Yesterday evenings run showed me that I am truly out of shape compared to the way I was a year ago (and even two years ago).
I could blame the dying batteries in the chest strap, the watch, and the footpod, but no. This was all me. My perception of what I feel is easy vs moderate vs hard for exertion effort does not match to what my heart rate is.
A run that is approximately 4 miles (almost 4.4 according to gmap-pedometer.com) took me about 45 minutes to run. Not good, not bad. But here's the kicker. My exertion level for what is supposed to have felt like an "easy" run was showing my HR at an average of 170 BPM. Totally unacceptable! But my HR didn't calm down when I tried to catch up to the group and I didn't let it fall enough when I did catch them. It's the one thing that sucks about group runs, if the main part of the pack is too fast for what you're training for, you might as well have ran alone.
When I was training for my first half-marathon, I was able to keep my HR at 154-157 BPM and run at a 9:30 min/mile pace. My tempo speed was around 8:00 min/mile with my HR at 168-170 BPM. My hard speed doing intervals on the track was around 6:30-7:30 min/mile with my HR going to 185-195 BPM usually. But I put the HRM away after I moved away from triathlons and shifted to ultrarunning. I think a big part of my problem was that I didn't know how to use the data very well. I had a general idea when I was doing tris, but I wasn't able to fine-tune things.
After a very annoying morning of not waking up soon enough and just stressing out WAY TOO SOON for the workday, this is what I know:
- I need to take my health more seriously.
- I need to take my training more seriously.
For the health part:
- I need to get back to my original weight that I was at when I was triathlon training. I was around 180-190. I'm at 220 at the moment.
- I need to modify my eating habits again and go back to a combo of calorie counting, portion control, and having my meals better balanced (more veggies & fruits, less refined carbs, leaner protein)
- I need to get better sleep and have better sleeping patterns, even if it means to go to bed before everyone else in the house.
For the training part:
- I need to have a bigger aerobic base. By the results of the HRM, my aerobic base has tanked and I need MORE cardio. This also means that I need to cross-train as well. (God, I miss cycling in the mornings for my work commute.)
- I need to run more, even if it means to be slower and alone in my runs. I have to heart rate train now and only heart rate train until I can maintain a better aerobic base.
- I need to fix my injuries. Get the deep-tissue massage. Do better stretches. Cross-Train right.
- I need to force myself to find time to train and have balance. Even if it means to come off as selfish at times. I'm no good to anyone if I'm not taking care of myself.
And something that goes beyond training and health: I need to not have lofty goals and be more specific with what I want in my running and the races I do. I have my heart set on the next Cascade Crest 100, but I need to have all of my training focused on doing that race and that race alone. I have to use other races as ways to get my aerobic base up and not as a way to get more marathons and/or ultras under my belt.
I have to run with a better purpose. I have to light a fire under my ass and get moving!