First of all, I just want to say that this week I surpassed the total amount of mileage that I ran in training for the Disney half (180 miles). And there’s still five weeks to go. So there’s that.
I wanted to make sure I kept this one extra easy, since this would be my first week running three days in a row in a long time. I didn’t go run with the group, since I wanted to stick with three miles at an extra easy pace. So I decided to try low heart rate training. I’d been reading a lot about it, but was kind of dubious about the “run slow to run fast” thought process. Specifically, I’d been reading about the Maffetone Method. I’ll go into all of this later, but the gist is that you keep your runs at an aerobic pace so your body becomes more efficient at burning fat for fuel, instead of carbs. It is also supposed to cause lower chances of injury. (Which makes sense. I was barely moving. How could I get injured?)
Maffetone has a formula to calculate the upper end of your aerobic heart rate, which is 180 – your age. He also provides some fine-tuning, like subtracting another 5 if you’ve been injured in the past couple years, etc. I just went with 148 because I’d be walking if I subtracted another 5.
So I set my Garmin to alert me if I went above 148. And alert me it did. It has this really annoying sound that plays when you get out of your heart rate zone. And I went out of it. A lot.
At first, the watch wasn’t recognizing my heart rate monitor. I trotted along at my normal 11-12 min/mi pace waiting for it to pick it up. I stopped to walk briefly to tell it to rescan. Finally, six minutes after I started my run, it found the HR monitor. And immediately sounded the alarm. My heart rate was already up to 163.
I walked until it got down in the correct zone, then slowly started to jog around a 15 min/mi pace. Which WOW is slow. I can walk a 15 min/mi pace. In fact, it’s more efficient to walk at that pace than it is to run. Anything faster than that? Alarm. A hill? Alarm. I had to walk slowly up every hill. I was normally walking up one and the alarm went off. Yeah…
The point of all this is if you consistently train in your low heart rate zone, eventually your pace will get faster at the lower heart rate. That can just take a few months. A lot of people give up on LHR training because of the incredible slowness you have to start at. I’m going to actually try it consistently this fall (when I go for a month long streak) to see if I get any improvements out of it. For now, it’s just a way to keep me extra slow because I didn’t even break a sweat. In fact, I was cold the whole run, despite it being nearly 60 degrees.
Overall, I finished 3 miles in 46 minutes with an average HR of 149. Yes, not only was it slow, but I didn’t even manage to average within the correct zone. We’ll see come this fall if this really works, but for now I remain skeptical.
My first goal pace run! My goal half marathon pace is between 11:15 and 11:45 min/mi, so this was a fairly easy pace to keep for just a mile. I did a half mile warmup, then the one mile at goal pace. These are going to ramp up in difficulty in a few weeks, though, since I top out at a five mile goal pace run.
Week two of track intervals! Well, it was supposed to be, anyway. I didn’t quite make it to the track. As I mentioned before, in order to make it to the Thursday night group, I have to pack up all my running stuff and change at work. I packed up all my running stuff on Thursday morning…and then left it at home! Oops. So I was going to be way too late by the time I got home and changed and drove out there. I’m already the slowest, so I didn’t want them to have to wait on me an extra 20-30 minutes. So I went to the park to complete the workout.
This week we were doing five intervals of 1000m at 5k pace with 400m jogging recovery. I didn’t know if I should adjust my 5k pace down after my PR last Saturday. I have been training with a 5k pace of 10:15 to 10:45 min/mi, but my 5k time would suggest I could alter that down to 9:45 to 10:15 min/mi. I decided to aim for 10:30 min/mi for the first two intervals, 10:15 for the next two, and around 10:00 min/mi for the last; or, 6:30, 6:30, 6:20, 6:20, 6:10 for my interval times.
I don’t know if it was the added 200m per interval, the addition of a goal pace workout the day before, or the fact that I wasn’t doing it on a track so I didn’t have any visual feedback to know how much distance I have left to cover, but this seemed way harder than last week.
I still went out too fast on the first interval (although not nearly as bad as a week ago) and did the first 1k at a 10:11 min/mi pace. I walked a bit on my recovery to change some settings on my watch, then jogged the rest. I felt pretty good at the start of the second interval, but part of the way through I felt a side stitch coming on. And it was nearly killing me by the time I finished the 1k. I was practically in tears. I slowly walked my recovery period, using every trick in the book I knew to get the side stitch to go away. I could still feel it on the third interval, although not quite as bad, but it still was my slowest at a 10:42 min/mi pace. I walked about half my recovery to try to work it out some more and jogged the rest. The fourth interval was better and I did it in about the same time as the first. I jogged the entire recovery after that, then floored it for the fifth interval, finishing up at a 9:32 min/mi pace.
I’m not going to lie. It was a hard workout. But it was supposed to be, as I kept reminding myself. I do think not being on the track made it harder, since I only had my watch to tell me how much distance I had left but no real visual “finish line”. I may also experiment with switching my goal pace and easy runs to see if that helps, because those goal pace runs are only going to get more tiring.
My final 5k interval times? 6:21, 6:28, 6:38, 6:18, 5:54. I think the first four would have been more consistent if not for that stupid side stitch!
The threat of rain on Sunday made me move my long run to Saturday this week. 12.5 miles, the longest I’ve gone in training! But it was very hard fought, and I wouldn’t really call it a “good” run by any stretch of the word.
I had decided that maybe a change of scenery would help, so I went up to the Hendersonville greenway, which I haven’t run on before. I also decided to do 5:2 intervals to keep it easy and make sure that I didn’t burn myself out at the beginning and have nothing left at the end. Spoiler alert: it didn’t help.
I started off strong, and the scenery change did help for about 4-5 miles. The first hour flew by, and I was feeling good. However, by the start of mile 7, it was all going downhill (not literally, unfortunately). I ended up taking an extra walk break up a hill, and the extra breaks just kept coming from there, even walking one entire run interval (so 9 minutes total). Soon I modified my intervals to 3.5:3.5. I maintained that until mile 12, but I swear the last half mile was nearly impossible to get through. I just couldn’t get my legs to go anymore.
A lot of this was due, probably, to the fact that I was really hungry but hadn’t brought any gus or other food with me. I’ve never really had to fuel myself on a run before, but I guess it’s time to start figuring that out because these nearly three hour runs kill me. After I was done running, I immediately drove to McDonald’s for a chocolate shake and fries because I felt like I might pass out if I didn’t get some sort of something in my stomach, besides the 2 litres of water I drank while running. (Yes, it was a lot of water.)
After Saturday’s tiring run, you might think I skipped out on Sunday’s. But no! I went out to the park Sunday morning with the intention of doing my five easy miles. But my watch decided to die 1.2 miles in (with no walking, by the way). So I went home, charged it, and then headed back out to finish, doing 3.8 miles slightly faster than easy pace and only taking one brief walk break about 2.8 miles in when I pushed myself up a hill a little too hard against the wind. It ended up being more of a goal pace run, which is fine with me. I’ll take as many of those as I can get. I was honestly amazed I felt strong enough to do that after the day before, but maybe my body is learning to recover faster.