Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Expectations and Astronauts: HR Training - Day 37

Another group run, doing a Base Builder II workout. As you can see in the image, the warm-up isn't there. I tried to do one, but it was a serious flop. I had tried to do some brisk walking and some very easy jogging to get my HR going and the blood flowing, but my HR dropped back to the resting state again after standing around too long before the actual run.

I'm still trying to learn how to monitor myself on the ground versus the treadmill. I'm also trying to get use to running with the group without getting sucked into everyone elses pace. There are some steady moments, but not enough steady moments within the zones. I will be tightening this up as time goes on in my training after I'm done with the plan for this week and beyond.

Afterwards, Eric and I had a good solid talk about his expectations versus my goals. As I told him, I'm always willing to listen to people - even if I decide to do something else in the end. This would be one of those times. Eric's expectations based on what I've been blogging about and what his experience is, he recommended that I postpone Cascade Crest for 2010 and focus on my HR for the next 9+ months, maybe do a marathon or 50k as a race to focus on for this time (my calculation, that would put either the Portland Marathon in October, Seattle Marathon in November, Baker Lake 50k in September, or the Ron Herzog 50k in November as a single thing to focus all my efforts towards.) This means that other races throughout the year that I would desire to do would be off the table - no White River, no Chuckanut, no Mt Si, nothing. It would all be HR training and tuning. He said that it was something I probably didn't want to hear. He was right and I decided to go against the recommendations.

We talked at length about everything. The training. My progress. My goals. Everything that could make and/or break me for Cascade Crest. I totally saw where he was coming from - get the HR thing down to where everything afterwards would be awesome later. My thing was to simply aim for the stars. For the past several weeks while training, I had been reviewing all of my data from my past races and training schedules. Looking at what worked well and what didn't. This is what I found so far:

1.) HR training in the past worked (although I went off of the 220-age thing)
2.) I cross-trained a great deal (swim & bike when tri training, bike commuting, and strength training) which added more hours to my training weeks.
3.) I had only one session a week that was dedicated to just faster running (tempos and intervals). All the other runs were either easy or long. Looking at my times during my triathlon training and my half-marathon training for Chicago, the swim/bike/run gave me stronger legs with a better core, the HR training then when going out for my easy runs got progressively better as each day went on - the HR staying under control. The strength training also helped me as well, especially with my metabolism. I was able to process fuel better since the muscles were leaner and more active. Also, I could take the pounding better and recover faster in a shorter period of time.
4.) I ate better. Don't get me wrong. I don't eat the junk like I use to, but I haven't relaxed the portion control on some things.
5.) I weighed less (but that was from very tight control of my diet and workouts to the point of being obsessive-compulsive). I also had less muscle compared to now (although having more muscle mass isn't a bad thing), which made me faster since I carried less while running.

So this is what I decided to do:

1.) Sign-up for Cascade Crest this year.
2.) Focus on my HR for my training aimed towards Cascade Crest after I'm done with the current training plan.
3.) Re-incorporate my cycling (not to mention cycling work commutes) back into my life
4.) Re-incorporate strength training back into my life as well (Looking forward to doing CrossFit again, but starting back on the simple routine using the CrossFit Beginner's Program)
5.) Do my best to buckle down on some of my eating habits to find a good balance between how much I burn during training versus what I need to consume for proper living.
6.) If at any time Cascade Crest seems like it's not an attainable goal based on what I'm going through, I will request the RD (Charlie Crissman) to defer my entry for the following year.
7.) I will use various races from now till Cascade Crest as an aid to help me train, but it won't be a monsterous amount of races. Every training run, every race will serve a purpose.

I had told Eric that I want to experience all that Cascade Crest and moving 100 miles will do. In the past, I had told Eric of my first ultra - the 1st Annual Pigtails Flat Ass. I had gone through some insanity that winter and with my amount of frustration in life, I wanted to run long and just hurt. However, the hurt was short-lived and the euphoria of moving for hours (under 5:30 to be more specific) took over. This is one of the major reasons why I run. People mention their Love/Hate relationship with running and exercise in general. Hell, New Balance made a few commercials on this. The one thing that I did not want my training to turn into is ALL WORK. I want moments to enjoy as well. It took some doing, but I found a bit of the joy in the current training, usually in the slow light runs or when I hit the trail those two times. However, the stress of having to deal with mini-intervals on a daily basis and memorizing the patterns did deflate some of that fun. So this is what I'm left with: Perform at my Potential or Have Fun.

The answer: I choose a happy balance. I will HR train and do alot of cross-training to help facility my aerobic capacity. However, I will make sure that every run counts and that I can smile along the way.


queergrrrl said...

As I read this post I began to smile . . . it sounds like you're finally focusing on the one thing that has worked for you in the past. As you recounted your training back when you were doing tri's, biking to work, lots of long slow runs with maybe one speed workout, and much much more fun. Honestly focusing on the fun . . . doing the things that worked in the past are so much more useful than all this "science."

All that you've been doing has raised your frustration level more than it has done anything. Get out there, run, do what has worked before, be your own runner and remember . . . as Anton Krupickna has said, "every runner is an experiment of one."

Jon said...

Yeah, Tony...er, Anton has repeated that as well as a bunch of other guys on the UltraLIST. But you are right, it is about the fun and I struggled to find it within the plan.

However, I think I'll find a happy medium between fun and still accomplishing what I'm setting out to do. After all, the satisfaction of finishing something and finishing it well can be fun too!

But I look very foward to the fun! FUN FUN FUN!!! :-D

Nic said...


I can hear where you're coming from - this is why I can't imagine following a training schedule as ridged as yours, I know this type of training is proven, but if it drives me away from the sport due to my lack of enjoyment, it's just not worth it to me. I figure, for me personally, as long as I occasionally can knock a bit off my PRs while I'm still relatively young then it's all gravy. Sounds like you've got a got plan in place, one that allows you to improve while still having fun - what more could you want?

Nic said...

...or rather

"...got a good plan..."

not a 'got plan' :-)

Jon said...

I'm glad that I did go through this training, it gave me good experience on what to do with myself. But yeah, I do miss the fun that was more frequent. I just hope that my training plan will pay off!