November 04, 2021

Return to Running Recap : Week 23

This week wasn't ideal, based on the same reasons as my Wednesday Weigh-In yesterday. I just had a bad week all around! I feel like yesterday was a big wake-up call, though, and I've had two great days in a row. I feel my determination coming back after a long lapse.

I managed to get in two runs this week. I'd planned to do four (the full first week of my MAF80 plan) but two is better than nothing. That actually reminds of something I read recently, and I thought it was really smart:

My knee feels back to normal and the weather is perfect for running, so there is no reason not to take advantage of that!

So, even though I only did two runs, I'll quickly recap...

Week 23, Run 1 : Run 40 minutes at MAF heart rate (131-141 beats per minute)

I was FREEZING while I waited for my Garmin to find satellites--I have no idea why it took so long, but I literally waited probably five minutes in the driveway. I was so relieved when I was able to start running so that I could warm up.

I ran super slowly to keep my heart rate in my MAF zone and I felt great. It felt just how I remember my MAF runs feeling. When I looked down at my heart rate, though, it said it was 160! I was shocked--I wasn't breathing hard, I was going slow, I hadn't broken a sweat. I tried to go even slower, but my heart rate was still high.

At that point, I just decided to forget the heart rate monitor and run by feel. It felt TRULY easy and my pace was around what it would be if I was running at MAF. After a mile or so, I noticed that my heart rate was in the 130's. Then it occurred to me...

It was cold outside and I'd forgotten to wet my heart rate monitor before putting it on (it needs to be wet for good conduction--once you start sweating, it's totally fine). When it's cold and my skin is dry, it takes a few minutes to get good conduction (the more you sweat, the better the conduction). When the conduction is poor, it shows a really high heart rate (or no heart rate at all).

So, the data for this run ended up being pretty much useless. In the graph below, you can see how wonky the first 8 or 9 minutes were.

Week 23, Run 2 : Run 8 minutes at MAF, then 4 repeats of (3 minutes hard, 5 minutes at MAF)

I was actually looking forward to this run. The intervals make the time go by quickly and the way I wrote the plan allows me to make "hard" be whatever I want it to mean--just running at a higher heart rate than MAF. I was curious to see if I'd be able to run in between the intervals or if I'd have to walk them to maintain my MAF heart rate.

It turned out to go really well! I ran the 8 minutes at MAF, then picked up speed and ran comfortably hard for 3 minutes--"comfortably" just means that I could have run faster, but I wouldn't have enjoyed it. After 3 minutes, I walked until my heart rate reached the bottom of my MAF zone (131 bpm); then I started a very slow run, hoping that my heart rate would stay under 141. And it did!

So for each interval, I did the same thing--run hard, walk until my heart rate hit 131 bpm, then jog at my MAF rate until the next interval. Overall, I ended up running 3.17 miles. My average heart rate overall was 142 bpm and average pace overall was 12:37. For the "hard" intervals, my average pace was 10:27. I swear, the intervals felt much faster! Haha.

Despite only having done two runs last week, I feel good about them. I'm determined to get in all four this week, though!


  1. I just completed week 2 of your plan. Yesterday was tough but I have really been enjoying it. I really like the speed & tempo days as it breaks up 40 minutes.

  2. Great reminder about the heart rate monitor conduction. Do you use a wrist monitor or a strap? Good work and thanks for continuing to inspire us. I've been sick (norovirus - I'll spare you the gross details) and am finally feeling better after 13 days of not running. Hope to get out there tomorrow. Wow do I miss it. Keep up the great work!


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