Boy oh boy. I’m like a shitty boyfriend who stops in one day, promises to hang around more and then disappears for another couple of weeks. I’m hoping that cat pictures in future posts will make up for it.
I took some much needed time off after the marathon to enjoy all of the things I put off/couldn’t do during training and it was wonderful! I even thought about running the Peace, Love, Run half out at North Park this Sunday but ultimately decided not to. It’s too soon, and I’m just not feeling any kind of racing in the heat/humidity right now. I do have a 5K planned for the 4th though and I would really like to do well so I should probably start incorporating some speed work into my weeks.
I’ve slooooowly eased back into running and have started pacing my runs via heartrate. I was so intrigued after reading and following Nichole’s experience with it, and then Jen started using it and seeing awesome results so I knew I had to try it. I’m a total follower and this was no exception.
It was a hard adjustment at first, and can still be challenging but I am really loving it. I followed the instructions, calculated my resting heartrate, max heart rate, and my heart rate zones and came up with the following:
Easy/Long Runs 155-167
Tempo Runs 162-176 (Beginners should be between 163-171& Advanced 170-177. I use the full range of this zone)
MAX 186-190 (I haven’t done any workouts yet in this zone, but I’m hoping to soon!)
I’m trying to stick to the zones as closely as possible, and for hills I give myself a 5-10 bpm cushion. I know it’s not exactly right, but it works for me. I call it a “controlled spike” – I know and expect that my heart rate is going to rise on the incline and as long as I can keep it to within those 10 beats AND bring it down quickly after I reach the top, I’m OK. I’m usually able to bring the rate down within 35-40 seconds and rarely more than a minute, plus I can get my heart rate waaaay down on downhills (like 135ish) so I feel like it’s OK. I also really, really don’t want to walk the hills. I have worked so hard to like them, enjoy them, and excel at them and walking them now just doesn’t jive. This seems to be working well, and it’s teaching to be very controlled on those hills and ensures that I am focusing on my form and breathing – something I was NOT so great at before. I used to hunch over, put my head and flap my arms around like a T-Rex trying to pump up a hill
Training this way is definitely an eye opener! If you give it a shot, prepare to be served a big ass slice of humble pie because you will be running SLOWLY! I thought I knew my easy pace, and was even prepared to see it go down a little, but oh my god was I wrong!! I am easily seeing paces in the mid 13 min/mile ranges some days and to be honest…it’s tough. I’m already sensitive about being a slow poke and this makes me even more self-conscious. It also takes some serious work to keep my heart rate that low; that sounds strange, but it takes a lot of focus and control to not let the heart rate start to creep up and out of the zone and also to trust the process. Finishing a run and feeling like you haven’t even broken a sweat and haven’t really worked is just strange. THEN someone pointed out this is on purpose! You want to feel that way so when it’s time to throw down some speed or bust out a longer run, your body is ready for it. DUH. Once it was put into perspective, I was much happier to stick to that. I’ve also changed the display screen of my Garmin and it no longer shows my pace at all; if I don’t see it, it can’t bother me. The only time I see my pace is when the mile ticks over and briefly pops up on my screen; the rest of the time it’s HR, Time, & Distance. This is also hugely beneficial to me during these summer months. The heat and humidity are brutal already, and not needing to worry about how it’s affecting my pace is great. I just go out, do my thing, stick to the zones and am blissfully unaware until I sync my Garmin. I’m getting better at not letting the paces bother me and have been trying to just concentrate on the heart rate.
I’ve only been doing this for a couple of weeks so I don’t have much data or some amazing decrease in paces to share, but I’m confident that I will. All I need to do is trust the process!