Pace vs. Heart rate

So, this morning I finally managed to successfully export my first speed workout with my Garmin watch. I was surprised at how easy 6×400 felt and totally annoyed with all of the beeping my watch did telling me that my heart rate was too high. I’ve figured out my past tempo and long runs with the Mcmillian pace calculator, but that’s not how this speed workout was programed. The Garmin workouts are calculated with heart rate zones. I can’t tell you how hard it was to slow down enough to get my heart rate low enough to stop the beeping in zone 2. So, which is better, a speed workout done by pace or heart rate? I’ve only been running with a Garmin watch for 1 1/2 months, so I’m still a little new to this even after 3 years or running…


from my 2nd Peachtree Road Race 2008

Do you know what you were doing the last weekend of March 2007? I do! I was getting fitted for the right pair of running shoes for the very first time. After checking my bank account that Friday I noticed my check for my very first Peachtree Road Race had cleared (back in the good old days when things were done by paper & you didn’t have to wait for the servers to crash before registering…). I had actually started running June 2006 after my parents started having major medical issues (they’re issues that run in the family too), but had stopped when the weather got colder. Now I had no excuse. I took my Nikes out of the box and ran 2 miles on the treadmill without stopping. It was the first time I had ever been able to run 2 miles without stopping. So, I set up a training plan and 150 miles, and a dead treadmill later I was running my very first race (I should mention it was a very old treadmill that sadly did not get replaced because I was the only one using it 😦 ).

Fast forward 3 years, 3 Peachtree Road Races, 4 marathons, and a multitude of 5 & 10k and 1/2 marathons. Wow, what a difference 3 years makes! I actually started calling myself a runner last year. I think it finally fits. I love running!! I go crazy when I can’t run. I’m starting to get rather addicted to strength training and cross training too. I’ve been doing the Speirs squat, pushup, and situp challenges (I actually paid for the iPhone apps. Steve these things rock!!) and they have already made a huge difference in my running. And my garmin Clyde has helped too :).

So, where do I go from here? I’m working on speed and biomechanics. After finishing “Born to Run” I’ve been walking around the house barefoot to see what my problems are. My left ankle needs some help. After a couple of weeks of strength work my pronation problems are getting better. I’ve been working on my stride for a year now (I’m a mid foot striker and proud of it!), which has helped tremendously. I’m thinking about trying a more minimal shoe, but I’m not sure yet. I’ve already moved down from the super corrective, highly padded shoes I use to wear (I never really felt like it helped and I never got more than 200 miles out of them). I’m also almost done with the Speirs challenges. I’m not sure what to do next for strength training. Anyone have suggestions? I know p90x is popular, but I’m also a musician who doesn’t make much, so money is very much a factor in everything I do.

I’m pretty excited about what’s going on with my running. I’m super excited about running the Chicago marathon this fall! So, here’s to another a great year of running!! To quote my favorite running store “may all your best miles be covered by foot!”

2009 Nike Women’s Marathon

2010 ING Georgia Marathon

It’s been a fun all ING Georgia weekend. It got started with a trip to the expo on Friday afternoon with my good friend who talked me into running marathons (honestly it’s not hard when I’m running. I loose brain cells when I run), followed by another trip to the expo Saturday morning to help at the Team in Training table with one of my Nike mentees, and then the race. It’s all ING Georgia, all the time :-).

look what I got at the expo!!!

I thought about the race all week. I’ve been getting faster. Would I be able to run my new pace for 13.1 miles? Would I finally get to the 2 hour mark? And then it occurred to me that a plan might be a good idea. This would be my third ING Georgia ( full in 2008, half in 2009). I know the course well. So, I decided that I would treat it like a Fartlek run. Beg your pardon, a what? See fartlek runs are awesome in my small opinion. Pick a distance, short or long, and pick up the pace, then relax once you’ve gotten to the object you’ve picked. Lots of people like to pick an object like a tree, telephone pole, etc. and run like the wind.

So, how did my little plan go? he he he, well it turned out to be more of a tempo run. I found my friend and fellow Team in Training Laura in our corral (it’s the first year I’ve actually been able to find my corral!!). It was great having someone to run with! We settled into a nice 9:30ish pace, backing off a little on the uphills, and going with flow on the downhills. I have to say that I’ve never seen the early miles so full of people before. It was packed until the 1/2 seperated from the full, which is where Laura and I parted (she ran her first full!!). I was a little worried that I had gone out too fast, and thought about easing off a little, but once I started grabbing a water cup to toss over my head to keep from over heating I stared feeling much better. That and it started to move from a drizzle to rain, which didn’t bother me one bit. I was glad to get rid of the humidity. In the back of my head a small voice was saying you need to take some salt and a few sports beans. By mile 10 I was cruising at a run time of 1:30 when I knew I needed salt in a bad way. So, I had to stop and walk for a minute to fish out a salt packet and crack open the sports beans (fruit punch is not my favorite now). I wish I had paid more attention. I know I lost important time for my poor planning, but it couldn’t be helped. But once it all started to work into my system things got much better!! I finally made it to the finish in 2:05:13 (a PR by 6 minutes), just 5 minutes off my goal and an incredibly hilly course. I’m pretty happy about it since it’s even faster than I ran the first 1/2 of my marathon last month. I guess all of those squats, lunges, sit ups, and push ups are working! I have a 5k in May and a 10k in July to work towards and training for Chicago officially starts for Team in Training in May. Why wait though? I want to keep working on my speed and keep getting stronger for Chicago, and use my shorter races as a way to see how things are going. If it’s not broken why fix it right?! I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. I have some biomechanics to straighten out (left ankle it would be so nice if you stayed in line with my foot and knee!), but after a week of working on my form I’m already seeing results. On to Chicago!! Watch out, here I come!!