Saturday, March 23, 2013

Adapting to Change

Another crazy week of work but I got it done. Mostly. I pulled the plug on one run due to stress levels at work. My body was going through enough as evidenced by my eye twitching after an eighteen hour work day.

I'm still acclimating to the new training zones but I can honestly say they work. My recovery times have been quicker. Even with increased stress at work, I'm able to handle the the training better. Tempo runs are still sub 9. However the zone 2 pace is considerably slower. That's okay for now as I know I'll will get faster.

The adjustment in zones has me thinking about my last marathon in November. My training was right on track for a solid sub four. Somewhere around mile seventeen my body said no. Could it be that my zones were too high? Was I actually pushing too hard too early? All indications are just that. I wish I had tested the zones sooner.

I look forward to progressing through the training over the next few months and years. I'll make sure to add more time trials along the way to make sure I'm staying on track. First up is a half marathon next weekend.

Keep moving forward.


I posted this blog update before my long run this morning. The switch has already flipped. 9:47 pace @ 150 bpm average. Sweet! I was not expecting to see this kind of improvement for at least another month or two.

Garmin data: (disregard the blip on the end. hit my start button inadvertently as I drove down the road)

If you haven't tested your zones lately, I highly recommend it. I know for certain that I was over training. The adjustment in zones has already paid dividends! If you aren't using a heart rate monitor, I hope you will consider using one.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tweaking the Zones

Man, it's been a busy two weeks since I last updated. Two trips to Cleveland with an excursion to Toledo and BFE West Virginia (also known as West Union). I've kept most of  my training schedule intact. With my job and the weather, I do move things a bit but I am able to get it done.

After I wrote my last update, I decided to do some heart rate testing and recalculate my training zones using a methodology explained by Sock Doc. I've read that it's a good thing to do with regularity as our bodies are always changing. It had been more than two years since I had established my heart rate zones.

Using my existing HR zones as my guide, I ran a 6+ mile course with a twenty minute warm up in zone 2, twenty minutes in zone 3, fifteen minutes in zone 4, and five minutes as hard as possible. The zones 3 and 4 portion gave a solid simulated race pace effort that is pretty consistent. As fatigue takes hold, the push into zone 4 is pretty consistent with my earlier effort in zone 3. The final unlimited push lets me see my maximum heart rate. I also monitored my resting heart rate over the next few mornings.

As I expected, new zones were to be established. My maximum heart rate is still there. Oddly, my resting heart rate has come up a bit. Regardless, new training zones have been set. Everything moved down a few bpm utilizing the Sock Doc method (backbone of the method is established by Joe Friel). Sock Doc just makes it simple stupid for the masses.

Zone     Old BPM Range     New BPM Range
1           145-153                 137-147
2           154-162                 147-154
3           163-172                 154-163
4           172-181                 163-173
5           181-186                 173-186

What do the zones mean? Hey, that's another blog post. :-)

Keep moving forward!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Listening to Your Body

Bit of a step back week for me. Two runs, a spin and a weight session. I needed it after last week's travel schedule, half marathon and long bike ride. It's all good. I'm getting better at listening to my body.

Most of that listening is done by utilizing a heart rate monitor. I always exercise with one. Running. Riding. Lifting. It doesn't matter. My heart rate monitor is recording the exercise. I knew a couple days ahead of time before I was getting sick with the flu. I also know when I've recovered and can push things. Love training by HR monitor.

I was introduced to HR training by Coach Jeff with PRS FIT (he also got me into a zero drop shoe and corrected my running form... that's another blog post). Talk about an ego crushing first few weeks. Man, I was a whiner. 11:30-12:00 minute training miles while keeping my heart rate at 145 bpm. I'd been pushing ten minute and faster miles on most training runs. I knew nothing about slowing the pace and letting my body recovery.

However, I persevered. I listened to Jeff and kept withing the zones he gave me. Eventually, he put me through a max heart rate test and set my training zones. I've been using these zones for two years now. I've seen the zone 2 run pace drop to 9:00-9:30 range. Just depends on the day and distance.

I can honestly say that I'm more healthy because of the training. Okay, I'll give some credit to changing my diet. Guess who recommended Paleo Diet for Athletes..... Yep. Coach Jeff. However, I give just as much of the credit of staying healthy to HR training. I keep myself from being over trained which keeps my body from being stressed.

Dr. Steve Gangemi has some great articles on his site regarding heart rate training and healthy living. I credit Jeff with showing me the way, but I give The Sock Doc credit for helping me understand the science behind the training and diet. I highly recommend you visit The Sock Doc's site. He has a second site that I find just as useful. If you want an endurance coach to help you with your training, Coach Jeff is the man.

Keep moving forward!