Thursday, March 10, 2011

You know what your problem is??

Naw, it's not your problem, it's my problem but that saying makes me laugh. So, my comment about heart rate training yesterday caused a few questions and comments so I thought I'd try to clarify what it is that I'm doing. Keep in mind that I don't know what I'm doing but I have discussed this with my coach and I am hopeful it will work. Incidentally it was a commuting discussion with Rodney that got me thinking about the idea but it's not yet JohnP approved. 

Background: despite last year's training I am still not 'fit'. I'm most definitely fitter than I was before so let's use that as a basis. I have done running the in past, 5km race in June of 2008 and last year's sprint tri. I trained for these events but I am by no means a 'runner'. I do what I think I need to do, I go out and run. While I have seen improvements in cycling and swimming from practice last season my running is still exactly where it was 3 years ago. It sucks, it's sucky, sucks the big one, it's BAD... I certainly don't help the situation because if I skip a workout guess which one I skip, hence registering for 2 half marathons this year. Whether I'm ready or do well is beside the point, I needed a goal and a scary one at that to motivate me to get out there and run and figure this thing out. One day I would love to say that I love running or even remotely like it in any way. 

Problem: my problem, well the running problem, I have lots of other problems and I'm happy to share but you would need to ply me with alcohol to get me to spill so BACK to the running discussion.  So, when I run, I do just that, I go out and run and within the first 10 minutes my heart rate is at 175 and I keep going until I can't run anymore and am completely out of breath. I walk for a bit to let my HR come down and catch my breath and then I start running again for say 5 minutes before I'm topped out at 175 again and want to throw up. As the run progresses the running portions gets shorter and shorter (as my frustration level grows) and the walking portion increases until I hit my time or distance or give up or whatever my goal is that day. 

This happens at every run. It's effing frustrating because I never seem to run longer or seem to get faster or feel better during a run. Some days I get home completely convinced my pace was better only to find out it was exactly the same as my last run.  W T F ? ? ? 

I know there are tempo runs and speed workouts and Sunday long runs and they should all be different but at this point all my runs look the same.

SO when I say I'm doing heart rate training I am probably using that term inappropriately. What I am doing is, on my solo runs, is trying not to go over a certain heart rate, I hope this will help me slow my pace down so I can sustain a run/jog/whateverwearecallingit for a longer period of time. I'm not looking to keep my heart rate in this range, but I need to learn how to run slower so I can run for longer periods of time.  Does that make any sense? I've talked to coach Nancy and she says this is a good plan and to practice and it will get better.

If you have any thoughts or advice or support (or heckling, I know you wanna) I'm all ears. What I do know is that I enjoyed my run on Tuesday. I felt good, obviously I walked when my HR got to 150 and I wouldn't let it get lower than 140. I wasn't upset at my time when the run was done, I hated my pace time but I have the hope that I will see improvement. 

I went back and read my diary entry from my first 5km race in 2008.   I remember the training for that was brutal and finishing felt crazy good. It's funny because 5km is a short training run for me now, so I guess I have progressed more than I thought even if it is more mental progress than pace time progress.  I will figure this thing out.  

I will.. 

no I really will!

that's all I got...

oh by the way, remember when I said yesterday that my team had gone all healthy, yeah that was before someone brought in BAGS of candy and someone else bought cookies.  oy 


Jason said...

You and Karen are sisters. Her HR skyrockets the moment she starts running and gets extremely frustrated too BUT with training and keeping at it she has lowered her HR.

Your plan looks good and all you have to do is stick with it.

When I first started a Z1 run for me was around 10 minutes and I always thought my coach was trying to torture me. As we progressed it has gotten so much easier.

At the start I could run a 2 hour half-marathon. I am now running a half-marathon in 1:36 and my Z1 pace is around 9:15. I believe this is all because of staying within the right zone when I had to and built up my endurance and eventually speed.

You can do it and we are here for you to lean on.

That's All I Got.

Julie said...

I think it sounds like a solid plan as long as you keep some runs where you are going faster. When training for my first 1/2 mary I kind of sort of tried to do HR training (without really knowing what I was doing) and I just ended up getting really slow. This time (my 3rd) I'm just trying to keep long runs easy, might not be in Z1 or Z2 but right around the 140 mark and I do believe it's getting easier and I do believe I'm getting just a wee bit faster.

It will work for you.

Anonymous said...

For endurance events, those lasting 5+ hours, you want to build aerobic speed and increase metabolic efficiency. That is what training with a "low" HR does. Keeping your HR in the aerobic zone (180-age roughly) will build your aerobic capacity and train your body to burn fat as fuel and not glycogen. Even Lance Armstrong has enough fat on his body to provide fuel for hours.

Marathon training and other single sport training is different. While triathlon is a combination of three individual sports it should be trained as a single sport.

Caratunk Girl said...

I like your plan...because it sounds to me that you have 1 running speed - hard. Working on finding that slower speed is going to allow you to run further, and eventually faster.

Is there a place between running and walking that brings your HR down when it spikes? Find that. Try to anyway. Using HR monitor will help you with that, no doubt. It is a PAIN to try to keep your HR low, you are probably going to run slower at first (you need to be running slower, it sounds like to me). Try not to get frustrated with that, because speed will come. You will eventually get faster at a given HR. But you need to teach yourself to control your pace through your HR (like you are working on) or by "feel".

Keep at it, you will see big improvements.

JohnP said...

Julie has seen what I am talking about. Thats exactly what will happen to you if you play the HR game.

Rodney is right, but that applies to someone that already has a baseline fitness. You need to get over the initial 'fitness hump' before you can play with HR training. That is a solid 4-8 weeks base-training minimum.

For you to stay in your theoretical zone may require you to do no more than a brisk walk to not exceed a certain HR. You could brisk walk as much as you like but you are only training yourself to go slow and it will take forever to improve, if at all as Julie experienced.

There needs to be an initial period where you get 'up out of the hole'. That means ignoring your HR zones and use Perceived Exertion. No matter what you do, your HR will be high. Just grind through it for the inital phase of the training program and keep tabs on what the HR is doing and by 4 weeks you'll probably see a dramatic improvement. THEN definitely do what Rodney is saying above. At that point you'll be doing a more appropriate shuffle/jog in your magical HR zone and will benefit from building the CORRECT muscles and working aerobic efficiency. You will get faster for sure.

Also 180-age is a really really really rough guesstimate. This is wrong for alot of people, so don't take the numbers from the charts as gospel. Find your zones on your own... this means experience.

Any exercise is better than no exercise. That should be the mantra for your initial part of the training program. Dont overthink it, just shut up and run :) Remember the only thing you are learning in the first 4 weeks is ROUTINE. Ignore everything else. Speed, HR, quality blah blah blah. You need to get into a routine that fits you schedule and train yourself to commit to the workouts. Nothing else matters if you dont settle into the routine or gain the mental discipline to workout even when you dont want to. Thats more important than anything else. Concentrate only on that for now.

You should be happy! You've got a ton of people that care about you and try to help with advice :) We all have our methods and experience to share, in the end nobody is wrong really. Different things have worked for different people. Just pick and choose the advice that best fits you. It's all good :)

My Boring Triathlon Blog said...

Have you done a Lactate Test to determine your training zones? All my training is done based on different zones depending on the intenstiy

Also have you tried 10 x 1s? Run 10 minutes and walk one minute (a Running Room techinque). I think it will help your pacing by forcing you to walk even though you don't need to. I ran my first Half Marathon using it. It makes a huge difference for your endurance

My Boring Triathlon Blog said...

Yo John P:

The 180 - your age is for males. For females its 220-age (I think)as females generally have higher HR than males

A lactate test gives you exact information about your zones rather than "trial and error" which can lead to injuries

Anonymous said...

I have no advice (I haven't been an endurance runner since I was 14!) But I do support what you're doing and know you can figure out what will work best for you, especially with the help of all your smart running friends who are commenting here.

Go you!


She said I need a goal said...

Jason, thanks. I think Karen and I must have been separated at birth. I appreciate your support.

Julie I am going to try this for my solo runs but not to worry my Thursday group run will be my usual running to keep up.. Maybe I should call that speed work.. Lol

Rodney, thank ya.. I'm not necessarily sticking to 140, for this past run I went as high as 155 but my avg was down which was good.

Mandy, you totally get it, I agree, I go out too hard and burn out quick.

JohnP, I think youa re putting too much technique into this discussion. For your purposes please pretend I actually said "hey guys I'm trying to run slower". I appreciate your advice and it all makes sense and I will reread this when I am more experienced.

MBTB, I do try to do 10 and 1's except I can only do that once, then it's 7 and 1, and then 3 and 1 and then 1 and 1, I fade quick.. But it's something I strive for.

D, always appreciate your support.

Matty O said...

Late to the game as usual. JP has the nail on the head. We are not making fun of you or saying you are a slow poke, BUT, you won't get the gains as fast if you don't already have the base fitness built.

THAT being said, I would use the HR training ONLY for your long runs (6miles +) right now. That will force you to pace yourself. My times sucked (for me) when I started HR training, since I had a base built already though, it only took me a few weeks to be running 7min miles at my target HR....

I would bust your ass for a month and then stick to HR training like it's your business.

Hope that came off right and a-holeish haha. Its all about learning :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

The problem is you havent came over yet to read weekly ramblings, we all know that will fix everything

She said I need a goal said...

Matty, I AM slow, and you make fun of me, I know you do.

BDD, I read weekly ramblings and while I always enjoy it I'm not sure how your sore butt is supposed to make me run slower and longer.