Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back to the Base-ics

If you search the Internet long enough you can find just about anything that will support your theories…

Too Slow

I have no doubt Mark Allen knows what
he's talking about
Recently I read an article by Mark Allen (six-time winner of the Ironman World Championship) that stressed staying in your aerobic or fat burning for the first 10-12 weeks of training. Based on his formula, I needed to keep my heart rate below 134. 

This proved to be easier said than done. Last Friday I did a 10 mile run with HS and managed to maintain an average HR of 134. In order to maintain this HR, I ran a 12:21 minute per mile pace. UGH!!! I didn't think I could do this for 10 days let alone 10 weeks. There had to be a better way.

Google Search

This unbearably slow pace is what lead to today's Google search. I can't remember my exact search criteria, but it had something to do with base pace being too slow.

I found the following two part article by Paul Carmona. For what it's worth, Paul Carmona is a lawyer who has completed 33 marathons and 30 triathlons (from sprint to Ironman distance). Does this mean he does or doesn't know what he's talking? I don't know, but I like what he has to say and it supports my theory that I'm running too slow! LOL

Carmona's two part-er does not depart from the fundamentals stressed by Mark Allen. The main difference is in part 2 where Carmona offers a more customized way of calculating your HR range. Carmona's method takes into account your resting HR. Look at this example Carmona uses…
Let’s say for the purposes of illustration that our runner is a 40 year-old who attains a maximal heart rate of 175 on the hill test. Next, she averages 55 beats at rest. HRR is maximal heart rate minus resting heart rate. In this example, 175 minus 55 is 120. That is her “heart rate reserve,” 120. In other words, she can go from complete rest at 55 beats per minute to a maximum of 175 beats at very hard effort. 
Generally, the recommended zone for aerobic training is 65%-78% of HRR. For our example, where the HRR is 120, we arrive at these numbers:
  • 65% of 120 = 78 
  • 78% of 120 = 94 
However, you have got to add back into these numbers the resting heart rate. Thus, for our runner whose resting heart rate is 55, the zones are: 
  • 78 + 55 = 133  
  • 94 + 55 = 149
Voila! Her target training zone for aerobic exercise is 133-149. Now, compare that range to the simplistic method above (220 minus age x 60%-80%), which yielded zones of 108-144. The 133-149 zone is much narrower, and is tailored specifically to her own resting and maximal heart rates. 
I have a pretty good idea of my maximum HR based on my Garmin averages and the field tests that Coach James has put me though. If there is any doubt about those numbers, my recent VO2 max test at the University of the Pacific should put those to rest. The only missing piece to this puzzle will be my resting heart rate.

For today's 5 mile run, I borrowed the HR range from Carmona's example…why not? It's better than walking my run. My moving pace for the run jumped to a speedy 10:58 minutes per mile. Ok, maybe that's not exactly speedy, but it is much more do-able than 12:21…I'm just saying.

For the next week, I am going to be recording my resting heart rate as soon as I wake up. Maybe my results will get me a few extra bpm ;-)