The easy runs have been, well, easy. The only goal has been to keep my heart rate below a certain number (in Zone 1), even if it feels ridiculously slow. Zone 2 is for my long runs and steady state runs (a steady state run is slower than a tempo, but faster than an easy run). Zone 3 is for tempo runs. And Zone 4 is for speed work.
Like I said, Zone 1 was very easy to do. Then on Friday, I had to try out Zone 2 for my long run, and it was great. It made me a little worried about my tempo run, though. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get my heart rate high enough and sustain it long enough for the tempo run.
Anyway, today was a tempo run day, so I was nervous to test out Zone 3. I decided to just run until my heart rate reached Zone 3 (162-175 bpm), then run 3 miles in Zone 3, and then cool down until I reached 4 miles total. (So basically, three miles at tempo pace and one mile warm-up/cool down.)
I headed outside early, at 7:00, before it would get too hot. It was already super humid. When I started running, I tried not to start out too fast. It took a little less than half a mile before my heart rate reached Zone 3. I hit the "lap" button on my Garmin to start my tempo miles and tried to hold my pace to keep my heart rate in the zone.
It was a hard run! I really wanted to stop and walk, but I knew, logically, that I could make it through the whole three miles at tempo pace. Tempo runs are supposed to feel hard enough that you want to stop, but you could sustain that pace for about an hour. When my Garmin beeped after the first tempo mile, I saw that I did that mile in 7:56! I was shocked, but happy to see that I was still able to run a sub-8:00 mile after seeing my pace get slower as the days get hotter.
The second mile was a lot slower, at 8:22. That was kind of disheartening, because I was working just as hard (my heart rate was still up in the middle of the zone). During the third mile, I was tempted to try and pick up the pace to be done sooner, but it's better to have even splits, so I tried to keep the same pace.
When I hit the end of the third tempo mile, I was dying to just stop and walk, but I ran slowly to cool down until I made it home. I was pouring sweat, and I sat outside for a couple of minutes so I didn't drip sweat all over the living room. But you know what? It felt AWESOME.
It was then that I realized that I really like heart rate training. Training by heart rate gives me permission to run slowly on my easy run days (something I have a hard time with). Running slowly makes me really enjoy the runs while I'm running. The tempo run itself wasn't very enjoyable (it's hard!) but I felt absolutely fantastic when I was done.
Because I don't have a goal race right now, and I'm not working on a PR or anything, I think it will be fun to see where the heart rate training takes me. I'm going to trust the whole process and see what happens. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's run, because it's going to be in Zone 1--which is very slow and easy.
So anyway, sorry that I've been writing so much about heart rate lately. It's been kind of experimental for me! (If anyone is interested, here is the website where I calculated my heart rate zones. I've tried other zones, calculated various ways, but I like this one the best so far.)
In other news, my eating has been really crappy this week. As soon as my sister and I stopped texting our food logs to each other, I picked up where I'd left off--eating too much, most of it junk. Grr! So I'm going to take some of the advice I wrote on yesterday's blog, and DO IT. I plan on weighing in at Weight Watchers on Friday, so that's an incentive to keep on track.
Tomorrow, we're getting together with Sarah and Ne one more time before they head back to Arizona. I think we're going to go out for pizza and then come play Euchre at my house. The last time we went out for pizza, I did really well--I ate two slices of a small, which I counted as 16 PP total. I plan to do the same thing tomorrow.
Sorry if you already saw this on Instagram, but I saw this funny card at the store and had to take a picture of it!
Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday, so if you did something that you're proud of this week, and want to share on the blog, you can e-mail me a pic and a short description (subject: Motivational Monday). I may include it on tomorrow's post! My e-mail address is SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.