Sunday, March 08, 2009

Running by Heart Rate Preliminary Evaluation

Warning, this is an extremely boring post. If you're not in the mood for some number crunching, feel free to watch this youtube video on how Mike from Dirty Jobs stays in shape on the road, and then wander around youtube for some more entertaining education. (Not that you'll catch me doing burbees any time soon.)

OK, let's take a quick look at my running progress from my heartrate training. To recap, I have two basic runs: a "base" run where most of the run/walk occurs at 70-80% of my HRR (heart rate reserve), and a "tempo" run where most of the run/walk occurs at 80-90% of my HRR. It goes without saying that the base run is much longer/farther than the tempo run.

It should be noted that nothing exists in a vacuum. I've been swimming, weight training, cycling, and elliptical training since beginning this training method. There are surely cross-over benefits.

With that said, I am certainly very optimistic from this early data.

Let's look at my base runs first. I'll eliminate the first run because that was a hilly course. The following three were about the same course (if not the same distance). On the second run, I ran 44% of the time. By the fourth, I ran over 50% of the time. In the core running split, I ran/walked at a pace of 14:52/mile for about 39 minutes. This improved to a pace of 14:34/mile for about 44 minutes. That doesn't sound like much, but remember - this is only a difference from the second zone 3 run to the fourth zone 3 run. I say: Not bad. Remember also that this is a very easy run/walk. I'm frustrated when my monitor tells me that my heartrate is too high because I'm really not feeling stressed.

It gets even better when I look at my "tempo" runs. Because these have been basically on the same course, I could compare first to fourth, but - for consistency - I'll compare second to fourth. Now, because the core running split time increased from 12 minutes to 16 minutes, it's a little misleading, but I did improve from running about 44% of the time about 48% of the time. More importantly, I had to take four walking breaks during that 12 minutes, but only had to take three walking breaks during the 16 minute session. Best of all: I improved from a 13:11/mile pace to a 12:38 pace. Remember that I am in no way pushing myself harder (because my HR monitor prevents me from doing so). Rather, I'm simply becoming a fitter, more efficient runner.

Now, the weird thing is that I still do struggle mentally on my "tempo" runs. I expect myself to have to slow down to a walk, but my HR monitor tells me to suck it up -it isn't so bad. I have caught myself running faster to push my heart rate up (and thus justify a walking break), but I realized the short-sightedness of that and now consciously avoid it.

So, overall, I think my running plan is on the right path... so to speak. I'm proud of myself. But I'm also preparing myself for a lot of walking during my upcoming 5k event. That's OK. I'll blame it on the hills. At least I'm getting out there.

1 comment:

Arnþór L. Arnarson said...

There is no doubt in my mind that you will reach your goals. You got what it takes. ;)