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I’ll tell you, training is hard! The quest for health and fitness is such a slow process. I read everything I can get my hands on. I do a lot of trial and error. When I read something that makes sense, I incorporate it into my workout routine or eating plan, depending on what it involves. I track everything with MFP and look at my reports regularly. I make notations on how I feel with any given change in routine. I make sure to give any changes at least four weeks because (generally speaking) you can’t tell if something will work for you in anything less than that. It seems tedious, but I’m really data driven. I love reports. I love having that tangible information.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve whined about days when I have to use my treadmill and I avoid it like the plague. However, with the temps heating up this week and the humidity making a drastic jump and a 10k next month, I didn’t have an option today except to dust off my treadmill. It was speed work day today. The other day (or a couple weeks ago – whatever) I was talking about VO2 Max and heart rate workout zones and I’ve been trying to stick to those parameters. One thing about my speed work days is that my “speed” interval is supposed to be in Zone 4 for my heart rate levels. For me, this is between 157 and 171 BPM. Since I don’t run with a heart rate monitor, I manually check after each fast & slow interval to make sure I’m on track. I realize this is not the efficient way to do it, but I’m cheap and don’t want to buy a monitor. Anywho… When I run what feels like a proper speed interval, my heart rate is way too high and I’ve been having a difficult time trying to find the sweet spot for my Zone 4 interval.

Enter the treadmill. As I went through my intervals I confirmed what I already knew. I was going too fast. When I look at my stats from my runs, I’ve been doing 8mph during my speed intervals. I quickly run out of breath and really struggle to finish the whole two minute interval. Turns out that 6mph keeps me in the right zone. That seems too slow for speed work, but I’m able to finish my interval without feeling like my lungs are going to burst. So I learned something today by doing a mind numbing run on my treadmill. When the temps drop next week and I get back outside I can set my audio cues to tell me my current pace, which should help me keep within my proper zones. For my data driven brain, it was important for me to figure out a way to track this without having to break down (yet) and buy a heart rate monitor. I’ll give this a whirl and recheck my speed intervals versus heart rate later on in September to see what kind of adjustments I need to make at that time.

Slowly but sure I’m putting all the pieces together and figuring out what works for me. I’m getting stronger and feeling stronger. I’m looking forward to my race (46 days not that anyone’s counting). And I’m not dreading the treadmill so much when winter sets in.