Wednesday, October 2, 2013

...and the Heart Beats On...

Heart rate running continues for me.  I’m still in the initial building phase at this point, which involves staying in the aerobic zones.  This is recommended for a period of about two months.  I started using heart rate as a guide on August 7th, but I hadn’t figured my max correctly and was at too high of a zone.  This was corrected on September 9th.  I’ll continue to do all my runs in the aerobic zone (the target rate is 155) until October 29th, when I’ll start to throw in different runs and zones.

Seen on my run; morning sunrise is beautiful this time of year!
How do I stay near my target of 155?  I have a 5 beat per minute “buffer” on each side.  The Garmin 610 is set to vibrate whenever I’m outside of this 10 beat per minute zone.  Trust me: it can get frustrating!  There have been times that I’ve wanted to rip the watch off and throw it; not because it is wanting me to increase my heart rate, but because it jumps up too high too quickly (usually on hills).  But I remember how much I paid for the thing, so I deal with it.  Whenever it gets too high, I walk until it hits the low end of the zone, and then I run again.  On occasion, I’ve had to pick up my pace to get it above the low number, as well (starting to have to do that more and more; progress?).

It lets me know (often), when I'm zoned out.

After about two months of work (October 29th), I’ll finally break out of that zone.  At that time, I’ll start doing tempo runs, intervals, and hill repeats.  These will all be in a higher heart rate zone (different, depending upon the type of run).  These runs will (supposedly) get my body/heart accustomed to operating in a higher heart rate zone, and also lower (supposedly) my average heart rate; meaning those aerobic runs will increase in pace.  That’s the theory; that’s what I’m testing.

What have I noticed so far?  I think it is important to keep in mind that I’m early in the game.  I’d say you can figure that I’ve been at it for about a month.  I haven’t really noticed that my pace has quickened any.  However, I have noticed that the runs have become easier.  I’ve also noticed that I’m not in as much pain as I was at the start.  Today, in fact, I had a run of 4 ¾ miles (I’m slowly building distance twice per week) and felt like I could have run it again when I was done.  Granted, it was very, very slow, but so was my first heart rate run.  But I was exhausted when I completed that one. 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I do push into higher zones (I cheat over the last quarter mile of each run and ignore the monitor), it still feels comfortable.  I think that there is something to this; that my heart is conditioning nicely. 

Finally, while I haven’t noticed a huge drop on the scale from week to week (although I’m down 14 pounds since August 1st), I’ve noticed inches are coming off quicker than weight.  Perhaps this ties into the ability for the aerobic zone to burn fat as a primary fuel source?

I’ll continue on this path and see where it leads.  It will be interesting.  I feel like I’m progressing and that’s what is important.

To your progress!


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