Monday, January 5, 2009

Breaking out the Duct Tape: HR Training - Day 13, Day 14, and Week 2 result

The light run on Saturday (Day 13) was a "Perfect 3" as Suunto would say. Although I should find a way to warm-up better to control the initial wonky HR. I would have preferred to have it for an hour, but the 33 minutes (15m run-3m rest-15m run) was good enough.

Sunday's run (Day 14) was going to be longer than I had done in some time. I missed being out and just soaking in the world. Despite my current ability to run on a treadmill and not get bored out of my skull, I needed to get outside and get some Planet Earth under me for a change.

The run was originally a Base Builder run, but I figured that trying to run for over 90 minutes doing basically 6 medium/hard runs and 7 easy/recovery runs so soon was out of the question. I'll have to contend with something like that for Day 21 anyway, so why rush things? But I did need more time on my feet. So after I didn't get any word back from Eric on tweaking the day, I decided to blend the Base Builder day with some light running before and after, throwing in an experimental run based solely on my RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)...figured that would make things a bit interesting.

So, this is how the workout went:

1.) 15 minute light running in zone 1 (basically, this is the warm-up)
2.) 3 minute rest
3.) 10 minute running in zone 1
4.) 5 minute running in zone 2
5.) Repeat #3 & #4 three more times
6.) Run at what I think feels comfortable to me for about 5+ minutes and see where the HR lands
7.) Cooldown run/walk for another 7+ minutes.

The beginning part was messed up, but some of that is attributed to the powerlines in the area by my home. I've always had to deal with the insanity of those when I had HR trained in the past. Once the actual workout started, it was fine...until the insta-drop in my HR after 40 minutes into the entire workout. I was approaching an area that is notorious for creating unusual surges in electronic devices, but seeing my HR drop so much was definately pointing at other possibles. I was feeling fine. My exertion levels were good during both parts of the run when I would switch from zone 1 to zone 2 and back. I got back about a mile away from home and then decided to just run based solely off of feel and seeing if I can determine my steady-state/Most Efficient Pace (MEP) for myself. So, for about a half mile, I tend to feel steady at a 11 minutes per mile with an HR of about 150-153 bpm.

I can't say this was a good run, but it could have been worse. I doubt that I screwed anything up, but after doing some more research on the reasons for so many HR drops, I finally found something from Ironman triathlete Mark Allen (one of the huge supporters in this kind of training) and he says that these drops are common and caused by HR belts that are not strapped on very well. This would explain alot, especially since my HR belt does seem to want to slip. I'll have to try and tighten it up a bit more...then again, nothing like a bit of duct tape to fix that thing on for good, eh?

And for the 2nd week's progress so far:


Istvan said...

Way to go Jon. Both Maffetone and Mittleman argue that you should not be a "slave" to the schedule. Just listen to your body (... modify the schedule from time to time).

Several of the RunningAHEAD regulars (Low HR Training Group) suggest using hand soap to moisten the HR strap. It seems to guarantee a good contact with the skin (like a tight strap) when you don't perspire much (low HR).

Girl said...

Jon - I tend to wear my heart rate monitor higher than most people and don't have problems with it slipping. Basically it is below the armpits rather than the bottom of my sports bra is. Interference between a sports bra and the chest strap probably isn't a problem for you, but the higher position might work.

Jon said...

Thanks Istvan. I heard about the soap thing along with using saline solution (ya know, the cleaner for contact lenses). However, I currently use Buh-Bump electrode cream (a bottle I still have a decent amount of from my triathlon days).

Girl - I've used an HRM in the past and didn't have problems with the old one (an Omron HC-100). However, it was a very basic HRM. Had high and low zone settings and a simple stopwatch with no memory to hold anything. But the HR Belt was solid. It had grooves for the rubber electrodes along with airholes for ventilation. The holes that allowed the straps to connect to it were wider and the strap was a half-size wider than the current one I'm using for the Suunto.

It could also be that the strap that I have is worn to the point where its lost some of its elasticity and might need replacing.