Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pollution and Performance

Actually the original draft of this post was more or less a personal rant about how bad I was feeling in the past 5 days because of the heat, humidity and pollution.
But making some research, I did come out with a very interesting set of data (taken from the HK Government website) that could give you also an idea of what the athletes in Beijing could face.
(Note: the actual pollution data in Beijing might be very different from those released to the public and also the standard of interpretation of the data is different from the one in Hong Kong)
BBC News keeps their own monitoring station, very interesting pictures and data) ...

So here I list:
  • date/time of workout
  • pollution index (API) at that moment (based on HK standard)
  • personal feeling and actual workout result (it is not a biased opinion, the personal feeling was written in my log right at the end of each workout, while only today I matched them with the pollution data ):

Tuesday 22/7 (6am): felt very easy, HR very low ==> pollution Index (API) was 19 (low)
Wednesday 23/7 (5.30am): excellent workout, felt great, speed/HR ratio was excellent ==> API was 16 (low)
Sunday 28/7 (5am): awful, felt very tired only after few Km of effort ==> API was 63 (High), during the day reached even 170 !! (very high, outdoor activities are discouraged...)
Monday 29/7 (6am): even worse, felt like crap after few km ==> API was 79 (high)
Tuesday 30/7 (6am): mixed feeling, better than the days before but still not good ==> API was 53 (High)
Wednesday 31/7 (5.30am): felt very good, completed a good workout ==> API was actually only 19 because of some changes in the wind pattern.

The bottom line is that:
- Quality of air in major cities in China is crap (including Hong Kong)...
- for Beijing, it all depends on the meteorological condition of the day. If there are light winds or winds from the interior, it will be very tough for the competitors
- from now on, I will also record the API at the time of workout ... it seems affecting my performances more than I expected...

Wednesday 31/7


Sling Runner said...


Do you know any decent hotel near the start area of the JoongAn marathon? Where do you plan to stay?


by7 said...


I have been quite busy for the work recently, so I had not tackled the issue yet (flights, hotel, etc).
From my previous trips to Seoul, the Stadium is in the middle of nowhere (more or less).
I will start the search next week. If you find a place that suits the needs, drop me a line.

running faster with the ALIEN LIZARD said...

seems like conditions are going to be very shitty for the long distance guys and girls, real shame!

Simone said...

amazing the correspondence with your feelings and the air pollution index!!!

But definitely make sense, all our "gasoline" burns using what we breath during the training ... with bad air we probably don't burn as efficiently as with good air, and the training become worst like out feeling about it

Grebe was so right not to go for the olimpic marathon!!!

ps:hopefully the experience of a guy like Baldini will give him a good plus that day, finger crossed for the man