Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Change of Pace

Change of Pace

I’ve certainly been known to ride the roller coaster of running quite well; the ups, the downs…changes of pace here and there.  But this isn’t a “oh no, he’s changing plans again” thing.  To date, I’ve been quite pleased with heart rate based running.  It has just become very comfortable for me.  Comfortable to the point that I believe that it is time to intensify things a bit and move on to the next phase. 
The uphills are actually more difficult...
It was my plan to spend two months doing nothing but aerobic-zone runs to build myself up for the next phase.  I’m not all that far off.  I had a few weeks of Couch to 5k, which really likely mimics heart rate training because it provides walk breaks (bringing your rate down into the zone).  Additionally, I believe I’ve been aided by having run in the past.  Even though I’ve lost a lot of fitness, I think I’ve gained quite a bit back more quickly than I did before because of that prior base.

So what is the next step?  I’m pushing outside of this comfortable, slow-paced aerobic zone that I’ve been using for all of my runs into some different types of zones with more challenging workouts.  I’ve found different data to indicate where each zone is approximately, so I’ve adjusted those to a best match of where I should be.  When you’re researching heart rate training, you’ll find some subtle differences where the zones are (percentage-of-max-wise), but generally they’ll increase from energy efficient/recovery at the low end, to aerobic (fat burning), to anaerobic (glycogen burning [lactic acid producing]), to red line (fast twitch/interval) zones at the high end.

My weekly plan will look like this:

Tuesday: 5 mile Tempo run: 1 mile (warm up) aerobic zone, 3 miles anaerobic zone, 1 mile (cool down) aerobic zone

Wednesday: 3.1 miles aerobic zone (for recovery, an “easy” day)

Thursday:  Intervals: one or two minutes in the red line zone, followed by one or two minutes in the aerobic zone, repeat 4-7 times


Thursday (alternate):  Hill repeats up to (but not into) the red line zone; recovery (downhill) portion in the aerobic zone.  Thursday workouts will alternate between hills and intervals. 

Saturday:  Long slow distance (minimum of 6.5 miles) in the aerobic zone

Sunday: 3.1 miles aerobic zone (another “easy” day)

This plan draws off of the principle of hard/easy days.  You are never to have back to back hard days.  You either take a day off, or have an easy run squeezed between.  Hard days include: tempo, interval, hill repeat, or long runs. 

I’ll start this next week, but for a trial I did one mile (mini-tempo) during my five miler on Tuesday in the anaerobic zone.  It wasn’t a problem, and I still felt good at the end of the run, but I could tell that the lactic acid was present more than before (a little more stiff).  Just more proof in the pudding, to me.

We’ll see how this goes.  I’m excited for the change, and to see how this plan impacts my average heart rate moving forward. 


Since I started running, I've gotten into the habit of always having a water bottle with me.  It doesn't matter if I run 3 miles or 13; I have it handy.  My philosophy is that if I don't have to be thirsty, then why should I?  I never carry it in a race, though; no problems switching from a constant source to an aid station-based source.

For most of my short runs, I only need a small bottle.  I've tried three different types: the Fuel Belt Sprint, the Amphipod Thermal Lite, and the Ultimate Direction Fastdraw.  These are in the 10-12 oz range.  

The Ultimate Direction Fastdraw; great, reliable bottle.

My favorite is the Ultimate Direction.  It is more secure than the Fuel Belt; I've never had a bottle slip out.  Also, it is easier to open while running.  I've had the "nipple" pop off of the Fuel Belt before.  This has never happened with the UD.  Once you get a couple of carriers ($14.95 for bottle and carrier), you'll only need to buy bottles for replacements ($5 each) or just replacement tops as they become scratched or worn (takes a long time).  The Amphipod is a decent choice, but the UD has a better pocket for money, ID, small packets of nutrition (like Sports Beans), or even tiny MP3 players like the Shuffle or Clip Zip if you want to stash that kind of stuff.  I put the UD bottle/cap in the dishwasher all the time; never a problem.  You can machine wash the UD carrier (I don't know if it is recommended, but I have several times).  Highly recommended!

I hope your progress is going well!


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