So, I mentioned that I was kinda shocked at how much faster I am this year, so I decided to look at the data from 1/18/2016 vs 2/9/2015, and well, the results are interesting.
1:43 average lap
1:16 average puzzle
1:40 average lap (3% faster)
0:44 average puzzle (42% faster!!!)
I'm certainly surprised by this. The first Q-Bitz puzzle tonight where I said I felt like a klutz? 45 seconds, which would have been the fastest of them all last year. In fact, I didn't solve a single puzzle in under a minute last year. In fact, my slowest puzzle tonight (1:05) was about the same as the fastest puzzle last year (1:04).
The only explanation I can think of is that I wasn't pushing the running hard enough, which made the puzzles a lot easier, and it made my motor skills better (moving the little cubes around is hard when the heart rate is up). But I'm surprised that the puzzles improved that much. I haven't done Q-Bitz at all (running or not) since last March.
Aside from the last 400's in each set, I was in the 1:40-1:46 range for each lap, which is pretty much the average of last year. I pushed the last ones faster, with a 1:29 in the first set and a 1:19 in the second set when Mo was pushing me.
Tonight I did two sets of 6x400 with 1 puzzle rest. I think I'll extend them out a bit coming up.
1/25: 7x400, 6x400
2/01: 8x400, 7x400
2/08: 8x400, 8x400
NICE! Good job getting out there!
I would attribute your improvement to being able to run the same speed with a clearer head. That's how I felt at Putney. It didn't seem like I was moving faster per se, but rather that I could move at the same speed and think more clearly.
The running felt easier, yes. I think my body also didn't want to go hard because of the dead legs from Sunday, so I just settled into a fast, but not crazy pace.
The puzzles didn't feel faster, though. I was still cursing under my breath, still twisting the little blocks around without finding the right surface, still fumbling things a little bit. Honestly, there's still a little bit of me that's suspect of the time improvements... it'd take a video of me last year vs. this year to actually make it sink in.
Another theory I had was that it was really cold last year and my fingers were cold. Nope, it was 52 degrees last year, and 49 this year.
Another thing... the running times were faster and easier this year... with less rest in between, so that's something to consider, too.
What would be great is if you had heart rate data from last year vs. this year.
And not only if you had HR data, but if you had done a HR zone test before and more recently to know where your thresholds are and if they've moved.
My guess is that you've improved your aerobic and/or anaerobic threshold.
Yeah, more science would be great!