Just having a look at some of the heart rate charts from a few runs. Interesting to see the difference some time has made and what changes with pace.

This first is ~ 5K on a treadmill at just under 10 min/mi pace over. I usually have a 1% incline going at minimum for the whole run. This was a fairly casual run.

This below was a faster run. Just slightly over 9 min/mi pace.
And the yellow and red guy at the bottom here was an actual 5K race at just under 9 min/mi pace. The run above was 28m27s and the below was 28m10s. Close enough for comparison for me. The Race was at the beginning of December, the run above was mid-January.
I know I’ve gained a bit of cardio fitness back, but if I was a betting man, I’d say that the major difference between these to runs was the difference made by 16 pounds of body weight. While I had some spikes over 90% (the red), this was a comfortable run. For the race on the other hand, I was busting ass with the help of some good old fashioned race adrenaline. You can see I was at 80% of my max HR right away and just slowly crept up over time. In the run above, I was able to slow down and take a breather and still catch back up to nearly the same pace without overdoing my HR.
So, if there is a point to this post, I think it is that counting calories and dropping some pounds is a pretty solid way to improve your running. It’s good for me to recognize, because typically when I train for distance, I eat like a total asshole cause I figure I can just burn it off. I’ll be interested to see how I can progress with watching what I eat and training.
And here’s a couple more improving on pace. This is from Saturday, January 22nd. Getting on 2 months after the race above which again was a 28m10s 5K. The first 27m45 below is 5K at the beginning of an 8K run.
And this below is a 5K the day right after the above at 27m35s. So pushing the pace a bit and eschewing recovery. Monday was my rest day, so I’m interested to see what things look like when I run tonight. Looking at these charts now, I know for sure that I can push to pace more. I think my goal tonight will be to get things under 9min/mile for the whole run. At 5K, I want to keep pushing down to 8m30s at 5K and then push that distance and pace out to 10K. If I can keep that up over the next couple months, I’m feeling good about crushing my Shamrock Shuffle PR in April.