This article describes setting run pace and heart rate threshold values at the beginning of my training for the Adidas Manchester Marathon 2023.

The first week of 2023 coincides with the beginning of my training block into the Adidas Manchester Marathon.

At the start of each training block and phase it can be useful to check threshold pace and heart rate values to ensure that training zones are accurately set for the remainder of the block. This is probably more true when not coached and following a plan without further interactive guidance.

Threshold tests are actually very straightforward to do - go as hard as you can hold for 30 minutes, and record the average pace and average heart rate through that interval. Ideally the terrain will be fairly flat, for easy comparison with earlier workouts.

Living within 200m of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, I always carry out my (run) threshold tests on the canal. It is flat, and if time correctly, 200m from the shower at the end!

Barden Mill, at the start of the run.
Looking back to Barden Mill from the warm-down at dusk.

I ran around 15:30, leaving just enough time to complete the run before running out of light. The sky was bright and clear, though cold enough to regret not taking a pair of thin gloves on the warmup.

I spent the first 5 minutes firmly in Zone 2, running gently around 6min/km. After which 30 minutes as fast as I could hold. I find that my asthma does not generally cope well with running in cold air, and I had trained hard on Fulgaz the night before also - so while I probably could have pushed a little harder, my asthma felt under control at all times.

That being so I was relatively pleased with a threshold pace of 5:13/km. I last set run thresholds in April 2021, and despite a couple of pretty crappy running years, that is a 15 second improvement. Threshold heart rate dropping slightly from 176 to 171 confirming either that I did hold a little in reserve, or just that I'm getting older.

I like some of the enhancements that Suunto have made allowing synchronisation of workouts to the Suunto 9 directly from TrainingPeaks. I'll write more on that in a subsequent article, though the watch showing intended and average interval pace is incredibly useful for athletes with my attention span!