November 11, 2021

Return to Running Recap : Week 24

Man, Daylight Saving Time really messed me up. It's 7:00 PM right now but it's pitch black outside and I feel like I should be getting ready for bed! I've been running at around 5:00-5:15 PM and it's dark when I get home. If my joints didn't hurt so badly in the mornings, I'd run early, when it gets light outside. (My appointment with the rheumatologist is on Monday; I'm 99% sure she's going to order an MRI of my back based on the recommendation of the radiologist due to my x-ray results. REALLY hoping for some real answers this time.)

Anyway, remember I said I was super determined to get all four runs in this week in order to complete the first week of MAF80? Well I did it! This post might be long (there is a 100% chance that it will be) so I'll just get right to it. (If you're not familiar with my current training, you can find the details on this training plan I wrote.)

Week 24, Run #1 - Run 40 minutes at MAF heart rate.

This run just plain sucked. I don't mind bringing Joey with me when I don't have to watch my heart rate, but when I am running at MAF, he gets impatient and wants to go faster. So he nearly chokes himself by pulling on the leash, which causes me to have to give resistance, which causes my heart rate to rise a bit. So keeping my heart rate low was tough, and I went at a slower-than-normal pace.

I didn't even run 3 miles in the 40 minutes! I didn't want to bring Joey but I felt guilty because he KNOWS when I'm going for a run. As quiet as I am getting dressed, putting on my shoes, etc., he just somehow knows. So I told my kids that from now on, when I'm going for a run, they need to take Joey for a walk at the same time.

I noticed that this graph is wrong, and I don't know if it's been like that all along and I didn't notice or if there was an update or something that changed my zones. But Zone 2 should be 131-141 bpm. My heart rate got up to 141 several times, but that's my MAF rate; it should be Zone 2. I changed the settings after this.

Week 24, Run #2 : 8 mins at MAF, then 4x (3 mins H, 5 min MAF)

I actually really like doing intervals when I keep my easy running to MAF heart rate. It feels good to go for a short hard run and then I get to walk until my heart rate returns to 131 (the bottom of my MAF range). Then jog a little and repeat.

I really wasn't in the mood to run, but as soon as I started, I was happy I did. The weather was PERFECT for running and I tried to push myself harder than last week during the "hard" intervals. I actually managed to do a couple of them at a sub-10:00 pace. Last week, my average for the harder intervals was 10:27 and this week it was 10:03. 

I put little red dots next to the harder intervals. My heart rate didn't get very high, so I certainly could have gone faster. I'm still figuring out my paces for each heart rate target.

The recovery/MAF laps include my walking time; I found that it usually takes about 80 seconds for my heart rate to get down to 131 bpm, which is when I start jogging again.

This was a great run! I felt accomplished.

Week 24, Run #3 : Run 40 minutes at MAF heart rate.

This time I wanted to try something a little different. Usually, I aim for the middle of my MAF heart rate zone (my zone is 131-141, so I like to see the mid-130's). For this particular run, I decided to try to stay at the very top of my MAF zone and see what my pace was. I set my Garmin to alert me at 142 bpm so that I would know to slow down.

I was surprised at how much faster I was able to run with the difference of just a few beats per minute. When I aim for the mid-130's, my pace is usually about 13:30/mile. During this run, I kept my heart rate very close to 141 the whole time, and my pace ended up being about 12:30/mile.

Interestingly, though, I didn't enjoy the run nearly as much as I do when I run at a mid-130's heart rate. A few beats per minute made a big difference! I felt more tired, my breathing was heavier, and I just plain didn't enjoy it as much. So I'll likely do my 40-minute MAF runs at mid-MAF range. I want to truly LIKE running! And when I go slowly at a low heart rate, I really do like it.

The reason it got into Zone 3 was because I'd accidentally set the alert to 142 thinking that it would alert me when it reached 142. However, it alerted me when it shifted from 142 to 143--so I spent some time at 142, thinking it was 141. (Yes, that was confusing to read.) Now I know to change it for next time.

Week 24, Run #4 : Run 20 mins at MAF heart rate, then 8 mins hard, 2 mins walk, 10 mins hard.

I almost skipped this run. I was feeling SO lethargic from taking my anxiety medication (I don't take it often because I hate this side effect--my limbs get heavy and I just feel kind of lazy. It basically acts like a mild sedative. My anxiety has been pretty bad, so I took it and then regretted it all day because I couldn't get anything done.

It was also cold, windy, and raining all afternoon. I love running in the rain, but not when it's cold and windy on top of it! By evening when I was supposed to head out, the wind had died down and it was barely sprinkling. I knew I'd regret it if I skipped this final run, so I went for it.

After a couple of minutes, I realized that I'd forgotten to get my heart rate monitor wet again, so my heart rate was reading really high. I knew it was because of my chest strap being so dry. So what's a girl to do in that situation? I licked my hand, reached under my shirt, and wiped the spit underneath the chest strap--hahaha! I'm hoping no one was looking out their windows. There is really no way to do that discreetly. It worked, though! My heart rate dropped into the 130's immediately.

But oh, man, the run felt hard. My legs felt like lead! I was moving really slowly but my heart rate was at the top of my MAF zone for the first 20 minutes. I was kind of relieved to hit the first tempo interval so that I didn't have to worry about my heart rate--I could just run faster so it would be over sooner.

The 8 minutes seemed to last forever; then I got to walk for 2 minutes and catch my breath; then I started running hard again. As soon as I started running, I realized I needed to listen to music instead of a podcast. The podcast was boring and wasn't taking my mind off of my feeling uncomfortable, so I turned on my running playlist.

The first song to come on was 'Bump' by the Kottonmouth Kings and it couldn't have been more perfect at that moment! I immediately picked up my speed and my legs felt a little springier. I'm going to make that my go-to song when I need a pick-me-up while running. (A lot of people have never heard of Kottonmouth Kings, but those who know them are usually quite taken aback that I like them so much! Hahaha.)

The music definitely helped me feel less like I was dragging my feet and more like I was running. I could have sworn my pace was a lot faster than it was, but maybe that's because my legs were so tired.

I felt really good when I got home. And so glad that I actually finished all four days this week. Hopefully I can do it again for Week 25 :)


  1. I know exactly what you mean about taking a strong lab for a run. Mine would sprint after a squirrel, then come to a complete stop to sniff another dogs pee. But she loved it SOOO much! It's way more exhausting that way! It is fun to run in the rain, but I had so many people drive by and they thought I was insane. I ran in every weather condition. Snow, ice, rain, heat with high humidity. I miss it so much. Now it's still just stair workouts inside. Boring, but excellent cardio.

  2. Great work and I get it about the pulling. As much as I didn't want to use it, we finally gave in and got the Gentle Leader for Scarlet because PULLING!!! She's fine once it's on, but rubs her face on the rug when she gets home. I had to use it with Morgan before her and Bodhi before him and I'm not sure why I thought I could train Scarlet any better than those two. Congrats on getting out there and continuing to inspire us all!


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