year, or next depending on progress.

I have started the sub-50 min programme and will post details so far separately after this. Before then, a bit more background about me and my running history:

Age: just turned 40
Weight: 68kg
Height: 178cm

Previous PBs:
10k 45:06 (2012)
1/2 marathon 1:34:40 (2005)
marathon 3hrs 47mins (2013)

Kms run in recent months:
March so far 78km
Feb 67km
Jan 78km

Progress on sub-50m plan coming after this!
10km in 61:47
Av HR 144
Felt easy and comfortable
Waking HR 55
Felt a bit tired and had a cold previous week so had a rest day
Waking HR 52

2km intervals:
Interval / time / pace / av HR / peak HR
1 / 9:48 / 4:54 / 167 / 172
2 / 9:44 / 4:52 / 172 / 180

Was feeling completely exhausted after the 2nd interval so decided to miss out the 3rd. Several factors, I think still a little tired from previous week's cold and not being used to long intervals, combined with the altitude. Legs were fine, just not able to get enough air in. Also, did a total of 11km including 4km warm up and 1km jogs between intervals, so adjusted this for 1km session.

Waking HR 54

Decided to have a rest day to fully recover for long run day 5.
Waking HR 54

15.01km in 93:35
Av HR 142
Felt good, could have continued but hadn't run over 11km recently so decided to stop there.
Day 6

Waking HR 58
Feeling slightly achy and sleep deprived due to neighbours all night party, so rest day.

Waking HR 52

5.19km in 30:01
Av HR 142

Felt very easy

Waking HR 53

1km Intervals (with 90 sec walking rests):

Interval / time / Av HR / Peak HR / Recovery HR (at end of rest)
1 / 4:30 / 164 / 168 / 129
2 / 4:36 / 161 / 169 / 136
3 / 4:46 / 164 / 173 / 138
4 / 4:48 / 165 / 173 / 142
5 / 4:46 / 167 / 180 / 144

Intervals were still pretty hard but more manageable that the 2km ones. Kept the warm up to 8 mins and cool down to 5 mins. Walked the rests instead of jogging which definitely helped recovery. Again legs felt great! I went off a bit too quickly (had watch on average pace rather than current pace, thought it seemed a bit hard Big Grin).
Generally happy with the above, however as a comparison I was able to do 3x1km intervals at 4:10 pace a few weeks ago when at sea level, so shows how the altitude is limiting!
Up to date now, day 8 was today. Will post more updates soon and look forward to hearing any comments and advice! cheers

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