Heart Rate Training – Week 13

***NOTE: This is the first week of lowering my MAF threshold from 150 to 145. Also the first week of quitting BBG and running only. So the first week of running 4 days instead of 3. I am not writing in my walks, however I plan to walk any afternoon that I do not have errands to run (M-Th). Fridays and Sundays will be complete rest unless we do something as a family. I have tracked these in the past as “runs” but I won’t be doing that any more. My mileage may go down because of this (as recorded), but I want to differentiate between what should be a run and what was a scheduled walk from the beginning.

***ANOTHER NOTE: I missed my MAF test Saturday (family things happening and weather issues). It is possible I will not have another MAF test until February-ish. I will try to get one in as soon as I can, but a long run is easier if we have limited time on a Saturday.

And this is where I fell off. I’m not positive what week this was. It is possible I ran that Monday and it is possible I didn’t run at all that week. I haven’t run since.

Things have gotten crazy and I will update soon. I look forward to getting started again in January. I will re-number the weeks beginning at 1. I’m essentially starting over after an almost month long break. I’m also going to start with running 3 days and then move up to 4 after a while. I want to make sure I don’t wear out my legs by jumping in too fast, but I don’t really know how to know what is reasonable. There will be another post on this as well.

 

Merry Christmas to everyone!

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Heart Rate Training – Week 12

Last week doesn’t count! I had a cold at the end of the week 11 and managed to get my race in BUT (big but there) I felt horrible after! So I skipped my BBG. I had a head cold that morphed into a chest cold. I also had all 3 kids home (2 seats in the stroller). I didn’t feel well until Thursday morning. I still wasn’t 100% but there was definite improvement. So I went for a run. I ended up cutting it short because my HR was shooting up so high and taking a while to come down. It is fascinating how my HR shows that I wasn’t really better, even though I felt much better than before. Exciting things happened starting Friday and I missed my run Saturday as well. So I’m beginning this week on a week of rest, and also with an extra BBG day (week 4 – Friday) to catch up with.

As to the exciting things, I cannot elaborate right now. I should be able to share (or not) within a week or two. In the mean time, I will not be increasing my long runs. I will still do my MAF test this week because data! However, I will keep my long runs at 1 hr 5 min. I don’t want to drop to less than 3 days a week of running, but I can’t afford to spend any extra time away from the home at this point. Exciting things!

In general, I’m excited to get back to running this week. I’m also a little nervous. I hope that an entire week of rest makes this week easier for me. Hopefully my body will be nice and rested/recovered and ready to jump back in to it. My fear, on the other hand, is that a week of no workouts will have killed my ability to “do it all” and I will struggle this week. I don’t really want to be exhausted! We shall see, I suppose.

Monday 11/28 – Planned medium run of 50 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 40 minutes work at 3 heart rate (MAF), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG (catch up). Completed 3.35 miles at 14:55 (Warm up 15:40, Work 14:28, Cool down 18:46).
I started out strong but had trouble keeping my HR down towards the end. It seems to be at the same spot (close to the park) where I start having trouble. The elevation data doesn’t work for some reason, so I can’t see if I’m right. It feels like we go downhill to that point and then a steeper grade uphill into the park. That means on the way back I get a short downhill followed by a gradual uphill the whole way back. It feels that way and my HR acts as if that’s the case. I can’t wait until I can run the whole way without having to stop so often to walk. I may try going over the tracks instead, but I think that way has steeper hills. There’s nothing particular to report about this run. I do feel like I went farther than my last 50 minute MAF run, but I had stomach issues the last time so it wouldn’t be surprising.
I also completed BBG week 4 (full body). I was not feeling well at all after lunch but I didn’t want to miss. I took my time going through the moves and got it done. There was no award for speed, but I’m proud of completing it.

I read somewhere (credible, although I don’t have a link) about push up form. I read that I was doing it wrong. My arms were too far out from my body. I didn’t understand why this was bad, and so I did some more research. I found a video discussing the shoulder joint and location of the bursa there. I learned that, if your arms are up at 90 degrees (the exact angle is less than that, but 90 is included), your bursa is ineffective and you can cause damage to your shoulder. For this reason, it is recommended that you keep your hands closer to your body while you do push ups. This keeps the angle of your shoulder down and allows the bursa to do it’s job. This made sense to me so I decided to make the change. Wow! It’s a lot harder to do push ups this way. I am assuming this is because I was using different muscles when I did them with wide arms. I hope that, as I get stronger, I will get better at doing them this way. It’s a little humbling. I could bang out the push ups before and now I am slow. I have to take breaks. Keeping my core tight is so much more challenging and necessary (I think that is a good thing). The morning after, my front shoulders (upper chest?) are so tight! I can feel that I did something different. It doesn’t feel bad at all, just like using unused muscles.

Tuesday 11/29 – Planned walk of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 40 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed BBG and my walk (forgot to start the watch).

Wednesday 11/30 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 40 minutes work at 3 heart rate (MAF), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 2.9 miles at 15:23 (Warm up 15:47, Work 14:21, Cool down 19:51).

Thursday 12/1 – Planned walk of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 40 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed BBG only.

Friday 12/2 – Planned rest.

Saturday 12/3 – Planned MAF test (5 miles). 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 65 minutes work at 3 heart rate (MAF), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate, and BBG.  Rested.

 

Confession

Have you noticed that I change my workout plan nearly every week? I’m always adding or taking away or changing. I always have some great scheme of how or why or when I will do XYZ to make things happen. But nothing is happening. I’m not loosing weight or belly fat. Apparently this bothers me a lot more than I even realized myself.

I talked to my husband tonight about my workouts. With the big changes going on, I’m not able to leave my BBG equipment out. It would be easier (significant stress relief) if I just quit BBG and put the stuff away for now. But I don’t *want* to. I’m not enjoying BBG this time, but I do enjoy getting stronger. My husband said “You know I think you work out too much. I just stopped saying it because you didn’t listen.” What?! No I didn’t know that. Honestly, every time he said that I made changes. I explained that to him, and that because he no longer said anything I thought he was on board. He said I made changes but not reductions. I still work out 10 times a week. I pointed out that it was 6 times, but conceded the point.

If I cut out BBG (spoiler alert: I am) I will be down to 3 workouts a week. This doesn’t seem like enough for me. So I’m going to do 4. I will run Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday (when I can). I will walk as often as I can in the afternoons, no longer trying to stick to certain days.

My weight loss/exercise this past year jumps around a lot.

  • Summer of 2015 I started running again. I did the Zombie 5k program and finished it about the time school started.
  • Fall of 2015 I ran 5 days a week until I was injured in October. It was IT band related.
    • I went from 136lbs to 128lbs. I did not do any strength training. I probably walked some because I like walking. Plus life.
  • Winter of 2015/2016 I was on full rest. This stunk. My weight was sporadic but I bottomed out at 126 when I began BBG.
  • Spring of 2016 I did BBG. Got down to 121. When BBG stopped in April, I took a break from exercise. I completed a half marathon in February (completely untrained) and possibly got a stress fracture in my foot. Finishing BBG was difficult because my feet hurt so bad. I stopped running and was relieved when BBG was over. I gained up to 124.
    • My weight is sporadic throughout all of this. I track it daily and just look at the highest starting weight and lowest weight towards the end. I just say that to say my weight graph was not a steady down for the year. There was tons of movement, but the general trend went down 15 lbs.
    • Also to note, I lost 4 lbs in the first week of doing BBG. I assume this was water consumption and watching my diet.
    • Finally, lest you think I’m stuck on the scale, these numbers accurately reflect how I felt about my body at the time. I was soft prior to BBG. At the end of BBG my body was much leaner (dropped multiple jean sizes) and my belly was not nearly as flabby as it had been. I was also (obviously) much stronger, but this discussion focuses on my appearance and how I feel about it.
  • Summer of 2016 I began running again (mid June). I started being “serious”at this point. I ran 3x a week (tempo, interval, and long) and lifted 3x a week. I began lifting heavy weights. I really enjoyed this and maintained it to school starting in August.
    • July 30th I weight 127. I did not notice this happen, to be honest.
  • Fall of 2016 I started running only. In September I ran 5x a week. Unfortunately I did not track my weight at all during this time. I completed my second half marathon at the end of September and took 2 weeks of rest. I started “heart rate training” in September, but in October I began using the Maffetone method. Prior to that I ran by HR but did not yet know about aerobic/anaerobic training. I weighed myself October 10th and weighed 131. When I began the Maffetone method for running I also restarted BBG. I wrote about how I wanted to lose weight doing this and how BBG had worked so well for me in the past. November 4th I was 132. That is about what I am right now at week 5 of BBG.

Things I notice:

  1. I saw the most improvement in my appearance when I did BBG the first time. During this time I was very careful of my diet/hydration. I also followed her program exactly, not adding any extra workouts. I originally said I lost the most weight then, but that is not true. The scale went down more prior to BBG when I just ran, but I was really happy with how my body tightened up during BBG. I never had abs or anything. I was still soft in a feminine way, but I felt good about how my belly looked.
    • My logic in restarting BBG was that, with BBG plus running, I would surely have even more progress. That has not happened. I also haven’t stuck to my water or diet as well as I should. I’m not really sure what my diet should be for weight loss right now but that’s probably another post.
    • When I started running right after BBG, I was significantly faster than I was pre BBG. I lost that speed over the summer.
  2. The biggest difference on the scale happened when I was just running. At the time I ran hard every time I ran (4 stroller runs and 1 long run). I pushed myself every single time and lost a lot of weight. I also got a significant injury. Great progress but not repeatable. ha.
    • I did not have a HR monitor at the time, but I believe I was actually running my long runs aerobically. The times match up, and I worked hard to run slow so that I could increase my mileage.
  3. Since ramping up my exercise (summer and fall) I Have gained  11 lbs. More than just the number, I can see it. My jeans fit tighter. My belly is looser than it has been. I just feel soft in a not-good way. Like flabby soft, not feminine soft.
  4. I claim to want to try the Maffetone method, however I’m not really doing it. I imagine, if I were to sit down with him, he would give me a list of things I am doing wrong:
    • I am too stressed out. I feel myself being short with my kids. I’m not sure what exactly is the main stressor, but something (or things) has me stressed.
    • I am over training, possibly not for normal life, but in light of my stress I am doing too much.
    • I am including anaerobic weight training.
    • My target HR for my aerobic runs is too high.
    • I eat too much crap – sugar especially.
    • I don’t dink enough water.

I don’t have a big summary to this. I’m vomiting my current thoughts out into the internet (always a good idea). I suppose I’ll end this like I end pretty much every post, with a new  plan.

  • No more BBG. I feel like a “quitter” but that’s dumb and I need to get over it.
  • Run 4x a week (M, W, TH & S). For now all of my runs will be the same – aerobic of varying distances. I will continue to build my distance, so eventually I will hit a point where my Saturday runs slow down to a more traditional “long run.”
  • Focus on drinking enough water.Track calories again. I need to figure out my goal, but I will keep track of my weight and calories daily so that I have better data to look at later.

      Side note: I know weighing daily doesn’t work for most people. It does for me. I honestly hadn’t looked at my past data until I started this post. It was fascinating to see that, when I thought I was really working out and doing great, I was actually just gaining weight and losing my progress on belly flab. I’m grateful that I had kept the data for the most part. I think it can be an important tool in analyzing what works for you, if you can handle not fixating on the daily number. Another reason I like weighing daily is that I can clearly see how my diet/water consumption affects me. As an example, I remember a day during BBG when we went to CiCi’s. I knew we would and planned ahead. I knew the calories in the pizza I liked and how many pieces I could have. I even had extra in lieu of dessert. The next day the scale had not gone up. I had successfully managed a “cheat” meal. Another time I ate something and gained 3lbs over night. Obviously that is impossible, but I knew that whatever I had eaten differently did not sit right with my body. I could also tell the days I didn’t drink enough water because the scale would inch up a little more than the usual fluctuation.

        All that to say, you do you. Weighing daily works for me but not for everyone.

It is silly because looking at this now it looks like a balanced workout schedule. However, when I started typing this I was anxious and upset about the idea of working out less. I still am when I put it that way. But I’m going to try this and see how it goes. Hopefully, if nothing else, my stress will drop. I love running and now I get to do a little more of it.

MAF Musings 2

I’ve been digging in to the book but I haven’t gotten far. Really, I’ve just gotten to the test portion so pretty much the beginning. It has given me so much to think about though.

Here’s the thing. He says to lower your training if you are stressed. I am so analytical and detail oriented that I can become stressed just by figuring out if I need to lower my training! I am running 3 days a week and wish I was running more BUT I am doing BBG 3 days a week and I realize I need to make concessions for that. So I guess I don’t think I need to lower it more, but I do recognize that I cannot add more in.

Another thing stressing me out is my MAF heart rate. I chose to do 180 – my age with no modifier. The more I think about it, I think maybe that is too high. He says people tend to choose too high. When I first figured it out I went back and forth between dropping 5 more points (for allergies and random illnesses). He advises you go with the lowest if you are unsure. So I think I will make my HR goal 145 instead of 150. He says there is no harm in choosing the wrong number if you choose a little low. Ideallly you will be right on the money so that you can train at the highest possible range, but going over is bad. So being unsure, I could be going over for my entire workout and not knowing it.

I don’t feel like I’m making progress. That isn’t based on anything but gut feeling. I can list a bajillion reasons this may be: training with too high a HR, BBG (which is anaerobic no matter how slow according to the book), diet, personal stuff going on (stress), hormonal issues (hello thyroid), medications (hello thyroid again). Some of these can be fixed and some cannot. Some I choose not to.

  1. training with too high a HR – as mentioned above, I think I may be doing this. I will lower it 5 points and give it a shot
  2. BBG – I don’t want to quit midway. I am on week 5. I think I will finish out the cycle (which takes us to February) and then find something to do afterwards. I understand it may be hurting my aerobic improvement, however I do not understand what I can do instead. I’m sure the book will get there. I recognize that strength training is important, but it feels like (so far) he’s saying not to do any! But he doesn’t straight up say “don’t strength train.” So I’m assuming there is more to be addressed later in the book. I will choose not to adjust this right now, but choose not to continue with BBG after this round.
  3. Diet – tricky one here. Christmas is coming up. I want to bake and enjoy the holiday. I’m stressed out from so many other things that I’m not sure it is a good time for me to make big diet changes, even if it would be beneficial to my body. What is the trade off? Increased stress but better quality meals, or lower quality meals but not meal induced stress? I do plan to try the 10 day test after Christmas but depending on below this may have to wait until February.
  4. Personal stuff – I’m not going to go in to detail here. There *may* be big changes going on in my life. I should know yes/no in the next week or so. After that, either life will return to status quo (which is honestly quite appealing), or life will get even more hectic. If things get even crazier, they should level out around February. There’s nothing to be done for this. I am trying to put it in God’s hands and be prepared to accept either possibility. I am trying to do this with sanity and calm, but there is a lot of work and a lot of requirements of me. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect my stress level to drop considerably in the immediate future.
    • A second point on this one. If this happens and I survive (heh) until February, I should be in a really good place as far as my home responsibilities go. That should translate nicely to our new, changed, existence and result in a decrease from even my “normal” stress levels with how things are now. It’s just a matter of surviving, right?
  5. Hormones and medications go together – if I don’t take the meds I lose my hair so they stay. Perhaps in improving my diet I can improve my overall health (that’s the whole point of this book, yea?) and no longer need to take these medications but until then… I also can’t take off my prenatal because I am still nursing so these I cannot or choose not to change.

So that’s where I sit. The things I can change are diet and exercise. I choose not to make many changes so really I’m just going to lower my training HR.

It’s hard to place my finger on why I think I’m not progressing. The thing is that my first test was a little bit of a dud. I felt good with it – a little bummed I was so slow, but confident that I had done well, but then my next run (a hilly out and back as compared to my test run on a flat quarter mile loop a few days after) was much faster. What? That makes no sense. So I consider it a bit of a wash. That’s actually a good thing because I can pretend in my head that I haven’t actually done a test yet. lol.
I’ve been struggling the latter part of my week day runs lately. I feel great going out but my HR struggles at the end. You can see it on my graphs as well. I’m decently steady going out, and then my pace is up and down as I run – walk – run – walk – run – walk and try to keep my HR low. I have this personal problem (does anyone else do this?) where I don’t really remember anything before. I’m not talking about long term memory loss, I do remember the past, but I don’t remember a few weeks ago. Really, I would say Thanksgiving is the cut off right now. I got sick the week before thanksgiving (Thursday/Friday ish) and ran that 5k sick. Then I was really sick Monday/Tuesday and walked with a friend. Then by Thursday I was feeling better and tried to run but my HR spiked and I came home. I didn’t run again until Monday. I haven’t ran on the weekend since then so only my Mon/Weds stroller runs. Every one of them (I think) I have had this problem. It’s like I’m great to a point and then my heart just can’t handle it any more. Is this because I’m still recovering from illness? How long does that take anyway? It was just a head cold. I suppose I should look at older runs and see what it was like before then.

I’m to the point where I understand my HR shows so much about my body (more than how fast I can go, and into how healthy I am) but I’m not knowledgeable (yet) enough to diagnose it. But I’m certain it means something. (See above).

So February. The holidays will be over, the personal stress will be passed (or nearly), the kids will be back in school, and I should be ready to tackle this again. I plan on doing a new MAF test, doing whatever strength workout is not going to hurt me, and really tackling this as a means of getting healthy. I will try the 10 day dietary test. I will go all out to try to get better healthy and aerobically. I will do what I can until then, but that will be my big kicking off point. I hate that it is so far off, but I think it is unreasonable to decide to do it before then with everything else going on.

These posts are always so rambling. I find myself with so many words and my husband gets sick of hearing it. I process by speaking though. If anyone is actually reading this (I don’t believe anyone is), I would appreciate prayers as our family makes transitions. Thank you.

Heart Rate Training – Week 11

The best laid plans right? I changed my mind again.

Monday night I was tired. Not just tired, but exhausted. Hubby was out working in the shop and after cleaning up from the day I couldn’t stay awake to wait for him to come in. I read a little of Maffetone’s book but couldn’t keep my eyes open.
One thing he said stuck with me. He talks about how over-training doesn’t necessarily mean your training is wrong or too much. He talks about how it’s all related to your life as a whole. So, while my training plan is sound, perhaps I am so tired because my life is crazy busy and a little bit stressful (the mental plays a part as well). So after having trouble getting up Tuesday morning I decided to make (another and hopefully final) change.

So here’s the plan:

  • Monday – medium run at MAF heart rate
  • Tuesday – BBG and walk
  • Wednesday – medium run at MAF heart rate
  • Thursday – BBG and walk
  • Friday – rest
  • Saturday – long run (see other post for that spiel) and BBG
  • Sunday – rest

I am sticking with the idea that all of my runs are technically “recovery” effort because of the low HR. So there’s no need to double up my more difficult workouts on the same day to have a real rest. My most “difficult” run is a rest. The exception could be the long run, but that has to be doubled up anyway to allow for 2 rest days so it just works out.

This also works better with my life. 2 days a week I get to come home and do BBG in between kiddo drop offs. That frees up so much time for me (and mental stress from trying to fit it in) by getting it done early. Then I can go walk in the afternoon between kiddo pick ups. I’m already out, so instead of sitting in the car I’ll walk around the neighborhood by the school. I’m really excited to give this a try.

 

Monday 11/14/16 – Planned medium run of 50 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 40 minutes work at 3 heart rate (MAF), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 2.76 miles at 15:49. I turned the program off when I decided to walk, so I don’t have my usual data. My splits were 13:43, 14:53, and 19:43 (partial). I got really sick while I was out. I felt horrible. I ended up walking back to avoid a horrible bathroom embarrassment. Ugh! I haven’t felt like that in so long! Actually I haven’t felt like that at all since I started working out at a lower heart rate. For that reason, I’m assuming it was not related to the workout alone. I felt sick Sunday night but thought I was fine in the morning but apparently not. You can really see how poorly I felt in my splits. The fastest split includes the walking warm up. ha!

Tuesday 11/15/16 – Planned walk of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate (MAF), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 2.19 miles at 18:52 (Warm up 18:54, Work 19:14, Cool down 17:16). I didn’t wear the heart rate monitor. It seems less important for the walks. Plus with all of those hills I don’t have much of a say. I’m pushing a hundred something pounds and going up hills – if it goes up it goes up. So maybe that will be part of the new deal: no heart rate monitor on the walks.
BBG went great! I got a little nauseous but I had a great time reminiscing on my first time through the program. I remembered how weeks 2/4 were the hardest for me. I couldn’t hardly do it. I hated them and just wanted them over. Today was fun though! I can tell I’m getting stronger and it just feels great that something that was so hard for me before is just another workout now.

Wednesday 11/16/16 – Planned walk of _ minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, _ minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 3.09 miles at 15:10 (Warm up 17:30, Work 13:49, Cool down 18:48). This run cemented my thoughts that Monday’s stomach issues were a one off. I felt great. I am noticing a few trends on the trail though. Past the train tracks, on the way to the park, there are a lot of up hills. I struggle to run this without my heart rate getting too high. It really throws off my groove, because I have trouble maintaining my heart rate after that which, in theory, should be easier because it is downhill. But it’s not. I struggle basically the whole way back. I’m sure it’s something about the hills hitting when am reaching a point where my body is more tired anyway.
I spent this run thinking about the 5k on Friday. It’s been a long time since I attempted to do anything fast. I really don’t even know what “fast” is to me any more. I don’t want to gas myself but I want to push myself and perform the best that I can. I really don’t know what that feels like. This is how I get stuck in my head. Anyway I’m going to talk to the hubby (we’re going to run together) but I think maybe I want to try an 11 min pace on the first mile and aim for negative splits. I’m really just worried about getting excited, feeling great, and gassing. I have not ran a 5k in over 5 years AND the only 5ks I’ve ever done were when I couldn’t run 3 miles. So this is basically my first 5k as a runner. I know I can run 3 miles – no problem. Now I just want to run it as fast as I can. It’s funny having done 2 half-marathons as my only races since I started running. It puts me in a really weird place mentally. I keep thinking I have to get my pacing right because there is no time to correct it. In 13 miles, if I start too fast, I have time to recover and then get going again. There is plenty of time to make changes and corrections. But a 5k will be done in less than 45 minutes if I walk (which I won’t). The other thought is that, with the Maffetone training that I am doing, I am not able to run fast EVER. It’s frustrating. In fact, I’m pretty sure this race is not approved but whatever. So I want to make the best of it. If I get one day in 6 months to go fast, darn it I want to go fast! Ha! Ok maybe I need a glass of wine or something to get out of my head. I just want to have fun!

Thursday 11/17/16 – Planned walk of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, _ minutes work at 3 heart rate (MAF), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 1 miles at 29:15 (wu 26:32, work 29:59, cd skipped) and BBG. We had 3 4 year olds walking with us. It was a lot of fun to walk with them and see them enjoy running around.

Friday 11/18/16 – Planned rest.

Saturday 11/19/16 – Coyote Chase Race 5k and BBG, maybe.

Sunday 11/20/16 – Planned rest.

Week 11: 13.1 miles

Coyote Chase Race 5k

It was COLD this morning! We have had highs in the 80s for the last week or so, but last night a cold front came in and this morning’s race started at 39 degrees. I was freaking out last night because I didn’t really know what to wear. I was NOT prepared for this coldness!

We got there early and warmed up with a short walk/jog. Then we hung around waiting for the start. Derek and I ran together – kinda – but not really. We started together anyway. I saw the kiddos as we took off but I don’t think any of them actually saw me. I was past them when I saw and yelled for them. We were still in a huge crowd so I don’t know that they saw me.

Side note, this is the first time my children have come to an event. We didn’t try for Cowtown (cold) and they didn’t get to come to Plano Balloon Festival because of the storms. It was emotional and absolutely awesome to see them cheering me on and waving from the side. The second time we ran in to them, Derek was a little ahead of me. I saw him pick them up one at a time and spin them around. This cost him a medal in the end, but it was totally worth it to see them having fun seeing us at a race. So much love!

The first mile passed quickly. I was a little confused when my watch beeped. We started out up hill but my pace was great. Before hand, I had figured I would start at 11 minutes. That would be a fast pace but would allow me to have negative splits. It was really a shot in the dark since I had no clue what speed I could race at. I’ll be honest, running in my aerobic heart rate zone all the time messes with my head. I had no clue how fast I was capable of running. I just knew I didn’t want to gas. So that first mile I ran in 9:09. What?! A lady passed us telling her daughter “we’re going to try to keep a 9 minute pace” and I was like “why are you with me then?”

I did get slower, but that’s ok. Mile 2 was also uphill? In fact, I think the whole thing was up hill! Not much to report from mile 2. Derek was ahead of me a little bit. I took off my ear warmers. We ran in to the kids for the second time in this stretch. It was so cold out there but they looked so happy.  I ran this in 10:44.

Mile 3 I started feeling sick. Apparently it was a bad idea to eat a big greasy breakfast before my first hard run in months. Who would have thought? I had to walk a little bit on a hill. I was actually looking at businesses trying to find a place to use the restroom but everything was closed. The stomach pain passed pretty quickly and I was able to speed up again. I finished mile 3 in 11:13.

I was pretty gassed at the end. We went up hill (again) and I was struggling. I saw the kids waiting by the finish line though and pushed myself through. I sprinted in at the very end (well as best I could with what I had left) and finished strong in 32:34.

This was big for me. This is the first 5k I have ran since having my youngest 2 kids. I ran the Mom Run 5k 5/7/11 in 43:52 (lots of walking) and the Dad Fest 5k 6/12/10 in 48:09 (mostly walking). So I PRed by 11 minutes and 18 seconds. Ha! I also came in First in my age division (women 30-34) so I got a medal. My personal goal was to run sub 33 and I accomplished that as well. The plan was to run 11 and then post negative splits, but I got there a different way. ha! So all in all it was a great race and a lot of fun. I can see how 5ks could be addicting and I’m excited that we get to do 4 next year!

I compared my runs of similar distances since “ever” and found something that shocked me. I knew that this was a good time for me now and it is by far a PR for official races, but I had no idea how I stacked up to before my injury last year. I ran a lot then and I always see last year as being a time when I was in “better” shape. So I searched my Running Ahead archives. I viewed anything from 3.0 to 3.5 miles (since we aren’t looking at races here) and then sorted by pace and… PR there too! My next fastest time was in August, then March, then June and THEN 2015. March was nearly a full minute slower and August was 47 seconds (average pace here, not total time since the distances are not exact). I remember August. That was before I started my Maffetone training. I was doing sprints, long runs and speed runs. For the speed run, I would either run 1 mile as fast as I could (the beginning of summer) or run 3 miles as fast as I could (August). I just can’t believe that this is my personal best time. I’m ecstatic and it makes me a little emotional. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and the progress I’m making. It’s back to the slow for me, but I can’t wait to see the progress I make in the next race we do.

Heart Rate Training – Week 10

Monday 11/7 – 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 skipped my run due to rain all day. I caught up on BBG by finishing Week 2 Full Body.

Tuesday 11/8 – 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 and BBG. Completed 3.06 miles at 13:46 (Warm up 13:26, Work 13:10, Cool down 17:59).
The rain lately has been insane. I was unable to run in the morning or at pickup time because there was so much rain. I did get my run in later, after hubby got home. For some reason, my times were way faster than Saturday. I don’t know if I was more into it, or the temperature made a difference, or what happened. I assumed it would be slower because I was running in light rain, after working out that morning, on hilly terrain. Apparently that was not the case.
I did BBG earlier in the day. It was legs and cardio day and I decided to give it a try staying below my MAF HR.  I did have to stop frequently to let my HR get down, but I feel like it was better than going high. Of course, I read in his book today that HR doesn’t really count on strength type exercises and that they should be considered anaerobic no matter what. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

Wednesday 11/9 – 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.  Completed 2.37 miles at 17:18 (Warm up 16:29, Work 17:15, Cool down 18:51). I walked/ran off and on. I was pushing the stroller which makes me slower, but I don’t want to just make these easy days walks. I need to start pushing myself a littler harder to actually run some.

Thursday 11/10 – 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 and BBG. Completed 2.83 miles at 13:35 (wu 13:52, work 13:15, cd 16:57). I was getting ready for a birthday party here at the house so I didn’t get to run until the evening. The run felt good. I did end up racing a dog at the end. I mean that literally, I wasn’t being chased. I sprinted up a hill close to my house. According to Polar my max speed on that sprint was 5:45. What?! I don’t know that I have ever ran that fast before in my life! It was super fun, although probably detrimental to my MAF training.

Friday 11/12 – Planned rest.

Saturday 11/13 – Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 3 heart rate (MAF), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate, and BBG.  Completed 5.30 miles at 13:10 (wu 13:47, work 12:26, cd 18:07).
I decided to increase the HR for my long run after speaking with someone from the Maffetone website. I asked if it was necessary to be running 3x a week at a speed lower than my maximum aerobic HR. His short response was no. So I increased the HR on my “long” run and went out. I made it to the end of the next street when I had to run home for a potty break. Take 2 took me the rest of the way. About a mile out I stopped because my foot was sore. I dropped a laundry basket on my big toe a few days ago and it hit just right. The point where that toe meets everything else (official science term) in my foot is where it was hurting. After some prodding and adjusting I was able to keep going. One the way back I took a short break to talk to a farmer about purchasing a cow. That’s mom life for you – always multi tasking.
BBG done.

Sunday 11/14 – Planned rest.

Week 10: 13.6 miles

 

And now for some more musings.

After my long run on Saturday I felt great. Granted, I was exhausted later,  but the actual mechanics of the run were flawless. So of course I wonder, why? You are “supposed” to do long runs slower than your regular runs. Lower heart rate = longer distance. So why did I feel incredible after doing mine faster?
I think the answer lies in the definition of “long run.” Now, 5 miles Saturday was most certainly my longest run of the week. It was probably my longest run since my race, to be honest. Possibly my longest run in a year outside of races. BUT, is 5 miles really a “long run” for me? And I think the answer now is no. I can run 5 miles, easily, at a higher heart rate. I could have kept going. I wasn’t tired. I wasn’t really struggling to keep my HR that low. I was in no way “pushing myself” on distance or time. So 65 minutes is no longer a long run for me.

This gives me options.

  1. Do I want to increase the distance/time of my long run? I would do this incrimentally, basically increasing by 5-10 minutes a week (at max aerobic HR), until things got difficult. This would be the beginning of actual “long” runs. At that point I would switch to a lower HR and continue to increase my long run time/distance.
  2. Do I want to scrap the idea of a long run? I would basically stop calling this a long run and change nothing. heh.
  3. Do I want to up the time substantially and cut the HR? This is my least favorite idea because it seems dangerous (opens the door to injury). I would basically add 30 minutes + to my run time and drop the HR back to zone 1-2. I have ran 13.1 miles before, so this works off the assumption that 13 miles is my “long run” distance – but I’m not sure that’s accurate. ha. So this idea is out.

I have 2 weeks to decide what I want to do and honestly it may just depend on the week and what we have going on. I am not training for anything right now, so there is no need to push the mileage. My husband and I have decided we would like to run 5ks in 2017 so there really isn’t even a drive to be half marathon ready by any point. I did tell a friend that I would run a marathon with her, but that is sometime in the next 4 years. So what do I want (without race plans clouding my judgement)? I just don’t know.

I want to be fast. But unforunately, I drank the MAF koolaide and will not be adding in speed work. MAF training does lead to speed so I don’t want to do anything to sabotage that. So if I can’t do speed work and I can’t do fast 5ks, that doesn’t leave a lot of options for Saturdays. I can do a medium run without the stroller (woo hoo!) or I can do a longer run. I think at this point I will work on

I can keep my weekly runs as they are for the most part. I will probably designate one of the low HR runs as a walk on the recommendation of the reply I got from the Maffetone website. They suggested one long walk a week for muscle repair and recovery. I’ll keep my 2 medium runs as-is. I think I will take my 2nd low HR run and increase the time. I don’t want to be running the same speed/distance every day. I believe that is what caused my injury in the first place. But if I stagger the distances I think I can avoid that.

So my week becomes:
1 walk
3 medium runs of different lengths (at least 2 different lengths)
1 long run (medium run for now, switching to long run at some point)

I like the idea of my long run progression. It gives me freedom to make decisions in the future since there are no goal distances. I will slowly increase the distance until I reach the point where I have to lower my HR to get farther. Then I will decide if I want to go farther or not. What point is that? 6 miles? 10 miles? 13 miles (not likely)? I’ll look at how far I’m going and see if that makes me feel good to run that distance every week. If not, I’ll drop the HR and go farther. If so, I’ll keep my medium run, but at that long distance (or varying distances up to that point). I’ll still have some gains as it gets easier and easier for me, but with no long distance race in my sights, there’s no reason to push the distance if I don’t want to.

And now I get to make the adjustments to my Polar.

I have a prediction. My mileage will stop progressing when it gets cold. Because I don’t like being cold. Ha

MAF musings

Right now I am doing MAF training (sorta):

Monday and Wednesday are recovery days. I keep my HR below 132 and run (or walk) for 40 minutes.
Tuesday and Thursday are medium days. I run in my MAF HR zone (below 151) for 40 minutes.
Saturday I do a long run with my HR below 132, or my MAF test with my HR below 151.
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I do BBG which gets my HR higher than my MAF.

Does BBG hurt me?

I’ve been tired lately after BBG. Really tired. I talked to my hubby about it but there are just so many variables.
I have increased my calories to about 2000/day but don’t watch macros or necessarily eat “well.” I eat sandwiches on white bread, for example.
I have increased my water intake to at least a gallon a day
I started BBG October 10th and started consistently running (post race) about the same time.

So…
Am I not eating enough or well enough?
Am I dehydrated?
Am I not sleeping enough?
Am I overtraining?
Am I still adjusting to my training?

I don’t know the answer and it’s frustrating me. I’m also not losing weight. I see the biggest difference in body appearance with increased water. (Note: When I say “weight” I mean perceived. It has more to do with the mirror than the scale. “Losing weight” is just easy to say and I know what I mean.)

I want to finish out BBG. I committed to it and I am doing it with friends. I don’t want to bail. That said, I worry that the increased heart rate my affect my MAF results. I think I will finish out this round. Week 13 will be January 15th. At that time, I think I will stop doing BBG for time. Instead, I will stick to the moves (for the sake of getting in my strength) but focus on keeping my HR in my MAF. If it gets too high I will pause until it goes lower. I wonder if I should start this now? I really don’t know.
Part of my desire to wait is that I am hoping to get books about the MAF method for Christmas. I could keep doing what I’m doing for now, then read the books, and then make a change. I have plenty of time. I’m 30 and I don’t have any pressing goals.

Part of me wants to alter BBG right now. I just worry that, having not read the books, I will be making under-informed changes that don’t accomplish what I think they will. I need to be patient and make changes gradually so that I can see what the difference is.

Another thing I would change January 15th is to begin the 2 week test. This is a very restricted diet change but only lasts 2 weeks. I could technically fit it in before Christmas but I think it would sabotage my work to go straight into the holidays afterwards. So January 15hs I drop the higher HR work (same exercises just lower HR throughout) and make the dietary changes. That would give me 10 more weeks to get sleeping/water consumption under control, and to rule out my exhaustion being a training adjustment thing. I think this seems the most logical.

I understand this post is rambling but as the title says, these are my current musings. This is what is on my mind this morning as I read articles on MAF and sip my coffee.

A final thought: I know there is nothing to be embarrassed about but it is humbling to see how weak my aerobic base is. I see people starting the test running 10 minute miles and it is “so slow and miserable” for them. My average pace on my 3 mile test was 14:04. My fastest was 13:54 and to be fair, I did spike above my MAF a few times each lap (hills, etc). I look forward to improving my aerobic base. I’m excited to see what my body can do. But it is humbling to start back at the beginning like this. I wonder how this happened to me. I wonder if it is something I never gained in the first place (very un-athletic in school) or if something specifically altered it (illnesses, transfusions, pregnancies/births, etc). There’s no point in figuring it out. I am where I am now. The good thing is that there is plenty of room to improve.

 

MAF Test – 11/5/16

11/5/16

11/5/16
1 13:53
2 14:04
3 14:15

This was my first attempt at a MAF test. I decided to do 3 miles instead of 5 because I have not been religious with my long runs lately. I didn’t want to burn out at the end and either not finish or be too slow. Hubby had the kids over at the park, so I couldn’t take too long.

I use zone 3 on my Polar M400 for the test. This puts my HR between 133 and 151. My maximum aerobic HR is 150 (180-30) I believe. I could be wrong but I figured that it was close enough. My logic is that I am running outside on varied terrain, and for that reason my HR will never be perfectly steady. I am not capable of sitting at 151 and holding steady. More often than not, if I hit 151 I will hit 152, and then my watch will chirp at me.

It was cold! It has been in the 70s when I run and the 80s/90s in the afternoon here. This morning it was 61, misty and humid. My programmed workout didn’t work (again), so I had to improvise. I walked 2 laps (0.5 miles) as my warm up and then got started.

After the first lap I took a short break to pee. I stopped right at 1 mile, walked to the bathroom, and then walked back to the loop to begin again. This lowered my HR and allowed me to run faster at the beginning of that mile.

It felt good. It felt slow at times but by mile 3 I was in my rhythm and not having to think about slowing down as often.

NOT MAF APPROVED: The end of mile 3 was on the back side of the loop (it is slightly bigger than 0.25 miles) and I ran hard back to my water bottle. It felt great. I regret nothing.

Heart Rate Training – Week 6-9

Monday 10/10 – 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. This run got cancelled. I woke a little before my alarm with horrible stomach pains. I won’t go in to detail but suffice it to say I spent most of the morning in the restroom and the rest of the day sleeping on the couch.

Tuesday 10/11 – 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 and BBG. Completed 2.64 miles at 15:33 (Warm up 19:00, Work 14:38, Cool down 18:20). Hubby was home from work this morning to go to lunch with our oldest at school. I was excited when he agreed to go with me. BUT he ended up having achilles issues (a recurring problem for him) so he couldn’t run. He took the kids form me so I could run alone. It felt pretty good. The first half was great! I ran a mile, did my drills, then took off once my HR came down. Drills always make my HR really high. On the way back my stomach started bothering me again. It wasn’t anything like Monday, but it was uncomfortable. Along with the discomfort, my HR got a lot more unstable. I had to slow my run down substantially and even then I was getting above my goal zone. I did my best and got to walk back with hubby which was awesome.
We took Chick-Fil-A up to the school for our son so I wasn’t feeling up to BBG right when we got home. I ended up getting it done after I picked up the middle child and before I picked up the older child. Luckily he had a club after school today, so I had some extra time. BBG went great. I felt especially strong on the first circuit. I completed 2,2,2,1+16 – 2,2,1,1 – 2,2,1+16,1 – 2,2,1,1. We also have a baseball game this evening so I’m happy to get it done so early.

Wednesday 10/12 – 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.  Completed 2.37 miles at 17:22 (Warm up 16:58, Work 17:31, Cool down 17:33). This morning’s run was mostly a walk with a bit of running. We started out heading up to the First Monday grounds. There was a wagon train there and they were getting ready to head out. I paused my run and we hung around to watch them leave. That was really neat for the kids (and for me!). I’m a little sore today (legs yesterday) but not horrible. I’m happy to have gotten it done this morning. Things are pretty busy this afternoon/evening. As much as it works to walk by the school between pickups, I much prefer to go in the mornings.

Thursday 10/13 – 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 and BBG. Completed 2.27 miles at 15:34 (Warm up 18:57, Work 14:39, Cool down 18:19). I got sick to my stomach again this morning. I went ahead with my run because i felt better but then, yikes (again). I still get a kick out of how high my HR goes when my stomach hurts. I’m sure it makes sense but I’m totally A&P ignorant so it’s fascinating to me. I felt better after a stop at the park and was able to finish out, although I did have to take more walk breaks than usual. I can’t say for sure if that was due to my stomach, or because I was having trouble slowing down. I do miss running fast. I completed 2,2,1+10,1 – 2,2,1+10,1 – 2,2,1+10,1 – 2,2,1+16,1.

Friday 10/14 – Planned rest.

***Ok so I thought I had missed a few days in updating this… apparently I had missed almost an entire month. So here’s the quick rundown of what I did. ***

Saturday 10/15 – 1hr 10 minute long run. 4.14 miles at 16:53 (WU 16:07, W 16:33, CD 18:56) and BBG.

Week 6: 10.7 miles

Monday 10/17- 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.  Completed 2.20 miles at 18:05 (Warm up 18:31, Work 17:59, Cool down 18:43).
Tuesday 10/18- BBG and no run.
Wednesday 10/19- 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.  Completed 1.85 miles at 18:37 (Warm up 20:43, Work 18:19, no cool down).
Thursday 10/20- BBG and no run.
Saturday 10/22- BBG and no run.
Week 7: 4.1 miles

Tuesday 10/25- 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 and BBG. Completed 2.64 miles at 15:33 (Warm up 19:00, Work 14:38, Cool down 18:20). *no stroller*
Wednesday 10/26- 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.  Completed 2.37 miles at 17:22 (Warm up 16:58, Work 17:31, Cool down 17:33).
Thursday 10/27- 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 and BBG. Completed 2.72miles at 15:34 (Warm up 18:57, Work 14:39, Cool down 18:19).
Sunday 10/30- BBG and no run.
Week 8: 7.7 miles

Monday 10/31- 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.  Completed 1.86 miles at 21:26 (Warm up 18:33, Work 20:32, Cool down 37:44-running club w/ littles).
Tuesday 11/1- 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 and BBG. Completed 2.58 miles at 15:37 (Warm up 15:57, Work 15:03, Cool down 19:16).
Wednesday 11/2– 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.  Completed 2.28 miles at 18:02 (Warm up 17:34, Work 18:00, Cool down 18:21).
Thursday 11/3- BBG and no run.
Saturday 11/5- BBG & MAF Test.
Week 9: 10.3 miles