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Road to Nowhere

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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:29 pm

Heh. I may have just geeked out a bit there... geek

My point is (and believe it or not, there was a point), it appears that I was making good progress using the Maffetone approach. I got a nice speed boost when I worked in more up-tempo work (to as fast as 8:56 in my first MAF test mile on April 25, 2010, as I peaked for Eugene)... BUT it wasn't speed I could sustain, and it set me up for a big overtraining collapse later that year.

The nice thing is, I've now learned what seems to work best for my body, and what happens when I'm about to run off a cliff. That ought to help me as I rebuild this year. Even if it's just a reminder to be patient.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:29 pm

@Mark B wrote:
The nice thing is, I've now learned what seems to work best for my body, and what happens when I'm about to run off a cliff. That ought to help me as I rebuild this year. Even if it's just a reminder to be patient.

The most important lesson of the whole thread. Keep up the good work, Mark.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:00 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@Mark B wrote:
The nice thing is, I've now learned what seems to work best for my body, and what happens when I'm about to run off a cliff. That ought to help me as I rebuild this year. Even if it's just a reminder to be patient.

The most important lesson of the whole thread. Keep up the good work, Mark.

Thanks, Michele! I should have known that all along... but there's a difference between knowing and understanding.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:01 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes

Weather: Indoors, 68 degrees. Gear: FR2s

I had a pleasant surprise when I was getting ready to start this morning's 30-minute run on the treadmill: My pre-run heart rate was 52. A week ago, it was about 80 (I must have been nervous) dropping to 67 by Friday. Whatever I'm doing, my body seems to like it.

My HR was doing such a good job behaving itself that I even tried speeding up a little toward the middle of the time. Except I overdid it, and spiked my HR to 140. Oops! I throttled back, recovered and then eased it forward a little less and was able to hold that for a little while at least. I think next time, I'll just let well enough alone and see what happens.

My second goal of these runs - cooling down enough to getting my HR back below 100 before time runs up - was something I couldn't achieve last week (108, 107, 101). But this morning, I got it down to 96.

All very good - and a great encouragement to keep at it. On top of that, my foot handled it well, which was a relief. It got a bit sore yesterday after fooling around at a climbing gym while wearing Free 3.0s. (Sheepish grin.)
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Joel H on Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:34 pm

I was waiting to see how long before I saw all those MAF tests come back...I should have made a bet when you started this blog that it would take less than a few weeks. Wow, the memories that brings back seeing your speed increase and then you jumping off the cliff and then to have you start the process all over again. I think you will be more "wise" this time and stop WORRYING ABOUT SPEED!!!! You know better than to start worrying about speed at this point, it only leads to BAD things for you. Patience young grasshopper, patience! Wink Wink Wink
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:49 pm

@Joel H wrote:I think you will be more "wise" this time and stop WORRYING ABOUT SPEED!!!!

Lordy, I hope so, Joel. I may be a slow learner, but I've got a strong impetus to not make the same mistake again.

FWIW, nobody, but NOBODY would have taken that bet about a return of MAF charts. Hey, it's me, remember? Wink

The only downside of MAF charts is that I switched my Mac over to Lion, which means my creaky old version of Excel doesn't work anymore. I'm too cheap to buy a new version, so I'll have to figure something else out.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:59 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes

Weather: Indoors, 68 degrees. Gear: FR2s

Another treadmill run, crammed between when I get the family off to school and I head off to work. This isn't the best time to run, and it probably showed. My HR was higher when I started, and I had a more difficult time keeping it under control during the run. I was pretty disappointed, considering how Monday's run went.

Still there's a good reminder here: take each run as it comes, and don't get caught in the trap of comparisons.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  John Kilpatrick on Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:10 pm

I appreciate that you are still learning about this whole running thing! It is hard stuff for me to learn, but it seems like you are doing well with your recovery.

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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:25 pm

@John Kilpatrick wrote:I appreciate that you are still learning about this whole running thing! It is hard stuff for me to learn, but it seems like you are doing well with your recovery.

Still learning? Oh lordy, John! I'll never get this entirely figured out. Which, I suppose, makes it easier to accept the inevitable mistakes that happen along the way.

I was a little sore and cranky yesterday after the run, so I'm taking that as a message from my body to not ramp up the time next week as I'd been considering.

Besides, I'm hoping to do a MAF test on Sunday, if my body is willing. That in itself will be a big training stimulus. But it'll be nice to see where I am at this point, and it'll be nice to hook up with my training partner again.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:40 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes

Weather: Treadmill. 68 degrees. Gear: FR2s.

It was absolutely gorgeous outside this morning - cool and sunny with bright blue skies - so it was probably even more important than usual that I did today's run inside, on the treadmill. These workouts right now are all about holding myself back, to let my body keep healing while slowly rebuilding my aerobic fitness, and it would have been very difficult indeed to have not wanted to go out and pay a visit to the llamas and alpacas.

But no. That'd be too much. Especially considering my plans to do MAF test on Sunday. Those tests go up to six miles total (one mile warm-up, followed by five miles of running at the target HR), and that's a lot longer than what I've been doing lately.

And yes, I'll be careful. Whenever I get ambitious, I just remember that the podiatrist suggested wearing the boot for another four to six weeks.

The run was fine, and I can feel my form starting to come back. One interesting/funny thing: when I try to "improve" my form (rather than just relaxing), my HR goes up. And, when I congratulate myself on doing such a great job keeping my HR down, rather than just going with the flow, my HR goes up. Ah, the conscious mind. Such a pain. Smile
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:34 pm

This just in...

It's a beautiful morning, and Alec, out running for computer game time (we charge him 1 mile per hour of playing time), decides to keep going because he enjoys it so much.

"I'm starting to understand the joy of running, Dad. I don't want to stop!"

#winning! Very Happy
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:32 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes

On the treadmill. 68 degrees. Gear: FR2s.

I'd planned to do a MAF test yesterday, but I decided to put it off. I've been doing okay with 30 minute efforts, with only a little soreness, and I don't see any need to push my luck by suddenly doing six miles (one mile warm-up, five miles testing).

That turned out to be the same philosophy today, as well. I considered with the idea of going for 45 minutes (and even toyed with the idea of going an hour as I was warming up on the treadmill), but I left it for my body to decide. Things went well for the first 20 minutes or so, with a few HR spikes caused by enthusiasm or a slipping HR strap, but I got to the point to where I had to slow down to keep my HR in the proper zone. That was a pretty clear signal that my body is fine with 30-minute workouts for now, and that pushing harder - or longer - at this point would overstress the body.

It's been month today since the podiatrist said I might want to consider wearing a walking boot for 4-6 weeks (which I didn't), so I am clearly still in the recovery (aka "don't be an idiot") period. As much as I want to do more, I know it'd be a bad idea.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:55 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes on the treadmill

Weather: Rainy and humid outside (and probably inside, too). 68. Shoes: FR2s.

I think I might be coming down with a cold, so I wasn't surprised that my HR was elevated this morning before I started my run. I was surprised, however, by how MUCH higher it was. I was flirting with 100 bpm before I even got on the treadmill! (Normally, it ranges from the 60s to the 80s if I'm stressed.).

The run was okay, though I had to keep slowing down to keep my HR from going up too high. It was good practice - it's pretty much impossible to overstride when you're going that slow - and I finally found a pace that I could sustain without having to fiddle with the (-) button ever couple of minutes.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  KathyK on Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:14 pm

So cute that Alec discovered the joy of running! Neither one of my children enjoy it. My son runs because he has to maintain a certain level of fitness for his flight training in the Army. My daughter just doesn't like to run. She'd rather take a horse. Now, my step-daughter, on the other hand, will be doing her first marathon on Feb. 18th!

Like you, I'm running for fun and fitness these days. Not training for anything, just running.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:53 pm

@KathyK wrote:So cute that Alec discovered the joy of running! Neither one of my children enjoy it. My son runs because he has to maintain a certain level of fitness for his flight training in the Army. My daughter just doesn't like to run. She'd rather take a horse. Now, my step-daughter, on the other hand, will be doing her first marathon on Feb. 18th!

Like you, I'm running for fun and fitness these days. Not training for anything, just running.

Hi, Kathy! It was cool to see Alec get into running for something other than earning video game time. He still made sure we counted it, of course... Very Happy

Nothing wrong with fun and fitness, though I'm still sort of wrapping my psyche around that approach. Starting out injured is oddly beneficial to the process. Though I'll be glad to get to the point to where I feel like I can safely take it outside again.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:15 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes on the treadmill

Temp: 68. Shoes: FR2s.

Today marks the end of three weeks of 3x30-minute low HR runs. So far, so good. My foot seems to be handling it well, and I'm noticing that my body is just starting to respond to the low HR stimulus. When I ran this morning, it took longer for my HR to creep up to my target of 138, and it was easier to hold it there longer without having to reduce the speed on the treadmill. I also managed to get my HR back below 100 before I was done with the session. It involved slowing the treadmill to a zombie-walk pace, but I'll still take it. Wink

Here's a quick comparison of HR charts.

Jan. 23


And today, Feb. 10


Smoother line = happier body.

It probably helps that my body seems to have shaken off the cold bug after a day. Which helped on the run this morning and also bodes well for the whole Maffetone idea of improving fitness and health at the same time.

As for the foot ... my peroneal brevis tendon hasn't given me any discomfort in a while now. The discomfort is limited to the top of the metatarsals where they link up with the bones of the mid foot, and the discomfort is very mild, sporadic and seemingly unrelated to workouts. I think that'll just take time to settle down.

This is a pretty slow rehab/rebuilding process, but I think it's working. I'll decide what to do next week - keep at the 30-minute distance for now, or sneak it up a little - say, 45-30-45 or something like that.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm

If anything, running has taught me that consistent work and patience get results. Keep up the discipline, Mark.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:35 am

@Mike MacLellan wrote:If anything, running has taught me that consistent work and patience get results. Keep up the discipline, Mark.

You know what, Mike? You just inspired me. I know what my plan is for now.

I'm going to keep at the 30-minute time period for the low HR runs until I can make it all the way to the cool-down period (25 minutes in) without having to slow down the treadmill. Then, and only then, will I increase the time on those runs.

I'd always meant to try it like that -- advancing when my body tells me it's ready, not by some timetable -- but there was always some self-imposed timetable looming over my training (okay, maybe I was just impatient) that goaded me into rushing things along.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Michael Enright on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:12 am

I can't wait for you to improve your patience!

Very Happy

We sound a lot alike...
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:33 am

@Michael Enright wrote:I can't wait for you to improve your patience!

Very Happy

We sound a lot alike...

lol!
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:34 pm

That's what I like to hear, Mark. Flattered to be the impetus of such a venture. I'm going to play a little Devil's advocate with you - either to tempt you or (hopefully) prompt some more research/learning about this sport - and suggest that perhaps longer endurance runs will make short ones more economical and steady? Just along the lines of how long, slow miles will build up a base and teach the body to burn fat.

Maybe this will come down to doing some runs and some hikes, so you can get in long, super-low intensity base miles/time to give your running a boost. What do you think?
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:14 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:That's what I like to hear, Mark. Flattered to be the impetus of such a venture. I'm going to play a little Devil's advocate with you - either to tempt you or (hopefully) prompt some more research/learning about this sport - and suggest that perhaps longer endurance runs will make short ones more economical and steady? Just along the lines of how long, slow miles will build up a base and teach the body to burn fat.

Maybe this will come down to doing some runs and some hikes, so you can get in long, super-low intensity base miles/time to give your running a boost. What do you think?

Ooo! Mike's getting Devilish. Wink

Yes, longer low-intensity endurance runs will yield significant benefits. That's the point of this sort of training. I'm holding back a bit now because 1) my foot still isn't fully healed (I fooled around at the climbing gym yesterday and my peroneal tendon is complaining today) and 2) I have never tried what could best be described as a shallower angle of attack, where I explore whether reading my body's signals rather than taking a more arbitrary approach. Will it yield a greater benefit over time? I have no idea. But I have time to experiment with it now.

At some point, the discussion is academic. It takes six weeks to grow mitochondria in those slow-twitch muscles. I'm already noticing a benefit three weeks in, as expected, and the difference will be even more significant in three more weeks. I'm sure I'll be going longer than 30 minutes at a time before then. As long as my foot lets me, that is.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:20 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes on the treadmill

Temp: 68. Shoes: FR2s

So, immediately after deciding that I want to hold my low HR runs at the 30 minute time until I can go 25 minutes before my HR starts rising out of my target zone (138 max), what happens? I spike at 151 about 7.5 minutes in. Whaa??? After a minute of panic and despair, it dawned on me that I must not have put enough gel on my HR strap. I slowed for a moment, applied some slobber, and was relieved to see things settle down immediately.

Y'see, this is what happens when I set even the smallest goal for myself. I start stressing over it. And it's been a bit more stressful than usual lately, thanks to birthdays, appointments, work, etc. So more stress isn't exactly helpful. In fact, it leads to boneheaded mistakes, like putting a tech top in the dryer with a sweater (itchy much? iii!), so my great new plan is somewhat self-defeating. Typical.

Like when I passed 20 minutes and saw that my HR had slipped up to 139 and I couldn't adjust my form or breathing to get it back to 138? I yelled at my Garmin to go back down again, PLEASE?! - as if that'd calm me down somehow. I realized that was ridiculous, and slowed the treadmill.

One of these days, I might find some maturity. But don't expect me to set a timeline for when it'll happen, because it'd just freak me out. Wink

(BTW, the run itself was fine, if itchy and more stressful than needed. My sore foot eased up quickly.)
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:04 pm

Low HR Run: 30 minutes on the treadmill

Temp: 68. Shoes: FR2s

If I had any expectations going into this morning's run, it was that it would NOT be easy to keep my HR in the proper zone. It's been a hectic few days (BD parties, school projects, big ADHD testing session) that has required the timing of a armored car heist to keep things from going awry. Well, many things went awry, and we were all twitchy and frazzled by the time Valentine's Day arrived.

So, when I turned on the HR monitor and saw that my starting HR was 85 rather than somewhere in the 60s, I wasn't surprised. The tension has eased a little, but the body is still feeling the effects of having the adrenal glands wrung dry for days on end.

So I ran easy, and accepted the fact that I'd be slowing down WAY earlier than usual, and way more. My stress reaction was out of my control, so all I could do was accept it and make the best of it. Heroically pushing it would have only increased the stress load and made it worse. No sense in that.

So the run was slow, but fine. My foot was creaky at the start but got better.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:56 pm

Lookin' good, Mark. And yelling at the Garmin is something we've all done, I'm sure. Mine tends to be something more along the lines of "COME ON MOTHER F***ER" when I want to hit a pace and I'm just a few seconds shy of it, but you'll never hear me saying that's a sign of immaturity What a Face
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