Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Having the Heart to Go Faster

Pulsometr donnay
Image via Wikipedia
After I abandoned the 10K Turkey Trot I had planned for Thanksgiving Day, I decide to participate in Daily Mile's virtual 5K. We got almost a foot of snow the day before, so my 3.1 miles was on the treadmill. If you've been following my progress, you know the fastest per mile pace I'd been able to sustain on the treadmill is 11:07. Not particularly impressive, but I worked hard for that (or so I thought). My goal for last week was to get below 11 minute miles.

I completed my treadmill 5K in 33 minutes, making my new pace to beat 10:33. Still not particularly impressive, but better.

I am not a fast runner. In fact, I'm pretty darn slow considering I've been working on it for three years. Outside I could blame my slow pace on the Adirondack hills, but on the treadmill there is no excuse. I've just never really challenged myself to go faster.

It's hard for me to judge exactly how much effort I should be putting into my runs. I've been estimating my intensity on how I feel and, honestly, I can be a bit of a wimp.

When I first started my triathlon training I asked for, and received, a heart rate monitor for Christmas. It's been a cool toy to have, but I had no idea how to use it effectively and I ended up just wearing the watch part for the stopwatch.

To prepare for my triathlon comeback year, I decided it's time to stop being a wimp and figure out how to get faster. Most of the training plans I checked out were heart rate based.

Hmmm.... Could it be time to put that monitor to use?

After doing some research, I ended up selecting a plan that combined heart rate training with other skill-building stuff. Just a few days in, I have to admit that I've surprised myself. I can train faster and harder than I believed I could. Yesterday's run included six 30 second strides, during which I pushed the treadmill speed higher than it has ever gone. For the last 30 seconds I ran a 7:36 pace. I had no idea I could do that.

And my heart rate monitor said I still had more to give. Yipes.  
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