August 25, 2016

Summer running

Things have been getting very busy around here! Noah started cross country this week, so we've been getting up on the early side for his morning practices. It's a nice way to ease into the 6:00 wake-up times for the school year :)

His team meets at a local park for an hour, so rather than drop him off and pick him up after, I just stay and get in a run myself. I've kind of gotten away from heart rate training lately--not intentionally, but it's just been inconvenient. Renee asked me if I wanted to do a long run with her last Sunday, but she doesn't like to go slower than a 9:45 pace... I wasn't even sure if I could do that pace for six miles right now, in this humidity, so I did a little "trial" run a couple of days before.

I ran a 9:20 pace for just three miles, and it was rough! I told Renee I'd work on my speed a little, and then we could do some long runs together in the fall.

So, this week, I've been running in the "gray zone"--too fast for aerobic work, too slow for speed work--and I know better! But, I have to say, it feels kind of nice not worrying about my heart rate and just running. My pace has been roughly 9:15-9:45, and my heart rate has been about 155-160 bpm. (For aerobic work, it would ideally stay under 146 bpm; and for speed work, it would be over 164 bpm.)

In a few weeks, I'll return to a more formal running schedule, and get back to my heart rate training. Right now, though, I'm just running however I feel like when I'm out there. I've been talking to one of the other moms from Noah's cross country team, and she's super speedy. She does her easy runs at about an 8:00/mile pace! She ran with me for a little while yesterday, but I was gasping for air while she seemed like she was just going for a stroll in the park ;)

Today was incredibly humid, and I was just drenched when I finished. I only did three miles, but I looked like I just ran a marathon.

I had hoped I would continue to improve my cardio by doing the low heart rate training, but the improvement seemed to taper off a bit once I was at about a 10:00/mi pace (at a 146 bpm heart rate) in the spring. I'm sure the heat and humidity have played a big factor in that, so once it cools off, I'll be able to see if there was any improvement. I didn't put in too many miles this summer, though... typically 3-4 days a week, and just 3-4 miles at a time. I got in 61 miles in June, 68 miles in July, and 47 miles so far in August.

Someone asked me about how I was doing on the Summer Running Checklist... and I have been terrible about actually checking them off! I just went through my runs for the past month or so, and filled in the checklist where I could--I've checked off 21 of the 49 items. (My own "rule" was that each run could only count as ONE item on the list, so I can't check off several items on a single run). I'm going to try and finish at least 35 of the items before summer officially ends on September 22nd.

Coaching cross country is going really well. We have a great team, and now that this is Renee's and my second year coaching, we've gotten into a good routine. We practice three times a week: an easy/fun day, a distance day, and a speed work/hill work day. We spend the first 40 minutes or so on the focus of our practice, and then the last 20 minutes we spend playing a game (that involves running). I never imagined how much I would love coaching!

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Sarah and Dimity from the Another Mother Runner podcast. I was super nervous! It's a very popular podcast, and I've been listening to it a lot lately when I do my easy runs. They interviewed Jen and I about the documentary, and just running/weight loss in general. I'm not sure yet when it will air, but I will let you know when it does. Surprisingly, once I started chatting with them, all of my nerves went away and I felt very comfortable.

One more week until we leave for Virginia Beach!


  1. I love Another Mother Runner! I can't wait to hear your episode.

  2. Never heard of Another Mother Runner - I'll have to check it out!

    I usually feel so slow in the humidity. Whenever I step out of my lovely air conditioned home into the humidity, it's like a giant hand is squashing me!

  3. I love AMR and saw that your podcast was up. Plan on listening to it today during my run. They are really a great group and would urge any of your readers to check them out.

  4. Wow your kids must start school really late if you're going on a vacation in a week!

  5. I've listen to their podcast, too! I can't wait to listen to your episode!

    This humidity has been so rough this summer, but I can't say that on Tuesday, when we finally had a break, I had a great speed work run! It's so nice to finally enjoy running again! Lol!

  6. Just saw the AMR podcast in my feed and now I can't wait for my run tomorrow so I can listen to it!

  7. How did you learn about heart rate running and do you have a good link I could read more about it? I feel like most of the time when I run...I just go out and run by how I feel and my pace is usually 10:45 or slower (weird but last year I did a 1/2 and my average pace was 10....seems like I keep getting slower :-( . I have recently started adding hill repeats purposely - I do a mileish warm up then go to an area in my neighborhood with a pretty steep hill and will do 2-3 miles of up/down the hill; and even more recently I started adding intervals. I'll do a mile+ warm up and then 2-3 miles of alternating between 15" sprints and 45" walk or slow jog. I am playing with the intervals to figure out what works for me. The bursts of speed I know are supposed to help with the calorie burn. My running group does speedwork at a track 1 day/wk but it's on the opposite side of town (the side of town I work on)...but by the time I drive home/make dinner and then drive back...I have zero interest in driving back. I have tried to do the workouts at a track by my house but it is harder to push myself when I am by myself for speedwork.

    1. I would read anything you can by Dr. Phil Maffetone. He explains very well how heart rate training works. I combined his method with the book 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald. Based on what you've written, it sounds like you would really benefit from 80/20 Running. The book is very interesting!


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