Heart Rate Training – Week 1
Good morning. It’s rest day and I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my training thus far. I did some googling and couldn’t find many blogs that explained how this process went so maybe (maybe!) I can be the first. That of course assumes I keep up with blogging and my track record says that isn’t likely. Still, I have thoughts and this is my own little place in which to share them.
The big started back to school this week. That means a new running schedule for me. Instead of running at night 3 days a week, I will run in town 4 days a week. I keep my long run on Saturday the same. The other change to my running is that I now push the stroller with over 100lbs of child and metal and plastic and supplies. ha.
Monday 8/22 – This was my first stroller run. Incidentally this was also my last run without a heart rate monitor. All of my runs are hard (or had been to this point… we’ll get there). I pushed. I walked some and ran some. I ended up with 2.61 miles at an average pace of 11:44 (10:21, 12:37, 12:51). My goal was to run at an 11 pace and with the weird way my brain works, this was a success. The plus side of training by myself is that my goals/paces don’t have to make sense to anyone else. When I say an 11 pace, that means anywhere from 11:00 to 11:59. lol.
This evening my heart rate monitor came in! I purchased the Polar M400 after tons of research and some wonderful birthday gifts of cash. This was the cheapest watch I could find that did what I want. Basically I wanted runkeeper without my phone. The interval timers are what made it really difficult to find a watch, but eventually I did. The Polar M400 also comes with a heart rate monitor. “What? Ok cool, I guess. I’ll give it a try. Whatever.”
Tuesday 8/23 – First run with my heart rate monitor. Luckily, I hadn’t had enough time to fool with the monitor yet so this run was pretty natural. I didn’t look at plans. I didn’t look at training. I didn’t see what other people were doing. I basically repeated Monday with a strap under my boobs. The run was harder but I wasn’t surprised. I was tired from Monday. I knew the stroller would make things harder for me, so I went with it. I wasn’t the only mom with a double jogger out that day. I made a game of (jokingly) competing with the other mom. I’m sure she has no idea. At the end of our run we kept switching who was in first as we were both taking walking breaks. It was hard but good. I felt like I was on top of the world for pushing myself hard. Hulk smash! Also, this is the run I would have considered an “easy” run. It isn’t intervals. It wasn’t as fast as I could go. Therefor it was easy.
Until I looked at my data… I ran 2.67 miles at 11:12 pace (10:23, 11:37, 11:47). So pretty much like Monday, just a little “better.” wahoo! Those numbers look great. But the HR data… oops. I spent 53% of my run at the 90-100% range (zone 5), 36% at the 80-90% range (zone 4), only 5% at the 70-80% range (zone 3), and 3% each in 60-70% (zone 2) and 50-60% (zone 1). After a little bit of reseach I realized that’s bad.
Let’s back up and talk about my symptoms lately. I’m exhausted. Always tired after a run. Unable to finish long runs. I blamed the heat. The hubs said I was doing “too much.” I took that to mean that I worked out too often and I disagreed. People work out even more often than I was, so that couldn’t be it. It never occurred to me that “over training” could be a quality issue, not just quantity. I also never understood the idea to “run at a pace you could run forever.” I guess my black and white mentality translated a little too well to my running. I run full out or I walk. That’s it. There is no grey.
Time for some more google research. I decided to follow the Polar training plan, sorta. I can’t figure out if there is a way to change days for workouts and I can’t run on Sundays so… I took the recommended workouts and made them work to my schedule. Of course I had already done 2 really hard workouts this week, which meant Wednesday and Thursday would have to be a lighter work load. I decided for a Polar “easy” run Weds and a Polar “medium” run Thurs.
Wednesday 8/24 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. I was feeling confident. I got this! Completed 2.46 miles at 17:14 (15:38, 17:12). Is that even running? For me, the answer was no. I had to walk soooo much to keep my heart rate that low. It was hard. I didn’t want to walk! Good thing I didn’t run into other double jogger mom. Did I mention she also runs with a dog? And she’s faster than me! And she runs farther than me! what would she think?! (I’m kidding of course, sorta.) This run was eye opening. This is the “run forever” zone people talk about. I had never felt it before. It felt good but was that even a workout? This is mentally tough.
Thursday 8/25 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. My big kid was sick and home from school. The double jogger unfortunately only fits 2 (ha! get it?) so I had to postpone my run. I went that night after bedtime which means these times do not have a stroller. They do have increased heat. Maybe that evens things out? I don’t really care. Just trying to share all the facts. Completed 2.68 miles at 15:49 (14:14, 14:58). First thought of course was: soooo sloooowwwwww. It’s hard to go that slow. But I did get to run more than at the 1-2 level (which makes sense). It’s hard to reign myself in when I want to go faster. I want to move because that is what I am used to doing. But I’m committed to figuring this out.
Saturday 8/27 – I woke up ready to go! I had to wait impatiently for the sun to come up. ha. Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 4.67 miles at 15:32 (15:28, 15:33, 15:30, 15:13). It’s important to note that the route near my house is much more hilly than the route in town. So there is a lot more fluctuation in my pace when it’s an uphill mile vs a downhill mile. This is exasperated by trying to stay within the heart rate zones, as sometimes a hill is steep and I have to walk up it. Anyway this run was great. It’s totally humbling to do this. It goes against everything I want to do. Every car that passes I’m like “no! I can run for real! Don’t judge me!” How selfish a thought. Do I really think those cars care about me? I can guarantee one didn’t. I had to jump off the road because he didn’t even see me. So I think he somehow cared that I wasn’t running “fast enough.” ha! Anyway this run really helped me to see the big picture. I ran almost 5 miles. I ran over an hour. I could have kept going. In fact, I ended up running farther than necessary because I wanted to go down and see the deer that just moved in about a mile away. I mean that literally. New family, new fence, cow, horse, deer (and a few dogs and chickens). It’s great!
Prior to the new Polar M400 my long runs were done at a 5:1 (run:walk). I would come home (usually early) exhausted. I couldn’t immediately deal with my family. That sounds horrible but it is true. I would come in, drink a ton of water, use the bathroom (see 2nd break through below), and then lay on the floor for 10+ minutes. I couldn’t function. After this run, I came in and played with my kids. We joked around. I had energy. I felt great. Truly I could have “ran forever” at that pace. I did get tired later in the day but that’s not shocking to me. What struck me was that I could return from a long run, drink some water, and be a part of life. I love that. That alone is reason for me to do this.
I had a lot of time to think during this run. I came up with a goal. Currently my 5 effort is about 10 min pace and not sustainable at all. My 2 effort is 15 min pace. I want to get my 2 to be a 10 min pace. I think at that point I may be able to do a 7 min pace on my 5. We shall see. Of course I’d love my 2 to continue to grow but that is my starting goal. I wonder how long it takes. That is partially why I am putting this here. If I can keep up with the blogging at least once a week, then perhaps someone can stumble upon this and find a time frame to give them an idea. I really have no clue if this is a weeks/months/years goal, but that’s ok.
I had another break through on my long run. Before, I couldn’t go 3 miles without having to run home to use the restroom. Yea, we’re going gross here. It was devastating that I really couldn’t run anymore without seriously aggravating my GI. I wasn’t thinking about it until the end of my long run, but I haven’t gotten the runner runs once since I started doing this. That doesn’t sound like a big deal because it’s only been 4 days BUT this was an every. single. day. occurrence. So I guess more than diet, or hydration, or anything else I was trying, the issue was exertion. Apparently my body doesn’t like to function at a 5 for long periods of time. Who’d have thought.
Today is Sunday and a rest day. I’m happy for that. And I’m happy to start my new week tomorrow. I have a plan so I’ll leave this here for posterity.
Monday – Medium run and weights
Tuesday – Interval run
Wednesday – Easy run
Thursday – Tempo run
Friday – Weights only
Saturday – Long run
Sunday – Rest
I have the hard runs spaced out which I think is good. The week day runs will be done in town pushing 100+lbs. The long run will be done out here by myself.
Definitions for now:
Easy run – 5 min warm up (1-2), 30 min work (1-2), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Medium run – 5 min warm up (1-2), 30 min work (3), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Interval run – 15 min warm up (1-3), 4x 3 min work (4-5) + 2 min work (3), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Tempo run – 15 min warm up (1-2), 13 min work (3), 12 min work (4), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Long run – 10 min warm up (1-2), 50 min work (2), 5 min cool down (1-2)
I see no reason to change these right now. The distances will grow and the pace will increase as my respiratory system improves. So the workouts don’t really need to change. As an aside, this is the first time I have ran for time (not distance) since I did c25k last summer (and in the spring of 2010). It’s kinda cool how it works out. I don’t have to keep increasing my training because it will happen naturally. Then when it comes time to (aka my HR is where I want it), I can increase my long run time to add even more miles, or switch up my interval runs by adding more intervals. Really I can increase the time on any/all my workouts to add more work. But I think staying within the 5k range is good for now.
I’m really excited about this. My mechanics are good (or good enough) but apparently my respiratory system was lacking. I’m excited to train it and excited to see where I can go. I have a friend who told me it takes here 2 miles to get her heart rate up. It takes me 1 min 30 sec. lol! It also makes the instagram workouts I see make so much more sense. People will post that they warmed up for 2 miles, then ran hard for 3 miles, then cooled down for a mile. I always think how? How on earth do you do that? My warm up would knock me out and I couldn’t run any harder. It really just didn’t compute in my head. But now it makes sense. And now I’ll be doing that workout on Thursday for my tempo run. And really I’ll be doing the same concept on Tuesday with my interval run. Those are the 2 I am most looking forward to because those are the 2 I haven’t done yet. But really I am looking forward to all of my runs. I’m so excited again.
I read on Shut Up + Run an article about starting HR training. What she said made a lot of sense to me. Of course she complained about the speed which I agree with 100%. She also mentioned that it is hard to accurately gauge your perceived exertion if you aren’t accustomed to doing so. That is so true. I never imagined I was pushing this hard, and yet I was. It’s kinda cool to think that I was pushing that hard. Like woah! I’m a bad a! Look what I was doing! But at the same time, it’s not a good thing. Haha. So I need to learn how to dial back. I need to find that grey area and embrace it. And I’m excited to see what comes of all of this.
Random ending thought: Hubby and I had decided to step back from half marathons after the balloon festival in September. I wanted to focus on 5ks because I was feeling so worn down by the half marathon training. And it’s not like I’m ready at all, or will even be ready by the time the race gets here. I’ve trained all summer and will still end up winging the race like I did last time. But now, seeing how it feels to run long and not feel like I’m dying (hello 1hr 12 min run Saturday), maybe I do want to train for half marathons. Or maybe I just want to run half marathon training distances without committing to anything. That’s probably the best place to be for now.