Category Archives: Training

A Look at Heart Rate Training

After a scare on a run in January where it felt like my heart was in my throat the doctor encouraged me to start wearing a heart rate monitor and to keep my workouts under 60% of my Maximum Heart Rate.

Note: The doctors said my heart appeared to be very healthy and they assumed I had had a cold (weather) induced asthma attack.  The heart rate is more of a precautionary tool to monitor my pulse during workouts in case it happens again.  They prescribed an inhaler and wearing something to cover my mouth/nose to help warm up the air.

Remember the conversion?  220 minus your age equals maximum heart rate.  So my current max is 220 – 29 = 191.  60% of that is 114.  If you’ve followed my workouts you know that I’ve not been anywhere close to that.  That is super low. I used an online calculator to determine my training zones and came up with these zones:

  • Fat Burning: From 128 to 141 beats per minute
  • Aerobic: From 141 to 153 beats per minute
  • Steady State: From 153 to 166 beats per minute
  • Anaerobic: From 166 to 178 beats per minute
  • Maximal: From 178 to 191 beats per minute

There is some variation in terms and the number of training zones.  For example, Polar share three – light, moderate, and hard. So here is how the web calculator breaks it down:
Fat Burning (50 to 60%) In this range you are developing your basic endurance and aerobic capacity. This zone is great for burning fat compared to the effort you put in. Other zones will also burn up your fat but you will have to work harder to burn up the same amount.

Aerobic (60 to 70%) This zone is great for your cardiovascular system. This helps your muscles become stronger and more efficient and you develop your bodies ability to transport oxygen to (and carbon dioxide away from) your muscles. You should be spending the majority of your training time in this zone.

Steady State (70 to 80%) Think tempo run.  This is not an easy workout but not super hard or stressful.

Anaerobic (80 to 90%) Entering this zone is a sign that you have become serious about your sport. In this zone your body develops its ability to handle lactic acid. An anaerobic workout takes place when you are working so hard that your body cannot keep up with the production of fuel and oxygen and so you need to dip into your reserves. When you dip into your reserves you produce numerous waste products – principally lactic acid.

Maximal (over 90%) Develops maximum speed and should only be used for short bursts of activity.

I’ve started listening to a podcast produced by Jeff and Diane Kline of PRS Fit and they are huge proponents of heart rate training.  It seems like they would concur with my doctor and that I should spend a lot of time training at the Fat/Aerobic training zones.  They say it will feel really slow at first but over time my speed would come back and my splits would drop.   What do you think about that?

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Running with a Newborn

Running with a newborn in the winter has proven to be a little difficult.  First you have the lack of sleep and continual state of exhaustion.

Then you have the whole timing issue.  I did my first run when she was about 2 weeks old.  My in-laws were hear, Christy was feeding Nadia and on Thanksgiving evening, I just decided to go for a run.  I wasn’t super exhausted and we had extra support.  It was 8pm.   Before Christy went back to work, I could have gotten up in the morning for a run but was tired and 6am was hard enough to get up and get ready for work.  I was able to sneak out on the weekends a little better, but I needed to do my share of the load around here too and that meant letting Christy sleep. Now the alarm goes off around 5am and Christy does her thing and I’m on duty by 6am.  Yuck.  I guess I could get out at 5am, but its been cold.

Yes, the issue is confounded by the Minnesota Winter.  Remember this -15 morning? Not really conducive for pushing the jogging stroller.  Though if it warms up past 30 I might get out there.  Sure we have a wind and waterproof, fleece lined, arctic bundler, but I’m not brave enough to risk having the cops arresting me for child endangerment!

Ah, a perfect solution I thought. Run at the Metrodome. So I asked regular attender @steveinaspeedo if I could bring a jogging stroller.  He found out that I could bring the stroller inside the Dome, but I’d have to leave it at the front table.  I doubted the security guards at the table would take care of Nadia while I ran, so scratch that off the list.

One last chance, our YWCA.  Their baby philosophy can be found here.  And works out for us.

Infants Under 6 Months Old

Children ages 0-6 months are welcome at the YWCA! At 6 months, infants can be added to your family membership; can use the babysitting service and when they get a little older can attend classes with parents! Until that time, there are options for your baby:

  • Workout Next to Baby: Infants can be in car seats on the fitness floor next to parents who are using fitness machines. For safety, we ask that infants are not in the free weight areas.
  • Walk Baby in Climate Control: Stroller walkers are welcomed to walk the Midtown track Mon.- Fri. 5:30 am – 4:00 pm; and Sat-Sun 7:30 am – 12:00 pm. For safety, we ask that infants are not carried on the track in any type of carrier.
  • We’ve done this once and it worked really well.  But you can only do cardio and during peak times only 30 minutes.  So I’ve made it a few times.  A final confounding factor is that we only have one working car!  So it is quite a pain to haul Nadia in her car seat the several blocks to the bus that will take us to the gym.  I need to suck it up and do it!

    Do you have any tips or places we could run together?

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    Beating the Treadmill in 5 Minutes

    Hotel Palomar's fitness room

    Flikr Image from Zacheverson

    I fought the treadmill and I won! A nice picture finish, but I pulled out the win.

    This past week we took Nadia to the YWCA for the first time.  I ran on the indoor track for 15 minutes and then stretched while Christy enjoyed/endured the elliptical.  Then we switched and I ran on the treadmill while she did some weights.

    On the track I warmed up for 5 minutes and then alternated a up tempo lap with an easier lap for 10 minutes.  I didn’t track the number of laps, I think it is 7 laps to a mile though, it was a counter-clockwise day.  It was nice to actually run and not worry about ice or falling off the treadmill.  Not wanting to run for a full hour I stretched out and rehydrated, before the dreadmill.

    Once on the conveyor belt I started out pretty slow to get my legs underneath me and then 5 minutes later picked up the pace.  Every 5 minutes after that I picked up the pace a few pushes of the button.  By the end I was under 8 minute pace (which felt faster than I would have liked).  I only had to stop once to soothe Nadia.  She was wearing a pink outfit and  had pink hangy down toys and someone still asked if she was a girl.  Odd.  I felt like breaking the run up into those 5 minute segments helped me to stay motivated.  I knew a change was coming (even if it was faster running) and that helped  me push on.  I think 5 minutes is a good length, because it isn’t super short or super long.  It can easily be broken down but goes by fairly quickly.

    Polar Bear at Como Zoo
    Image by crossn81 via Flickr

    That was a nice first session at the YWCA together.

    Saturday I ran with the Polar Bears.  It was really stinking cold, 4 above and -14 wind chill.  There was a nice size crowd given the temperature and we made a lot of noisy on the squeaky, crunchy snow.  I was able to hang on for the first half of the run but slowly faded by the end.  I survived the 9 miles in 1:20 and thawed out at home!

    What are some tips you have for beating the treadmill?

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    Free Running Clinic on April 10

    From the Mayo Clinic Blog:

    Start your running season off on the right foot!

    Mayo Clinic is hosting a free running clinic on Saturday, April 10th at Sears Court in Mall of America. The event will feature Mayo experts from the Sports Medicine Center and Jeff Galloway, Olympic runner and author.

    Edward Laskowski, M.D., co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, describes the events of the day:

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    2009 Numbers

    2009 Running Mileage

    863.89 miles of running
    580 miles of biking
    250 logged workouts
    40 degrees – average temperature
    12.61 miles of elliptical
    12 weight workouts
    10 physical therapy sessions
    8 pairs of shoes
    5k of cross-country skiing
    4.6 miles of swimming
    3 miles of snow shoeing
    1 annoying foot

    Plantar Fasciitis did everything it could to ruin my running year.  Including not running since October 4.

    Happy 2010!!