November 26, 2019

Week 8: A Recap of 3-3-3 Running

This will just be a quick recap of my three running days this week. (I'm lying; my posts are never quick!)

As a refresher, "3-3-3" is just short for running three miles, three days a week, for three months in order to get back in the habit of running. I'm running using the MAF heart rate method--keeping my heart rate low, under 146 bpm.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I was sick all week and that threw off my schedule. I kept hoping I'd feel better "tomorrow", so I put off my runs until the eleventh hour. My running weeks are from Monday through Sunday, and I like to try to run Monday/Wednesday/Friday. However, feeling sick on Monday, I decided to run Tuesday instead. Then, I was still feeling sick, and put it off again.

Before I knew it, it was Friday and I still hadn't run! So, I had to get three runs in--one on Friday, one Saturday, and one Sunday.

I wanted to get in at least one outdoor run, because using the Garmin on the treadmill isn't accurate (I use the distance from the treadmill and the timer on the Garmin to determine the stats after each run). The outdoor runs using GPS are much more accurate, so I wanted to see how that compared to several weeks ago. I've been doing most of my running on the treadmill over the last eight weeks.


Having not run all week, I was really dreading this run. I was still feeling sick and I just wanted to stay inside to rest. Finally, at dusk, I told myself I'd better get it done before it got too dark outside. Little did I know, I totally overestimated how much time I had until it got dark.

After getting dressed and heading outside, I was less than half a mile into my run before it was mostly dark. I hadn't brought a headlamp, and I really don't like running in the dark.

For the first half mile, the run felt so easy. My feet felt springy and light. I never check my pace during my heart rate runs--I just listen for the beep that indicates my heart rate has gone over 146 bpm so that I know to slow down.

Despite the run feeling so easy, my heart rate just wouldn't go down. My watch was beeping at me constantly, and I was going as slowly as I could manage. I felt like my strides were very short because I was being so careful with my footing in the dark. I could still see the ground, because the sun hadn't totally gone down, but there was a short period where I had to cut through some grass and trees (making it pitch black), and I was scared to death of the dark, haha.

When I finally got home, I'd barely broken a sweat. I guessed my heart rate was high and my pace so slow because of running in the dark (nerves) and being sick (my heart rate tends to be high when I'm not feeling good). I hoped for a better run on Saturday.

Splits were 13:39, 14:27(!), and 14:00.

Looking at this map of the route is interesting. It shows my heart rate changes over the course of the run. From this, where the red and green markers are, I first ran upward on the map, turned right, did the loop around a neighborhood, retraced about half a mile, and then looped back around to the start.

You can see my heart rate was high almost immediately into the run. The blue sections (lower heart rate) were where it was lighter outside due to street lights.

Despite the entire run being almost completely dark, when I ran along the water, I did manage to see a gorgeous view for a moment before it was dark again.


I wasn't dreading this run like I was on Friday. This time, I was actually looking forward to it so that I could see if it would be better than the night before (you know I love a comparison of just about anything). I chose to run the exact same route, only I ran just before noon instead of waiting until dusk.

Again, I didn't look at my watch at all. My heart rate alert starting beeping almost immediately, and no matter how much I slowed down, it beeped at me for about half of the run. It was driving me crazy! Compared to the run the night before, I felt like I was going much slower; I was sure I was "running" at a 15:00/mile pace.

I completed the same route and when I got home, I was shocked to see that my pace was actually faster than the night before. I'd felt like I was going so much slower. I wish I could say I was glad, but I was so annoyed at the heart rate alert throughout my whole run that I was just glad it was over. Splits were 13:29, 13:48, and 13:53.

Again, here is a map. I included one of my pace, too--I think it's interesting (although not surprising) that the colors on the two look almost opposite, especially in the neighborhood loop. Whenever my pace was faster (blue), my heart rate was higher (brown), and when my pace was slower (brown), my heart rate was slower (blue).


This time, I decided to try the treadmill and see if it was any better as far as my heart rate goes. I was hoping for a good run, where I could go at a decent pace without my Garmin beeping at me to slow down. I didn't get on the treadmill until 6:00 pm (I don't know when it happened, but I am definitely not a morning runner anymore--unfortunately).

I was still getting over the cold, but I wasn't feeling horrible. I just felt tired from not getting much sleep and probably from having a lazy, sick week. I set up my iPad to continue watching Jack Ryan on Amazon. It'd been over a week since my last treadmill run, so even though I kind of forgot what was happening on the show, I just pressed play and began watching. It was a good episode during the action scenes (the scenes that make me forget that I'm running because I get engrossed in the show).

Again, my HR monitor beeped constantly. There was one point where I was shuffling along at 4.1 mph (I literally walk faster than that) and a negative 2% incline in order to lower my heart rate.

During the action scenes of the show, my heart rate is usually the most steady and at its lowest; when the show goes back to the regular non-action stuff, my heart rate usually goes up immediately because I tend to focus on my running form and my breathing. I basically need a show that is non-stop action in order to forget that I'm running.

The timer on the treadmill is fast, but the Garmin's timer is just fine. I always start the Garmin when the timer on the treadmill reads 00:10, just to let the belt get moving. Since I believe the distance on the treadmill is fairly accurate, I consider this run to be 3.0 miles in 42:11, a 14:04/mile pace (after adding the 10 seconds to the Garmin's timer).

Here is the summary for Week 8:

I'll have to check for sure, but this was probably my slowest run to date in eight weeks. I don't think I've ever had to lower the speed to 4.1 mph before. I was just as annoyed at the heart rate alert as the day before, and it made me want to forget the MAF training altogether and just run however I feel like running.

However, I saw such great results with MAF training before, and I'm pretty sure that when I am done with this 3-3-3 running, it'll get better. I'll gradually add some speed work and distance and hopefully see progress. I'd eventually like to start doing a six-mile long run every week. I don't really have any desire to run farther than that (unless I should ever decide to run a half-marathon again one day--it's been five years since I last ran a half!).

To top off Sunday's disappointing, annoying, and frustrating run on the treadmill, I finished to see that I'd watched the wrong episode of Jack Ryan! I'd only been midway through episode 5 when I last watched, but when I'd pressed play at the beginning of Sunday's run, I somehow started it on episode 8 (the season finale!). I was a little confused at the beginning, but I just assumed it was because I hadn't watched it in over a week. That just put me in a worse mood.

I took the day off from running yesterday, since I'd run three days in a row, but I'm about to hop on the treadmill. I have to pick Noah up from school early for a doctor's appointment, and I want to get it done before I leave. I'm feeling better today, so I really hope the run is nothing like Sunday! (And now I get to watch episode 6 of Jack Ryan, after having seen the finale already.)

1 comment:

  1. Hope everybody had a good thanksgiving. Ours was very good with the grandkids. I'm only into my 3rd week of 3/3/3. I didn't feel like getting on the treadmill but forced myself to do it and I'm glad I did 'cause I had a good workout. When I was getting ready to run I asked myself, what percentage of 60 year old women are running today? I don't know, but I think the number's low and I want to complete this challenge. Katie if I hadn't read your blog that day, I'd still be in the mind set... I used to be a runner and I'm going to start up again soon. Now I'm telling myself, you keep doing this and you get a new pair of running shoes for Christmas. Keep up the good work. I read your blog every single day.


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