December 04, 2016

One month MAF update

Now that I'm finally settled in to doing this vegan challenge, I can concentrate more on running and the MAF experiment. I had initially said that I was going to do 12 weeks at ONLY my MAF (maximum aerobic function) heart rate--no speed work at all, just the easy running--and follow my base building plan. Well, I've done the MAF heart rate part, but I haven't been running nearly as much as I should be to experiment with MAF training.

I had friends here for five days a couple of weeks ago, and then I was pretty sick, so I didn't run much the last few weeks. I'm feeling better now, so I'm going to try and run 4-5 times per week (at my MAF heart rate). Here is my running calendar from November:

The green shows the days that I went for a run. It was probably the least running I've done in six years, aside from when I was injured!

I ran five miles yesterday, and my pace was super slow, even for MAF training. My heart rate was constantly getting over 146, but I felt like I was running as slow as I could. In the end, my average heart rate ended up being 147--and it's never supposed to get over 146 for MAF training. I also had a couple of 12:00+ miles in there.

I was feeling energetic this morning, so I decided to go for a run at the state park. Joey was giving me "the look", which I'm a sucker for, and I ended up bringing him with me. He loves running with me! I just hoped that I'd be able to keep my heart rate down while wrangling an excited dog through the park.

Despite all of my training attempts, Joey still pulls on the leash during walks/runs. I didn't put his anti-pull harness on today, because the last time he wore it, it chafed his chest a little bit. I almost gave up and went home during the first mile, but I just hoped he'd settle down once we got into a good rhythm. Still, my heart rate and pace were up and down like crazy. I tried to just focus on my heart rate and keep it under 146.

I tried to get Joey to look at the camera, but he was way too
interested in the geese nearby.

A few miles in, I was about to pass a couple who was walking the same direction that I was running, so I said "Good morning!" as I passed by. A second later, I heard, "Katie?" So I turned around, and was surprised to see Christi, an old co-worker of mine that I hadn't seen in about 11 years! We used to work at Curves together, and I left when I was pregnant with Eli.

It was funny, because I was literally just talking about her to Jerry a couple of days ago. I slowed to a walk and walked along with her and her husband for about half a mile to see how she's been and what she's been up to. Facebook wasn't even really a thing until after I quit working at Curves, so I didn't keep in touch with the women I worked with. Anyway, it was great to run into her, and we mentioned getting together for lunch or something soon.

Shortly after I started running again, there was a man running toward me. I grabbed Joey's leash to keep him close to me, and as the man passed by, he said, "It's great to see you out running again!" The whole interaction was very quick, and I was distracted by Joey, so I didn't get a good look at him and I have no idea who it was. But hearing what he said to me made me kind of miss running as much as I used to. If the man was who I think it may have been, he was probably referring to when I was injured with the stress fracture in 2015. I used to walk Joey at the park pretty often when I was injured (instead of my usual running). A few people asked me why I wasn't running, so I explained to them that I was injured. I think that's what he meant by it being good to see me out running again.

I was kind of surprised to realize that someone actually noticed. People notice when I run and when I don't. I never really thought of that! But I get used to seeing the same people running (either at the park or near my house) so if they suddenly disappeared and I didn't see them for a long time, I would wonder what happened.

Actually, there is a man that runs circles around my neighborhood in the afternoons, and he started doing it a couple of years ago. He would go past my house every day, so I got used to seeing him. I watched as he got thinner, and I was in awe that he never seemed to miss a day of running. Then one day, I saw him run/walking. And then another day he stopped to stretch his knee. And after that, he was wearing knee supports on his runs.

I didn't realize it until I was typing this post just now, but I haven't seen him in a long time. It was probably during the summer that I last saw him, and he was wearing the knee supports. Like me, he probably has no idea that someone notices that he runs!

Anyway, I have no idea where I was going with that. When I realized someone noticed, I just found it motivating to want to continue running. Today, I had only planned to do the five-mile loop; but since I walked half a mile with Christi (and I'd turned off my Garmin for that part), I decided to run the small loop (1.5 miles) after the five-mile loop, to total roughly six miles of running when I was done. And honestly, if I didn't have Joey with me, I probably would have run 8-10 miles--that's how good I was feeling!

My average heart rate ended up being right on the MAF target of 146 bpm, and my pace was faster than yesterday (although not by much). I was hoping that there would be a nice progression (or even regression) in my pace over time, but it has been SO inconsistent.

I don't even want to attempt to make any conclusions yet, because I clearly haven't been running the mileage I would need in order to see progress. For December, I'm going to try and get in 60+ miles, and hopefully that will help the MAF numbers be more consistent for a better analysis.

I know several of you were looking forward to seeing how this MAF experiment goes; so, I'm sorry that I'm off to a bad start, but hopefully this month will be better!



  1. It always startles me when people speak to me while I'm out for a run. This one time, a guy in a car actually circled the block TWICE to talk to me. I don't necessarily feel comfortable with this -- as it made me feel unsafe -- but it's also nice when the people passing by are friends or neighbors that encourage.

  2. Katie, you are a great encouragement to me both as a blogger and a runner. I want to start running again in the coming year and I will be following your blog more intently. Well done!

  3. I love talking to the "regulars" I see out and about although, I often don't get the same response. I think most just get out to get the work out done. Sometimes I am like that too and some times I am simply out to smell the air and feel the sun.

    Although honestly I haven't exercised since before Thanksgiving now that I think about it. Too crabby, too emotional, too cold, too tired, too busy, too many excuses!!!

  4. Don't feel bad about Joey still pulling. I've been running with my dog, Eddie, since I rescued him almost a year ago. He still pulls pretty bad when he sees other animals or some people even though I've trained and worked with him a lot. He absolutely loves to run with me!! I love when he looks up at me with his happy face and has such a joyful expression! He epitomizes "Run Happy"! Absolutely makes my run!! He loves to run in the snow and bite at the snowflakes so I'm actually looking forward to marathon training with him this winter in northern Indiana. I love reading about your runs with Joey. :)

  5. I have not been running much at all this fall, just on the weekend for races. I go to kickboxing during the week and yoga sometimes and I have finally lost some weight and gotten faster.....FINALLY!

  6. I also notice "regulars" when I am running or driving. I notice heavy pony tail girl, skinny pony tail girl, etc. lol. My daughter tells me that people mention to her all the time that they see me running. I have been out of town for 3 months so it will be interesting to see if anyone missed me when I get back.

  7. I run with my dog and he was also having chafing issues from his anti-pull harness. Someone suggested we try a gentle leader that goes around his nose and it seriously makes a world of a difference. He doesn't pull at all and runs right at my side. At first he would rub his nose a little while he got used to it but now he is fine and even has little tans lines from it in the summer :-) It might be worth a try for Joey since he loves running with you.

  8. That same thing happened to me about a year ago! I was running my rail trail and a nice guy on rollerblades said it was good to see me and asked if I was training for anything in particular. I was surprised and too nice to grill him and ask how often he saw me and why I'm memorable to him. We chatted for 30 seconds and he took off. It made me feel bad for not running consistently, haha!


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