Back in August I wrote about my frustrations with running performance. At that time I thought I could improve my pace by pushing my heart rate beyond my typical 75% of Max. After seeing some very weird numbers coming from my FR35, I figured I was either experiencing a medically concerning pulse or there was something wrong with the device that captured my heart rate. To get the details, see below.
|One run already done|
Today’s runs: 3.5 miles (track), 1 mile (street) = 4.5 miles
For some reason my Garmin has stopped recording my stride length. It used to show up under “cadence” but it’s no longer there. A search of the web yielded no useful information and Garmin Connect does not mention it in any of its forum posts. I’m disappointed and puzzled why stride length is no longer displayed. It’s a useful data point that helps me understand why I’m hitting certain paces (or not). I looked to see if there was a new software update, but apparently I’m current. I sent a note to Garmin support and expect to hear back in one to never days.
My thoughts about running at Stillwell shifted to the track this morning. I felt like doing some mindless running that didn’t include the paranoia of tripping on hidden roots or having mountain bikers stealthily coming up behind me on a single track path. It’s hard to explain why I find the track so appealing. I think it may have to do with being able to run outside without too much distraction and no crazy drivers.
I had the track to myself until a woman showed up to walk. That was fine and soon another runner appeared. It was a woman who seemed to be moving along well, but somehow I caught and passed her. I was running okay but not all that fast. Just faster than her I guess. I did 14 laps and headed home. Along the way I started regretting keeping it to only 3.5 miles. I decided I’d add another mile when I got home.
|Road & Track|
Going out for my second run was strange. I was fully “recovered” from my track workout and probably could have repeated the same distance in my neighborhood. I decided I’d keep to the plan and followed a route close to my house. The whole time I felt I was running by remote control, as if I was still at home while my body was out doing the run on its own. That was probably due to being fully warmed up, making the run feel really easy.
After I finished I thought about my experience and realized that the second run probably felt effortless because I knew I only had to cover a mile. I started thinking about a “day of running”, where I would run a mile in my neighborhood starting early in the day and come back home. At the top of the next hour (and every hour subsequent to that) I would run another mile. If I did this from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM I could cover ten miles. If every run was a little longer I could do a half marathon or more.
So if I cover 14 miles in one day, is that the same as doing a 14 mile run? Or would it be cheating to say that?
|L to R: ER, KWL, Bossy McBossy, AA|
Today’s run (street): 3.75 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 3.4 miles
Last Sunday’s run (treadmill): 3.4 miles
Spring is just around the corner, that is if you consider Sunday a corner. But you’d never know it from the weather we’ve had this week. The “biggest storm of the season” turned out to be about 5″ of snow that transformed into 3″ of heavy slush once the rain came into the mix. The town plows turned that into a thick wall of ice that took us over an hour to clear. We’re getting more snow today, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to stick.
Yesterday I worked from home and had a great run on the treadmill. I’ve definitely made my peace with the machine, but I far prefer running outside. This morning I participated in the Syosset Life Time group run that is led by Runsketeer SIOR. I was looking forward to running outside for the first time since late February and excited to see my buddies. We missed TPP who had to work today, but we were joined by a great guy (AA) who fit right into our group.
The plan was to meet at Life Time Fitness at 9:00 AM, but SIOR and KWL, who are training for Boston, were finishing up their “pre-run” at SUNY OW and were running to the gym from there. AA and I arrived at 9:00 and, after we met, I told him that our run leader was on her way. That gave us about 30 minutes to chat before SIOR and KWL arrived. After quick introductions and a hydration stop for SIOR and KWL, we were off.
My Garmin had a little trouble acquiring a GPS signal but our bossypants run leader had us running through the lot and into the adjacent neighborhood before I could start recording my data. I finally began capturing distance, pace and HR after going half a mile. SIOR and AA took the lead and KWL and I followed. Even after running 14 miles earlier (they ended up doing 18 miles today), KWL and SIOR were still raring to go and I appreciated that he hung back with me.
|Today’s full Life Time route|
Although KWL was taking it easy, I was actually running 84% of max heart rate which resulted in a pace in the high 10:00 range. I never felt overworked but did fade a little close to the end. I managed to spring back enough to finish the last quarter mile in the 9:00 range. Once we’d all arrived at the gym, we made the decision to break tradition and have coffee at Life Time’s café rather than Starbucks. It was a perfect place to cool down with plenty of space and good coffee.
|Runsketeer graphic by KWL|
It turned out that AA is an experienced marathoner and he has done three of the US majors (Chicago, NYC and Boston). KWL has done NYC, Berlin, London and Tokyo and will add Boston to the list in April. SIOR has done Boston, Philly, and a couple of others and is on track to meet her NYRR 9+1 to gain entry into NYC next year. I’m not in their league but I have done three halfs. I’m thinking of doing one race this year to see if I’m ready to return to competition.
One other positive today, besides getting to run and hang out with three great people, is that my plantar fasciitis seems to be abating. I ran in my Kaynos today and used the PF orthotics I bought a few weeks ago. No pain during the run and only mild soreness afterward. I’m hoping that conditions are okay for another outside run tomorrow, but if today’s light snow makes for icy roads tomorrow, I’ll be back on the treadmill. But as I said earlier, I’m good with that.
|Four miles in da hood|
Today’s run (street): 4.2 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 2 miles
Friday morning was cold and blustery and I needed to get out early for an errand. Due to major time constraints, I opted for a quick treadmill run that I figured would be better than postponing my workout until later. I wasn’t sure how long my work day would go and it was also my anniversary. I didn’t think it would be polite to delay our dinner by doing an early evening run.
I ended up running a couple of treadmill miles and loved that the Garmin FR 35 captured all my metrics without a foot pod or chest strap. I should have gone all out during that short workout, but I chose to start off at my current pace. I bumped up the speed once I reached the second mile and I finished in the mid nine minute range. It was a good use of the small window of time that I had.
This morning’s schedule was a little more flexible and the weather was decent. It was 39° when I went out and I wore track pants and two light layers on top. That would have kept me comfortable throughout the run, but the temperature rose four degrees in the 40 or so minutes I was out there.
I’m still not used to starting strong since most of this year I’ve lacked energy during the first minutes of my runs. I expected to go easy today and was prepared to run a little slow. Somehow I ended up doing better than normal. I’m improving but still running half a minute off my targeted pace.
Today’s run was pleasant but my neighborhood roads were not very stimulating. The only interesting thing on my route was the work being done using heavy equipment at the middle school. Steamrollers are cool. I hope to go somewhere more interesting tomorrow and cover about five miles. I may do even more if conditions are good.
|Getting to the heart of the matter|
Today’s run (street): 4.4 miles
Yesterday’s run (street): 3.2 miles
Monday’s run (street): 2.1 miles
Sunday’s run (Bethpage bike trail): 4.2 miles
I’ve been doing more running than blogging these days, with four workouts since my last post. Every time I’ve gone out since last weekend, I quietly thank KWL for sending me my FR35. While I have made stamina gains resulting from cutting out most processed sugar in my diet (and losing a few pounds in the process), it hadn’t done much for my performance. The FR35 has been a real catalyst for some measurable gains in that area. So thank you once again KWL.
Last Sunday I went to Bethpage to run the bike trail and ended up covering a little more than 4 miles. I ran it about 9% faster than my average pace over the past six months. Having my heart rate showing in real time helped me apply more effort that resulted in better performance. I respond to HR feedback positively, while tracking pace tends to discourage me.
I went home from work early on Monday and went out for a rare afternoon run. It was only two miles, but it was the fastest two miles I’ve run all year. Yesterday morning I did my usual Friday route. I didn’t get around as fast as I had on my prior three runs, but it was fast compared to a couple of weeks ago.
This morning I aimed for a little more distance and headed out with performance running on my mind. Performance is relative of course, but my perceived exertion matched the 80%-92% max HR that my Garmin recorded. I ended up pacing around my new average, but I’d hoped for more.
In terms of performance, I’m still 5% slower than the top end of my current target and I’m 10% away from where I really want to be. More significantly, I’m running 30 seconds to a minute per mile faster than just a few weeks ago. When I get to the pace range I’m aiming for, I’ll consider racing again.
|First time with the FR 35|
Today’s run (street): 5.2 miles
It’s October and I’m loving the cooler weather. But I wasn’t loving the light rain that greeted me when I stepped outside for today’s run. I considered staying inside and running on the treadmill, but I really wanted to see how my new Garmin performed. I learned later that the FR35 will actually track my distance indoors using its built in accelerometer. Better yet, no foot pod is needed, although the pod may provide a little extra performance data.
The 57° air felt chilly when I stepped outside. I decided to add a lightweight rain jacket that helped keep me dry, but I started heating up after a couple of miles. Had I run without the jacket I may have clipped a few seconds off my pace. Even with that, today’s run was the second fastest pace I’ve held since February.
It took almost five minutes to acquire a signal on the Garmin, probably due to the cloudy and raining conditions. I had hoped that would improve with the new watch. Perhaps it will on clearer days. Despite the rough weather, I encountered a number of runners and walkers within the first few minutes. My running felt strong and I looked at my watch to see my progress. It was then that I realized that I’d set up the display to show heart rate, running time and pace, but not distance.
That was frustrating, but I was able to estimate how far I’d run by dividing elapsed time by pace in my head. The Garmin connects to my phone through Bluetooth and acts as an activity tracker. When I got home, I discovered that my run data, along with all my steps, had been automatically uploaded to the Garmin Connect app on my phone. Even without the foot pod, I still got cadence and average stride length along with pace, elevation, heart rate, route map and a few other metrics.
I’m very happy that fall is happening and I’m excited that Adventure Girl will be coming for a visit in a couple of weeks. We’re going to run the Old Croton Aqueduct trail near my current office. I haven’t run that trail since AG and I took the train from our office in NYC to Irvington seven years ago.
|Welcome back data|
Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles
This afternoon the fine folks at UPS dropped off a package at my house. I opened the box and saw that it contained a Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS watch. I really wanted the FR35 to replace my FR210 that I lost on the Bethpage trail a couple of weeks ago. Interestingly, I never ordered the watch. It wasn’t until my wife told me that my friend and fellow Runsketeer KWL had sent it. I couldn’t believe it, but I was very excited.
One of the reasons KWL wanted me to have the watch was to encourage me to focus again on my performance when I run. The FR35 has a lot of tracking features including an optical heart rate monitor that obviates the need for a chest strap. I prefer to run by heart rate/zone rather than pace and I’ll be able to do that easily. It also works as an activity monitor. I didn’t realize that until it rudely beeped at me and said “Move!” on the display.
I wish I had this watch when I went out this morning on my run. Instead, I ran with my stopwatch. That was fine, but I missed being able to track time and distance. All the same, the stopwatch did give me some useful feedback. I generally run the same route every Friday and knew exactly where I’d hit the one mile mark. Although my stopwatch was securely attached to my SPIbelt, I was able to catch a glimpse of the elapsed time. I saw that I ran the first mile 30 seconds faster than my most recent (improving) pace.
Going forward, my challenge will be choosing to push performance rather than enjoying the experience of a free form run. Today’s conditions were cool and fairly dry and my running felt easy. I ran faster than I have in many months but it didn’t feel hard. It felt great. I can push even harder and run even faster, but I don’t know how far to go with that. I’m going to target 85% max HR tomorrow and see how that feels. If it feels okay, maybe a little speed will be worth the extra effort.