March 14, 2016

Jerry's adventure in NYC

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Things around here were different, because Jerry was in New York City for four days visiting a friend. I missed him! Since I'm going to visit friends in Portland and Seattle next month, I wanted Jerry to take a trip of his own as well, and he decided to go to the city. He had a blast, and I'm so glad that he went.

I suggested to him that he try out a November Project workout on Friday morning. The November Project is a free, open-to-the-public exercise group that is now in several cities around the U.S. I did one of the workouts in Boston with bloggers who were invited to the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half in 2014. It was a super challenging workout, but the people were very quirky and I knew Jerry would fit right in to something like that. So, despite being out at the bar on Thursday night, he actually set his alarm for 5:30 to go to the workout on Friday morning. And he LOVED it. He said it was one of his favorite parts of the trip!

The November Project always does a group photo at the workouts

Playing "power walking" freeze tag
I knew that Ali, from Ali on the Run, does a lot of the November Project workouts, so I told Jerry to keep an eye out for her. I met Ali at a Runner's World blogger event in 2014, and she is super sweet. I've met a lot of well-known bloggers over the past several years at various events, and I was discouraged to find out that many of them are not how they appear on their blogs; but Ali is just as kind and funny and genuine in real life as she is on her blog. After the workout, Jerry texted me this picture:

He'd actually met her! Very fun. He was super sore after the workout, but he was determined to see the city, so he and Mike rented bikes to ride around for several hours.

He also did a ton of walking, and he managed to get 35,000-40,000 steps PER DAY for each day that he was there! The most I've EVER gotten was 35,000 (I didn't have a Fitbit yet when I did my marathons).

Anyway, even though Jerry was only gone for three nights, I missed him a lot (especially with all the pictures he was sending me) and it was nice to have him back home yesterday. I'm happy he had a great time, though! He deserved it.

Yesterday, I did a treadmill run at an easy pace for the first time in a while, and I was very surprised to see how much this heart rate training is working! Since I started heart rate training, and keeping my easy runs at a heart rate of 146 or less bpm, the pace I'm able to run has gotten quite a bit faster.

On December 27, 2015, I did an easy run on the treadmill. My average heart rate was 141, and my pace was 10:04. Yesterday, I did another easy run on the treadmill--my average heart rate was 140 bpm, and my average pace was 8:55! The treadmill feels much easier to me than running outside, so I know that I wouldn't be able to run 8:55 outdoors with that low of a heart rate, but in comparing the two treadmill runs, I was surprised to see over a full minute per mile improvement at the same heart rate!

I was looking through the data from 2013, when I was running my fastest, and I'm almost back to the fitness level I was at back then. In February 2013, I ran an 8:27 pace on the treadmill with a heart rate of 140 bpm. Even after my goal 10K, I'm going to continue training like this, because it's working so well (and I'm enjoying it!). Some days, it feels painfully slow to keep my heart rate low, but clearly, my fitness is improving. Someday, I hope to be able to run at about an 8:00 pace with a heart rate of 145 bpm.

I'll try and come up with some comparison data to write about soon. It's fun to see that this training method is working so well!


  1. Okay, this is TOO FUNNY! I started reading this post and you mentioned November Project, and I thought "oh Ali from Ali on the Run is really into that". Then I scrolled down and saw your picture of the November Project gang and I thought "oh, wouldn't it be so funny if Ali happened to be in this picture??" So I blew up the picture and spotted her on the very right. I was all ready to write a comment and tell you about Ali and how cool it was that my blog worlds were colliding. Then I scrolled down and saw JERRY WITH ALI!!!!!! AHHHHHH!!! That is awesome that you have met her also. So cool. :)

    1. We are best friends now! Total highlight of my morning.

  2. I agree with Kelly! I thought my feeder had crashed and was messing up my blogs lol a pic with the cookies' blogger's husband and the blogger from NYC?!?!? Sooo cool!
    Anyways, I have been thinking about the improvement you talk and wanted to ask you. I read the book and I have been training slow. My improvement is very similar so I wondered how often are you adjusting the paces? I was thinking every 2 months, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. You don't need to worry about adjusting your pace, as it will happen naturally if you keep your heart rate the same. I always keep my heart rate under 146, and at first, that was about an 11:30/mi pace; now, it takes more effort to get to that heart rate, so it's about a 10:30/mi pace. I didn't consciously change paces, I just tried to keep my heart rate the same.

  3. Hahaha! Another small world moment...the woman fourth row from the bottom in the peach tee-shirt is my college roommate.

  4. I'm so impressed with your progress with heart rate training! Do you follow one of the plans in the 80/20 book? How did you figure out your zones- did you do the test in the book or use a different way to figure them? Thanks for posting about this! I

    1. No, I tried one of the plans for a week, but it was exhausting! (about 10 runs per week--yikes). Now, I just use my own plan but I adjust it to make sure that 80% of the running is at easy pace. I used the Maffetone 180-formula to determine my heart rate for easy runs; but Fitzgerald said that you can use 77% of your maximum heart rate as well. It just has to be close--not 100% exact.

  5. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! The best part of that whole morning (and power-walking freeze tag WAS pretty sweet...) was Jerry coming up to me and asking if my name was Ali and then saying he's YOUR husband. And then I gushed about you for 45 minutes and probably made him late to where he had to go next. Sorry, Jerry! Next time, you BOTH need to come visit!


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