Tag Archives: Heart-Rate Monitor

Cross-Training (Rest) day

Cross-training today, chose cycling again after yesterday’s swimming.

Down the gym at lunchtime with Colin, one of my colleagues who has had a back injury since Christmas so he is taking it easy as well; it seems there is a lot of it about – injuries I mean, another colleague had knee problems and that was after rupturing his achilles, yet another had back problems. Given the choice to get injured or be sedentary, it is surprising so many of us choose to be active. Anyway, I digress.

Technogym Stationary Bike

Just a simple cycle today as I’d done some physio yesterday and I hadn’t done a long cycle at a lunchtime for ages.I managed 22km in 45 minutes at around 190 watts, kw or whatever the power scale was; the setting was 8, if that means anything to anyone! 🙂 Either way, I was quite pleased as for 45 minutes this was only marginally slower than I normally do for my 10 minute warmups, and most of the time was lost at the start (ironically while warming up!) and I subsequently managed about 2 min/km for the rest of the session.

Although I had my heart rate monitor on I found it hard to get my pulse up above 150 and the average for the session was 141, I’ll be keeping an eye on that over the coming weeks along with a lot of other indicators of fitness.

Finished my appraisals this afternoon, so at least that is done and everyone seems relatively happy with their reviews, which is always a bonus. Getting a lot done at the moment at work, and with all the exercising I’m doing as well the time is just flying by already this year.

Pace session tomorrow – must be interval week.

Do you GPS?

So when you do you outdoor activity, do you take a GPS with you?

One of the joys of running is that you can just slip on a pair of trainers (or not if you are Barefoot Ted) and just go out the door and run.

That is one of the pleasures, the simplicity of the whole activity and the ability to do things without a lot of the paraphernalia that is essential with other activities; you know the sort of thing, cycling needs a bike, and a whole lot more if you want to ‘look’ the part, no offence Bryan :-), swimming needs a pool, football needs a pitch, goals, boots and at least 9 other willing participants to have a game. I’m by no means decrying other people’s chosen exploits, just illustrating a point.

GPS 1 - Timex S&D c.2004

You can run without equipment and that is the pleasure. To experience nature at it’s simplest in a way that the human body was design for (if you believe everything in ‘Born to Run‘, which I do)

However, when you are training or following a schedule for a target race or goal, or perhaps you are somewhere unfamiliar, it is great to have a GPS to hand to ensure your distance and pace are right for the run you are doing, or simply so that you don’t get lost!

My first GPS enabled stopwatch that I had probably back around 2004 was a Timex Ironman Speed/Distance watch which had a separate pack that  I had to where on my arm. It was very temperamental, took a long time to locate the satellites and wasn’t very accurate at the best of times, and was all over the place when in cities or even light foliage Still, it was, the first time I had been able to measure distances and was great for my need to try to be in control for my marathon training back in those days.

The GPS receiver pack which I had with that watch was actually made by Garmin and they obviously saw a niche in their product development, which at that time consisted primarily of mapping devices for marine and aeronautical areas.

GPS 2 - Garmin 405 Forerunner c.2008

So it was in 2008, just after my return from the MdS that I bought my first Garmin 405 Forerunner. Technology had clearly come on a long way in 4 years and it was orders of magnitude better that the Timex in that it was small, self-contained, started quickly, was good for 6-8 hours of running and was rechargeable rather than chowing batteries all the time.

The other thing with the Forerunner was the ability to upload training details, with heartrate and laps, wirelessly and automatically at the end of a run! Perfect 🙂

So as it happens I am a fan of technology and gadgets for the sake of training, but at the end of the day, it only helps me to get to the start of a race, where the joy of running through trails for huge distances really makes it all worthwhile.

Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be upgrading again – but more on that soon 🙂

Time is the best healer

Having had a few weeks where I’ve been unable to go more that a few miles without a sharp pain developing, I am now getting to the stage where I can start running properly again.Wound healer time

Still early days, but did 16 faltering miles in 3 spread out runs this week, so as not to exacerbate the injury.

I have been trying to be sensible and doing a run / walk programme of rehabilitation, i.e. run 5 minutes / walk 2 minutes.  It is an interesting approach and I’m not sure what it means from the point of view of training, regarding specificity (i.e. use of muscles and joints in a particular way) or cardiovascular training, as my heart rate is up and down like a jack in the box – is heart usage cumulative over a complete run I wonder – if my heart rate is 160 for the running and 120 for the walking, does it count if I take an average workout heart rate considering the thresholds of different zones? 

Either way, it seems to be working, or possibly it is just time providing its healing effect as the muscles, tendons, bones, or whatever else I’ve done this time, seem to mend themselves.

The plan starts to come together!

The last half marathon I did was Reading, 2004, a few weeks before I did the Two Oceans Ultramarathon and London Marathon that year.

I went on to do a 1:35 half marathon at that time, which was a PB by a couple of minutes which I was pleased with, but then for various personal reasons, seemed to lose my long distance training drive and until last year with the Thames Meander, I’d only done the occasional 10k.

That was the last time I had a similar level of fitness and had not been troubled with injury, because even last year before doing the TM and MdS I was recovering from shin splints.

It has been a long, hard road – 5 years long, and it is only on reflection that I realised the other day how much I had been set back and frustrated with various issues. Only now can I dare to think that I am improving my performance past my previous best. Reading Half 2009 Route

Today it came together though – 29th March 2009 – lined up at the start of the Reading half Marathon, 5 years almost to the day since my previous excursion at that distance, and although I felt nervous about a cold I was fighting off*, tight shins and tired calves from training in the week; I was ignoring my mind games.

So there we were, John and I again – pushed RIGHT to the front with the elite athletes – can you imagine. By the time we arrive there was barely 3 minutes to wait in the bright morning sun. The weather was perfect, the position was perfect and I was ready.

This was my chance to put years of frustration behind me.

At the gun, we were off. No really; OFF. None of this meandering about for ten minutes shuffling towards the line before finally breaking into a slow trot – Six seconds to cross the line rather than the twenty minutes it took those at the back, I later found out!

No, we were almost sprinting from the start, “oh my word!” I thought, can I maintain this, it feels steady but it’s too fast. We’re going uphill already, and I’m passing people, but my legs aren’t warm yet, am I going to break something, hold back. No, I’m strong!

Too many dilemmas for ninety seconds into what I was planning to be a ninety minute race, so I forced myself to settle down a bit. Nevertheless, the first few km passed quickly and John, sensing I wanted to break away, shouted for me to carry on as he was going to take it more steadily. We had run the first two miles at 6:30 pace.

Continue reading The plan starts to come together!

I nearly died (Just being Dramatic Mum!)

Yateley 10k Series – Race 3

The ‘plan’ if ever there was one, was to run about 4:00 / km to aim for a sub-40 min 10k

Last year, for the third race, I had just dipped under 41 minutes so I had high expectations of this race, although in the previous month my time was 42:36, so on reflection, perhaps those expectations were a little unrealistic.

Nevertheless, John, Tim and myself started out yet again, on what has now become a regular summer month meeting, at 7:30pm sharp. The new route across the school field funnelled a bit at the start but we were soon out onto the road with relatively clear passage.

At 1km, Tim announced he was feeling awful, a surprise to both John and myself, although we were as usual feeling the same! The first few km passed quickly, but this was my downfall, and after the downhill at 4km, I began the steady decline as I realised I could not maintain the pace for another 5km. First 5km completed in 19:50

My pace dropped off slowly despite me trying to push and maintain the effort, as my heart rate slowly crept up and despite surging a touch the second 5km was 2:14 slower that the first. Not a well judged race.

My thoughts?

Well, I have never felt as bad after a race as I did after this – absolutely shattered and I had trouble getting to the end of the queue for medals. My heart rate peaked at 193 BPM (my theoretical maximum for my age is 177) . My daughter, Savannah, was most concerned at me lying on the floor afterwards (my sons Joshua, Morgan and Luke were more concerned with the bottles of water and chocolate biscuits!).

Looking back through my logs at my previous training (up to last August for example) I was not quite at the same distance or speed, but it was just after the last Yateley in 2007 that I sustained the injury which laid me off for some months, scuppered my attempt at Amsterdam and nearly destroyed my chances of competing in the MdS. So bearing in mind I’ve been holding back on my training for that very reason, I’m happy that I’ll be able to progress to higher levels of performance in the future. Consistency is (largely) the name of the game.

On the whole I think I gave it my best shot and despite the disappointment of the time, I would take away a good deal in terms of the level of effort required and remembering that for next year.

New Gadgets

Technology is fantastic!

Just finished my first long run with my new (Father’s Day present) Garmin Forerunner 405 and it is so cool! Have already done a couple of runs with it during the week as well as used it to record my heart rate during a spin session on Wednesday, but every time I use it I am seriously impressed with its ease of use.

For example, my long run today is here on the Garmin site and all this involved, other than wearing an HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) while running, was to set my watch to aquire the network of GPS satellites prior to leaving, which took about 30secs, and then after the run simply turn on my laptop with the wireless stick connected. Download of data from the watch to the computer started automatically, and upload to the online site was also completed in the background, to the information you can see above. Fantastic!

I did a similar run last week, although with a couple of extra miles down the Horsham railway line before returning to Bramley, about 15 miles in total. Today’s run was great apart from the drizzle though – about 13 miles (i.e. half marathon) this week, as I’m on a ‘quiet’ week but in 1:42 which is not brilliant but I’m happy with it with 13 weeks to go to the Berlin Marathon which is what I’ve signed up for on 28th September.

Sometimes the drizzle is very welcome, and it was today, but running through the lush summer grass on the first day of summer (midsummer’s day? – what’s that all about?!) when it is full of dew which then saturates your trainers (and feet) with moisture is not the best feeling.

Still, legs feel strong at the moment, which is good.