A surprisingly decent time for a low PE run

Today’s run (street): 3.6 miles

My Labor Day weekend started this morning, so I had an opportunity do a weekday run longer than my usual, time-constrained 2.5 miles. It’s actually 2.53 miles, but who’s counting? Well, I am. An extra three hundredths of a mile drops my average pace by six seconds per mile at that distance.

I targeted about 3.5 miles for today because it’s a nice bump up from the 2.53 on a weekday, but short enough to get it done quickly. Although I didn’t need to rush out the door when I returned home, the rest of the day was booked and I wanted a chance to relax before I headed to my first appointment.

My run was interesting. It was hot by the time I got outside and I wasn’t really in the mood to push hard. I used only my heart rate as a way to gauge my performance and adjusted my speed to get into my targeted zone. Even while my pulse increased, I didn’t feel like I was working as hard as I did last week, when I broke 9:00 four mornings in a row.

I ended up completing this run in the mid-9:00 range. Going only by perceived effort (PE), I expected that number to be 20 secs/mile slower. I was pleased with that performance on a hot day when I wasn’t really working that hard. My average HR for the run was at the lower end of the anaerobic range. That tells me I have more on tap than I’ve been using on most runs.

Finally using my HRM (with good results)

Today’s run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I knew it would be rainy this morning so I planned to do a treadmill run. I finally got around to setting up my heart rate monitor on Sunday and linked it to the Garmin, so I had that to play with. With the rain outside, it was very humid in my guest room. I put the fan in a fixed position and aimed it directly at the front of the treadmill. This reduces the heat, but the forced air causes dryness in my sinuses and throat.

It’s been a long time since I’ve used an HRM. The treadmill has grips that allow you to capture your current heart rate, but read time takes a while and it’s awkward to run that way at speed. The Garmin is much more convenient and it monitors in real time, providing important information as you run.

One important thing I learned was that my usual routine on the treadmill did not tax my heart as much as I’d thought. Since I despise this method of running it always feels hard, at any speed. What I thought was a good workout pace turned out to be on the threshold between the recovery and aerobic zones. To really get benefit I needed to push myself into the anaerobic zone (between 80-90% max HR).

I watched my heart rate as I increased the treadmill’s speed and was surprised how hard it was to bump my HR higher on the aerobic zone. It may have been psychological, but I found it easier to sustain paces below 9:00 after seeing that my heart rate was still below 80% of max. I ended up running faster than I usually do on the treadmill without feeling much fatigue during or afterward. I’ll be curious to see what kind of numbers I see when I take it to the streets tomorrow.

Speed takes effort, it’s that simple

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

The UPS truck mocked me as I drove into my driveway last night. The UPS driver usually does his deliveries in my neighborhood around the same time that I get home from work. I watched as he carried what looked like a shoebox-sized container, but he dropped it at a neighbor’s house. Saucony is supposedly looking into what’s happened to my pre-launch Kinvara 3’s. I’m thinking I may never get them.

As much as I’ve anticipated the Saucony’s, I’m still appreciating the Spira Stinger XLT’s. I skipped yesterday’s run, but went out this morning. Again I found the XLT’s to be comfortable and responsive. I moved well during my run and, while my PE was relatively low, I felt like my pace was brisk. When I came to the end of my run I looked at my Garmin, only to see that I’d covered my route more than a minute slower than expected. So much for getting that bonus 15 seconds per mile from the XLT’s.

I think the lesson I reinforced today is that, at my level, speed should feel hard. If I don’t push it, I shouldn’t expect to put up good numbers. Due to some scheduling issues this week, I’m swapping my Thursday elliptical session with a run tomorrow morning. I’ll put in more effort and see whether that makes a difference. Perhaps the 15 second bonus only happens on harder runs.

Workouts, PE and relax-outs

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles
Yesterday’s workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

My wife and I were comparing notes on our workouts this morning. We’d both had hard runs and I said that’s the reason why it’s called a workout and not a relax-out. She and I have very different training methods and I would be challenged to follow her routine. In turn, she would probably say the same of mine. But each day we congratulate each other (and ourselves) for getting it done. It’s great reinforcement and it motivates us to continue.

Without a running watch I would have guessed that I ran today’s route a minute per mile faster than I actually did. My perceived effort was high but I clearly fell short on performance. No matter, I recently read an article that said that perceived effort (PE) is a better gauge of how you should be running than holding rigidly to a targeted pace.

Every workout that I’ve done since returning to work has generated a high PE but performance on the low end of the scale. It could have to do with my adjustment back to 4:00 AM running because I feel very good overall. Maybe a long slow base run this weekend can get me back on track. Perhaps a relax-out is just what’s needed.

Wearing the seagull proudly

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt

Today’s run (street): 3.9 miles

The rain stopped this morning, so I took advantage of the clearing skies and went out for my run. I had no plan except to cover more miles than I normally do on weekdays, when I’m constrained for time. I was feeling slightly sluggish on my first steps out the door — I think it had more to do with the humidity than my physical condition.

I ran easy for the most part, not minding my pace or even looking at my overall time. There were a few other runners out at the same time and I crossed paths with a young woman who appeared to be struggling with her workout. The weather was taking its toll on everyone. I completed my run feeling like I’d worked harder than my numbers showed. If it’s more about perceived effort than actual pace then I did well today.

After my run I went for my six month checkup at the dentist. I was wearing my 2011 Cow Harbor t-shirt and my dentist (who is 8 months pregnant) joked that she’d skipped Cow Harbor this year because she’d gained too much weight. One of my daughter’s teachers mentioned last week that he’d ran it on Saturday. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, around here, Cow Harbor is the race to run.