30 December 2008

Repeat Threshold Test

Duration = 30:01
Distance = 2.30
Calories = 238
Max HR = 181
Avg HR = 145
Running Index = 40
Max Cadence = 97
Avg Cadence = 86

This was basically a repeat of the test I did on 19 November. This was modified a bit. Warm-up was 7 minutes at 4.0 mph and a grade of 1.5%. At 7:00, I increased the grade to 3.0% keeping the speed at 4.0. The test was 0.3 mph faster after each 90-second interval. Final speed today was 6.7. This is 1.0 mph faster than last time with a lower heart rate.

I'm going to push the time trial back to Friday. While I showed improvement since November, I didn't have the ease that I'm used to. I may still be recovering from the hill runs. At least my form was better. The next one of these will probably be at the beginning of March. I will start that test with a warm-up at 5.0 and increment from there.

28 December 2008

Colder Hilly Run

Duration = 36:43
Distance = 2.95
Calories = 314
Max HR = 173
Avg HR = 151
Running Index = 37
Max Cadence = 99
Avg Cadence = 87

Little wind and around 45 F when I started. Same route as last time. A little stiffer and my form suffered. I will definitely make the point to get outside and actually run as much as I can this winter. I was wearing the long leg covers in addition to the hat, jacket, shirt and shorts I was wearing last time.

The major issue is lack of familiarity with hills and maintaining a set pace. I did much better on keeping the cadence up.

I will be taking tomorrow off and then redoing the threshold test. This will be follow on New Year's Day with a time trial to set my targets for the next month. I'm hoping to run a 5K on the 1st of February in Novi, Michigan. This will allow me to set February unless I do particularly poorly.

26 December 2008

Hilly Easy Run

Duration = 36:32
Distance = 3.02
Calories = 303
Max HR = 165
Avg HR = 147
Running Index = 44
Max Cadence = 97
Avg Cadence = 88

I managed to get out and run today before the rain got here (still hasn't as I write this). I did two laps around the neighborhood. This route has a steep hill on one end and a shallow hill at the other. A creek runs across the middle of the route. Weather was 60 degrees with overcast. There was some wind, but it was rarely an issue.

I was able to maintain my target cadence during the run. My pace was faster than my target (11:16 vs 12:00). Reviewing the data from the HRM, my heart rate is perfectly in line with the range for the easy run. I need to work on getting more used to managing my pace better when running outside. I'm looking forward to the weather improving up home in Michigan and I can spend more time outside instead of running on the treadmill.

25 December 2008

Christmas Lights Stroll

I'm currently visiting my father in Oklahoma. My father, my wife, and I went for a walk to look at the lights in the local neighborhood. We spent about a half hour at an easy pace.

23 December 2008

Full strides session

Duration = 50:04
Distance = 4.04
Calories = 467
Max HR = 178
Avg HR = 153
Running Index = 40
Max Cadence = 114
Avg Cadence = 87

Plan for today was a repeat of the plan for Monday: 30 minutes E-pace followed by 6 strides and a cool-down. Plan fully executed.

Comparing the two, I did better in every measure today. I felt better and that may be all the difference there is. My peak heart rate is on the end of the last stride and is lower than the peak of each of the five strides yesterday. The normal drift was a bit slower. In fact, there is a fair portion of the steady pace section that is flat. Yesterday had a steady rise for the entire session. Finally, after only two minutes from the end of the final stride, I had already recovered to a lower heart rate and maintained that all the way to the end of the cool-down.

In cadence, I'm getting better control of the faster speeds. The peak cadence came in the first stride. The rest were all under 105. Also, there is a sharper adjustment at the beginning and the end of each stride. I think part of the rapid improvement I seeing currently is due to significant improvement in my running mechanics. I feel there is some additional efficiency to be gained here before I plateau. As I'm happy with the pace of aerobic development, I focusing on the mechanics for this current cycle. The current sequence completes at the beginning of April.

22 December 2008

Making great strides

Duration = 50:03
Distance = 4.06
Calories = 485
Max HR = 181
Avg HR = 157
Running Index = 39
Max Cadence = 111
Avg Cadence = 87

I came up with a protocol for strides on the treadmill. I'd do them as 30 second intervals. I picked 8.0 mph (7:30/mile) for the speed as it is a single button on the control panel. My E-pace is currently 5.0 (12:00). This is a slight increase in pace for this week. The plan calls for 6 strides with a 1 minute rest at E-pace between them. I did the first five with little difficulty. The treadmill takes a bit of time to build up (and slow down) which works well with the intent of strides. I wasn't sure about the last stride and decided to drop it and finish the time at E-pace. I then did a 10 minute cool-down from 4.5 to 4.0 and 3.5 for a minute each and 3.0 for two minutes. I then dropped the speed to 2.5 for 5 minutes. 30 minutes at E-pace ended at 82% of heart rate reserve (HRR). Peak for the strides was 93% HRR and the end of the 5.0 after the 5 strides was 85% HRR. The end of the cool-down was at 55% HRR.

While I didn't do all the strides, I'm still happy with this session. I looked at a previous session that was shorter, slower, and had fewer bursts to a lower speed. That session developed at higher heart rate and peaked at the highest heart rate I've yet seen (which I'm currently using as my 100%, or HRmax). This shows definite improvement. I'm going to stay with the slight increase in pacing.

Today, I hit a milestone in my weight loss effort. My weight this morning was 170. This is the first time I've seen this weight since September 2003. This is 9 pounds since I started this effort last month. Short term, I need to get through the holidays without going crazy, but the extra calorie burn form the training helps. I'm keeping a eye on things to make sure I don't lose at too fast a rate as that way lies injury.

21 December 2008

Sunday Long Run

Duration = 45:03
Distance = 3.52
Calories = 411
Max HR = 166
Avg HR = 152
Running Index = 39
Max Cadence = 93
Avg Cadence = 87

Simple Long Run today at E-pace (12:11/mile for my current fitness level)

I set the treadmill at 4.8 and ran that, paying attention to my cadence and foot strike. My target is a cadence of 90. I averaged this during the work phase of this session. The 5 minute cool-down with a stepped reduction in speed is working well.

One advantage of the treadmill is that my wife will read while I run. (I return the favor while she does her session.) Upcoming travel will be interesting to see how I get my time accomplished.

19 December 2008

Shoveling 10 inches of snow

Duration = 1:39:08
Calories = 583
Max HR = 145
Avg HR = 119

When we got the 10 inches of snow, I was ready. I wore the strap and wrist control while shoveling the driveway and walks. I used cleaning off my car as the cool-down.

Steady Zone 1 for the first 8:15, then steady Zone 2. The last 8 minutes of shoveling was in low Zone 3 as I was dealing with the car and the last of the snow. I was moving a bit faster and it was a bit more difficult. I hit the lap button at this point (1:27:24) and called my wife. I then cleared the snow off my car. This final effort was all Zone 1. I figure this is because there was very limited lifting involved.

18 December 2008

Cruise Intervals

Duration = 40:06
Distance = 3.28
Calories = 389
Max HR = 175
Avg HR = 155
Running Index = 40
Max Cadence = 96
Avg Cadence = 85

I missed the Quality Session scheduled yesterday, so I did that session today. Tomorrow will be an Easy session, dropping the second Quality Session this week.

I need to convert the distance based workout to a time based workout. This was billed as 3 x 1-mile with 1 minute rests. I noted that the target distance was too high for my current weekly total. I dropped one of the repeats. Then I noted that I had the wrong time for the work phase. I ended up with 12 minutes of work which is short of the target of 20.

After the planned 10-minute cool-down, I added an additional phase where I step the speed down to 4.0 mph then to 3.5, 3.0, and 2.5 after 1 minute each. I then stay at 2.5 until I have a heart rate below 130. I may try this with a final speed of 3.0 and see if the heart rate drops low enough.

16 December 2008

Unplanned cross training

Duration = 45:00

Tonight, I spent 45 minutes shoveling snow. As this was an "easy" day in the plan, I used this as an impromptu cross training session. Shortly after I started, I thought about getting the HRM to track the effort, but decided that I'd rather just finish than go through the effort of getting undress enough to put on the strap and then dress again for the cold. I booked it as Zone 1 time for the record I keep of exercises.

[Posted 1100, 18 December 2008]

15 December 2008

Red Level 1 - Week 1 Day 1

Duration = 40:01
Distance = 3.23
Calories = 357
Max HR = 159
Avg HR = 148
Running Index = 41
Max Cadence = 91
Avg Cadence = 88

The start of a new program. Day 1 of Level 1 (Weeks 1-4 of the Red Intermediate Plan in Daniels' Running Formula (2nd Ed.)) calls for 30 minutes of E pace (currently 12:11/mile) followed by 6 strides. Strides are hard to do on a treadmill, so I just added 10 more minutes of E pace. Today was immediate start quickly ramping the treadmill up to 5.0, then adjusting until I was as close as I could get to the target pace. 4.8 was best today yielding an average pace of 12:14. My wife read to me as I ran which really helps the time go by. I stopped immediately at the end of the 40 minutes and did several stretches. The immediate start is okay, but I think I will slow to a walk before stopping the treadmill. It is also possible that this pace a touch fast for its purpose. On a track or trail, I expect that getting back to the car or the house will be sufficient cool-down.

Goals update and current plan

Now that I've passed the USAF Fitness Assessment, I can review my fitness goals. My first goals post is a good starting point (and changes are marked relative to that post). I want to give myself some breathing room on the assessment, so I'm adding the following goals: Run 1.5 miles in 12:00 (this will give me three more points) and complete 30 crunches in 1 minute (improving my current weakest segment). I've replaced the 1.5 miles in 10:30 short term goal with the two long term goals of maxing out the run.

Short Term Goals

  • Run 1.5 miles in 10:30 (7:00/mile)
  • Run 1.5 miles in 12:00 (8:00/mile)
  • Complete a 5K run (Done, 1 FEB 2009)
  • Complete a 10K run (Done, 11 APR 2009)
  • Complete 30 crunches in 1 minute
  • Body fat percentage < 25%

Long Term Goals

  • 6 miles in 42:00 (43:24 for a 10K; 7:00/mile)
  • Max the 1.5 mile run for my age group, currently 10:24
  • Max the 1.5 mile run for any male, 9:36
  • Body fat percentage < 20%
  • Complete a marathon

Current Plan

Over the next four months, I will be completing the Red Intermediate Plan from Daniels' Running Formula (2nd Ed.). I will continue to run 6 days a week and include 5K to 10K races as opportunities allow. I will workout with sets of push-ups and crunches on three "easy" days during the week. I will also continue my diet which should achieve my current target (155 lbs.) at the end of April 2009.

[Edited 2009-02-01 to noted 5K completed]

[Edited 2009-04-11 to noted 10K completed]

13 December 2008

Fit-to-Fight, December 2008

Duration = 13:36
Distance = 1.5
Calories = 169
Max HR = 190
Avg HR = 177
Running Index = 38
Max Cadence = 100
Avg Cadence = 91

This month, the assessment was Saturday afternoon. The conditions were good. We were indoors and the run was on a short track.

This month, I had the same waist measurement as last month, 35 inches (22.5 points). I did 24 crunches (7.1 points) and 40 push-ups (10 points, maximum available). Going into the run, I needed 35.4 points or 14:24 for the 1.5 miles to pass. This track is real short (9 laps to the mile), but the surface is great. I was shooting for a 9:00/mile, or 1:00/lap of this track. This would give me a nice cushion against the 14:24 I needed. I had a good start and ran a very consistent pace. Part way through the run, I noted I was ahead of my target (my laps were less than 1:00). I let up just a touch (later review showed my heart rate dropping from 180 to 176) as I didn't want to burn out short of the 1.5 and I was currently running faster than I have ever run for that distance. Once I got closer to the finish and still felt good, I started to pick up the pace a touch and ran the last lap in a nice kick. (The only problem I had was the corners were sharp enough that I had to lean well inside to make them at speed.) Final time was 13:36 (37.5 points). I passed the assessment with 77.1 points.

Next Steps

My waist measurement and the crunches are the weakest parts of my assessment. I've lost 5 pounds already and plan to continue the pound/week rate for the next few months. Now that I have met the standard, I can back off a bit on the intensity and replace that with strength training (including crunches). I intend to increase my score. I expect that the waist will eventually respond to the weight loss. I intend to continue training on running. I just plan to increase the intensity at a slower rate (closer to once every four weeks). I also plan to start a longer range running program starting with building a proper base. I'm looking at entering my first 5K race. The plan I've been following is modeled on training for that race, so I should be ready for that distance though not necessarily at the speed I used here.

[posted 2130, 14 December 2008]
[Edited 1300, 15 December 2008 to fix font]

11 December 2008

Last Easy Session before assessment

Duration = 30:00
Distance = 1.80
Calories = 169
Max HR = 137
Avg HR = 116
Running Index = 44
Max Cadence = 83
Avg Cadence = 70

This was an easy session. I made a bit shorter than normal. I'm almost to the point where the easy sessions have me running more than walking.

This weekend (I expect Saturday), I have my next assessment for Fit-to-Fight. As it stands, I expect it to be quite close as to my passing. I know I've taken at least 1:30 off the last time. I hope that I have most of the next 1:30 that I need if nothing else changes. I know I've done everything I could do to advance my performance on the run.

I also hope that I have made other advances; but, as I've focused on the run, I don't expect much else. I am losing a pound a week, so I will have lost 5 pounds since the last assessment. I hope I get some credit there in lost inches, but that will depend on the measurement. I hope I don't run into any problems with the push-ups or the crunches. I've done a little with them, but there is more that could be done.

On Sunday, I will know whether I passed and what areas need the more work regardless. I will add the push-ups and the crunches as a regular part of strength training in the new plan.

10 December 2008

Tempo Run

Duration = 30:05
Distance = 2.25
Calories = 262
Max HR = 176
Avg HR = 145
Running Index = 37
Max Cadence = 94
Avg Cadence = 80

Using what I learned from Monday, I started with a 10 minute warm-up. My goal for this tempo run was to maintain 6.0 for the 10 minutes of the run. I succeeded. I then did a 10 minute cool-down and stretches.

10:00/mile is a bit fast for a tempo run at my last time trial, but is right at the pace called for by my target assessment pace of 8:51. A tempo run pace is described as "comfortably hard" with a heart rate in the 85-90% of Heart Rate Reserve (range from resting to maximum). I would agree that the effort tonight was comfortably hard and review of the HR data from the session puts the heart rate at 84-89% Heart Rate Reserve.

09 December 2008

An "easy" pace targeted session

Duration = 30:07
Distance = 1.88
Calories = 206
Max HR = 151
Avg HR = 128
Running Index = 38
Max Cadence = 86
Avg Cadence = 75

This was an "easy" session using a performance-predicted pace. I have a chart using my current time for the 1.5 miles (linearly prorated to 2km as the calculator didn't have 1.5 mile as a distance option) to determine the correct pace for different types of training. I set the treadmill for this pace and ran that for the stress phase of today's session. When I downloaded the information from the HRM to my computer, I determined that my heart rate actually settled in the expected range for Endurance-targeted training.

While the blister is still there (checked before the run), it didn't seem to get worse during this session. It looks like the toe nail might, indeed, have been the culprit.

In Fit-to-Fight news, I have acquired a sit-up bar (goes under a door) to help with training for the strength portion of the assessment.

08 December 2008

I learned something new

Duration = 30:01
Distance = 2.21
Calories = 261
Max HR = 184
Avg HR = 145
Running Index = 38
Max Cadence = 100
Avg Cadence = 79

Several things actually.

I got a new book, Daniels' Running Formula (2nd Ed.) by Jack Daniels. He covers a lot of ground I've already seen, but one new thing stuck this time through: cadence. My wife had recently said that I needed to make sure I wasn't spending too much energy bounding up and down. This primed me for the comment with respect to cadence that higher cadence was more efficient as you spent less time in the air which also reduces the impact of the heel strike. I tried this in today's session. I need to work on it, but it did seem to help. This may have given me a key to my next improvement in speed. Now all I need to do is get my stamina to match.

I need to make my warm-up longer. I will now work with a gradual increase over 10 minutes to get ready for these sessions. I initially backed off the pace I had set as it just didn't feel right. A bit later (just over 10:00), I noted a stable heart rate and my legs felt better, so I started increasing the speed. I had initially planned on 5.0, but actually found that 6.0 felt better with the faster cadence. I didn't have the stamina for this level yet, so I backed off to 5.5. This felt better, so I bumped the speed a bit, and then went back to 6.0 for another 2 minutes. I finished the last 30 seconds at 8.0. A 10 minute cool-down and stretches and I was done.

A bit later, I noted a small blister on the toe next to the big toe on my left foot. I have tended to run in the socks I wear to work. I will find and wear the exercise socks I have. I will also trim the nail on the big toe which could be the culprit.

Finally, the Running Index of 38 is my best to date for a pure running session. The continues the positive trend of the three weeks I've used to heart rate monitor for these sessions. Somewhere around 45 would correspond with a strong running score on the USAF Fit-to-Fight assessment.

This was a good session: I feel great as I type this.

07 December 2008

Better Long run

Duration = 1:30:02
Distance = 5.66
Calories = 627
Max HR = 144
Avg HR = 129
Running Index = 42
Max Cadence = 75
Avg Cadence = 67

Today's long run was better than the one last Sunday. The pace was much more consistent. Warm-up started at 2.0 mph, then 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5. After 5 minutes, I started stress phase at 4.0. I maintained this until I had finished the first mile. Then I dropped the speed to 3.5. I stayed with this for a while until I noted that my heart rate was dropping a bit. I bumped the speed to keep the heart rate over 130. I ended that phase at 3.7. Cool-down was 10 minutes starting at 3.5 and ending at 2.5 to complete the 1:30 for the whole session.

I'd have liked to have done better, but my body was unhappy with me. I had just gotten home from dinner. I need to have had more fluids in my system and I should have allowed more time after eating.

05 December 2008

Last Pacing Exercise Before Assessment

Duration = 31:06
Distance = 2.42
Calories = 297
Max HR = 183
Avg HR = 153
Running Index = 36
Max Cadence = 96
Avg Cadence = 75

I did this very similar to my trial on Wednesday. I did the crunches and push-ups (this time with help from my wife). I did the warm-up, then restarted the treadmill. I set a speed of 6.0 mph. I was able to maintain this for just over the first four "laps". I dropped the speed to 5.0 until I had less than half a "lap" to go. I then pushed right up to the end of the "lap". There followed the normal cool-down, but this time I stopped decreasing the speed at 2.5.

I have a new best time for the 1.5 miles (as indicated by the treadmill) of 15:51. This is only 3 seconds from another break point. If I can get those three seconds, I have 5 of the 11.5 points I need in improvements to pass the assessment. It's going to be close this month.

04 December 2008

Easy Thursday

Duration = 45:03
Distance = 2.79
Calories = 288
Max HR = 138
Avg HR = 124
Running Index = 44
Max Cadence = 71
Avg Cadence = 67
OwnZone Target = 109-139

A good easy workout. The hardest part of these is getting the heart rate up during the OwnZone warm-up. Today was one speed, 3.7 mph (0.1 faster than Tuesday). Heart rate slowly built until 10:00 then the rate of increase slowed until 15:00. From 15:00 to 25:00, the heart rate stayed mostly level around 129. From 25:00 to 30:00 was a slight increase to around 135. This was maintained until the start of the cool-down at 35:00.

03 December 2008

Pre-assessment Time Trial

Duration = 31:40
Distance = 2.39
Calories = 305
Max HR = 183
Avg HR = 153
Running Index = 35
Max Cadence = 90
Avg Cadence = 75

This was a test to see how I would do relative to the 1.5 mile run I need for the USAF assessment in a week and a half. I did my push-ups and crunches before the run. I started with a 5 minute warm-up including short bursts of speed. (I will do strides to prepare to do the run for real.) I restarted the treadmill to use its display for the laps. I started at 5 mph and ramped quickly to 6.3. I added 0.1 after each lap. This would have finished with a last lap of 6.8. This represents the target range for this part of the assessment. I didn't do the bump after the third lap. I wasn't sure I could handle it. Then I wasn't sure I could hold what I had either. I dropped the speed a bit and then a lot. After two minutes, I started to increase the speed again. I finished with 6.0 and started the cool-down. Final time for the 1.5 mile was 16:22 which is marginally faster than my November assessment time.

I should have started slower (~6.0 mph) and maintained that until at least half-way before trying to increase speed if I feel I can. This would have been nearly a minute and a half off the time from November. Other good news is that I still feel good mechanically.

I will keep with the MWF hard and TTh easy with a Sunday long run through the assessment during my December UTA. I will adjust my plan as needed after I have those numbers.

02 December 2008

Easy OwnZone Session

Duration = 45:01
Distance = 2.64
Calories = 287
Max HR = 137
Avg HR = 122
Running Index = 43
Max Cadence = 70
Avg Cadence = 66
OwnZone Target = 108-138

OwnZone warm-up: Under 100 bpm for the first minute; 100-120 bpm for the next minute. It took me longer to get my heart rate to respond upward than in previous OwnZone sessions. I was into the third minute when the HRM settled on the range 108-138. I was looking for a fairly easy session so didn't work to raise the heart rate higher in the range. I ended up with a speed of 3.5 before I was solidly in the Zone. At about 5:30, I was trending down, so I bumped the speed to 3.6. The heart rate rose very slowly, but steadily until a bit after 15:00. The plateau is basically from 20:00 to the start of the cool-down at 35:00. In fact, the Max HR was at 32:50. The cool-down started with 131. I dropped the speed by 0.1 each every 30 seconds down to 2.0. I had recovered to under 108 be the end of the cool-down.

I would have dropped the speed if I had actually hit the top of the Zone. As I was just under that limit near the end of the stress phase, this was just about as perfectly paced as a session can get. Reviewing this session compared to the earlier sessions of the same type show improvement. I have a lower heart rate for similar or slightly higher paces.

[Edited 1039, 3 December 2008]

01 December 2008

Slow rise

Duration = 30:01
Distance = 1.48
Calories = 136
Max HR = 132
Avg HR = 105
Running Index = 42
Max Cadence = 76
Avg Cadence = 60

I started this session at 2.0 and added 0.1 each minute to 4.0. I held 4.0 for the one minute and then started the cool-down at 3.5 dropping 0.1 every 30 seconds to 2.0 and finished the 30 minutes there.

I now have a better idea how I warm up. I graphed the HR data against the speed. Looking at the raw data, there is an element of time involved as well. Next time I do this test, I will bump 0.2 every 2 minutes and see if the HR data develops steps. For now, I will ramp up to my target speed over a longer time and keep an eye on things.

30 November 2008

OK, let's think about this for a bit

Duration = 1:30:01
Distance = 5.68
Calories = 656
Max HR = 152
Avg HR = 129
Running Index = 41
Max Cadence = 81
Avg Cadence = 69

This started out as a "really bad" session. 36 minutes into the session, I was ready to forget the whole thing. I was trying to maintain a Zone 3, but this was putting into an area where I didn't feel good. I backed off and figured I would start a cool-down, but I then figured I would at least finish the 1.5 hours. I was walking at 3.0 and my heart rate dropped to around 120. I then decided that, if I was going to spend the time, I might was well keep it minimally worthwhile. Each minute, I would bump the speed 0.1 mph if the heart rate was below 120. Eventually, I was up to 3.5. As I was actually feeling much better, both physically and emotionally, I planned to take the remaining 25 minutes before the cool-down and bump the speed 0.1 at 5 minute intervals which would have me at 4.0 for the last 5 minutes. I did just that and finished with a normal 10 minute cool-down and stretches after.

Several things contributed to the problems at the start: we had been traveling and the house was still cold, I had been in a car nearly constantly for over 7 hours, I was still stiff from the stair session the night before, and I ramped up the speed much too fast. Most of these would be alleviated by a proper warm-up. I need to be better at getting to the target speed. I may start using a 10 minute warm-up and increase the intensity slowly. I will start tomorrow's session with an extended warm-up and slow increase as an experiment and see how I react to that and to get an idea of time I need to get "up to temperature".

[Posted 0200, 1 December 2008]
[Edited 1055, 1 December 2008 to add post timestamp]

29 November 2008

Where There's a Will...

Duration = 21:18
Distance = 5 laps of 5 floors up and down
Calories = 157
Max HR = 160
Avg HR = 131

I was traveling after Thanksgiving. I didn't find a training opportunity at the hotel and didn't want to run around a strange city in the dark (getting lost wouldn't necessarily help with my workout). I swapped my rest day to Friday, but I was running out of Saturday when I figured out what would work as an exercise session. I found an out of the way stairwell that went from the ground floor to the roof, a total of 5 floors worth of stairs.

I started by walking on my floor for 5 minutes to get the blood moving. I then started down the stairs (3 floors). At the bottom, I turned around and walked up to the roof (5 floors). At the door to the roof, I turned around and walked back down (2 floors), pushing the Lap button as I pass my floor. After 5 laps, I was getting some significant discomfort in my legs. I walked around on my floor for 5:30 as a cool-down.

I probably should find some stairs I can use to do this type of exercise periodically to improve my leg strength and endurance. I was only walking, but I was mostly in Zone 3 with brief entry to Zone 4 at the top of each lap. If I ever climb the stairs of the CN Tower, I will definitely want to wear my Heart Rate Monitor.

[Posted 0130, 1 December 2008]
[Edited 1054, 1 December 2008 to add post timestamp]

27 November 2008

Thanksgiving Easy Session

Duration = 45:01
Distance = 2.47
Calories = 285
Max HR = 132
Avg HR = 120
Running Index = 42
Max Cadence = 70
Avg Cadence = 63
OwnZone Target = 106-136

Happy Thanksgiving! I spent the day with friends and eat more than I should, but it was really good. I'm sure I will pay for that. When I got home, I did my Thursday easy session.

This is still a walk. Warm-up from 2.0 to 3.0. Training was started at 3.5. At 15:20, this was dropped to 3.0 for the remainder of the phase (to 40:00). Cool-down from 2.5 to 2.0.

26 November 2008

Treadmill Interval Session

Duration = 30:01
Distance = 2.16
Calories = 298
Max HR = 187
Avg HR = 153
Running Index = 32
Max Cadence = 92
Avg Cadence = 73

Warm-up for 5 minutes. Started at 2.0 mph and added .5 each minute to 4.0. Started stress phase at 5.0. Plan was for 2 minutes at 5.0 with a 1 minute burst to 7.0 for 5 repeats. After the second burst, I stayed at 5.0 for an extra minute then did the 1 minute burst. I ran the last sequence as 2.5 minutes, 1 minute burst, and 1.5 minutes to the end of the stress. Cool-down was 10 minutes starting at 4.0 and slowing to 2.0 for the last 3 minutes. Slow and deliberate stretching finished out the session.

Mechanically, I felt great. I was starting to get some fatigue ache in the muscles during the last two repeats, but nothing severe. Key is that I have no sharp pain indicating a problem needing attention. Near the end of the stress and through part of the cool-down, I didn't feel all that great, but, by the end and after the stretches, I was feeling pretty good again. Now, as I write this, I'm in that vaguely tired stage. Another good thing is that I don't feel discomfort sitting in this chair.

25 November 2008

Easy Session

Duration = 45:01
Distance = 2.60
Calories = 278
Max HR = 129
Avg HR = 119
Running Index = 45
Max Cadence = 77
Avg Cadence = 66
OwnZone Target = 109-139

This is my "easy" day. Mostly Zone 2. HRM didn't show anything higher. Mostly a brisk walk. Minimal warm-up as the HRM finds the OwnZone. Stress until 40:00 followed by a 5 minute cool-down. Quick recovery of heart rate to below 100 before end of cool-down.

24 November 2008

Good Hard Session

Duration = 32:01
Distance = 2.30
Calories = 320
Max HR = 190
Avg HR = 153
Running Index = 32
Max Cadence = 90
Avg Cadence = 71

Tonight was the most intense session to date. The best part is that I actually feel good. I did a series of high steps to get the blood flowing and then stretched the now warm muscles. I started with a slowly ramping 5 minute warm-up on the treadmill. The base pace for the stress phase was 5.0 mph (12:00/mile). I maintained this base throughout the stress phase. I did a 30 second and a 90 second burst to 7.0 (8:35/mile) and finishing burst to 8.0 (7:30/mile) for 30 seconds. I did a 12 minutes cool-down from 3.5 to 2.0. At that point, I stopped the HRM, but I continued to move for some time after the end of the exercise. I finished with some good stretches. Wednesday, I will do more regular intervals to 7.0.

This morning, I did both the fitness assessment and the Optimizer. The OwnIndex was 34. This is actually less than the 36 I've gotten the last couple of times, but it may have been influenced by the exercise yesterday. The OwnOptimizer registered as noting Training Effect which indicates that my cardio system is showing the effects of recent exertion. Considering the effort expended yesterday, I would have been a bit surprised if it hadn't shown anything.

The software included allows overlying the data from multiple sessions for comparison. (I wish they had native support for Linux or Mac). I've just been comparing this session with Friday. Today my heart rate increased at a slower rate through the warm-up and into the stress phase. In fact, it wasn't until 5 minutes into the stress at a higher speed that my heart rate matched Friday's session. It did cross higher until the first 7.0 burst.

I do these posts shortly after the session itself. I can't believe I feel this good. (I'm sure I will pay for it later.)

23 November 2008

Long "Run"

Duration = 1:52:48
Distance = 6.80
Calories = 929
Max HR = 152
Avg HR = 138
Running Index = 37
Max Cadence = 75
Avg Cadence = 67

Today was the long run. This is a Zone 3 exercise. This is still a brisk walk.

Today was an experiment. I set my laptop up to play "The Princess Bride" while I exercised. This was mostly a success. I do need to get a means to remotely control the laptop as I will not always find movies of the correct length. I would be able to queue a few things, then key them as each completes until the session is complete. Another possibility is some manner of audio book. Finally, I could play the long files of Morse Code I have. This last is attractive as all the extra exercising is coming out of time I could use for Code practice.

After the stress phase, I slowed to 3.0 and them 2.0 mph. At 10 minutes, I still had not recovered to Zone 1, so I did another 5 minutes at 1.5 and then 1.0 mph. Note for future reference: 1.0 mph is too slow. I was still in Zone 2 when I finished.

21 November 2008

Friday Short Hard (Mostly) Run

Duration = 30:00
Distance = 1.85
Calories = 281
Max HR = 171
Avg HR = 148
Running Index = 31
Max Cadence = 82
Avg Cadence = 68

Pre-run prep was limited and I felt it. For me, the stretch before the run really helps with the warm-up and early parts of any exercise.

My goal was to get to, and maintain, Zone 4 for 15 minutes. I met this, but I had to back down on the speed to keep out of Zone 5. Starting speed was a 5.0 mph (12:00/mile). I was doing a brisk walk at 4.0 (15:00/mile) by the end. Cool-down today was 10 minutes starting at 3.0 and finishing at 1.5. (The stride sensor drops out when walking slower than 2.0.)

A couple notes about the Polar HRM and stride sensor:
  • As noted, the stride sensor really isn't for walking (and this is so documented).
  • I get a Running Index for most of these sessions. This value is designed to let you know how you are progressing. It is calculated from data collected using the stride sensor and heart rate sensor. Again, this is most valid for a true running session.
The means that the 31 today and the 29 Wednesday are the more accurate running predictors. The other numbers (36, 39, and 42) are from sessions that were mostly accomplished in a walking gait. The interesting thing here is that I may actually be better able to cover distance faster with less energy usage walking fast than actually running. My best walking test was accomplished at 10:00/mile for 3 miles. I have yet to sustain a running pace of 10:00/mile for the shorter distance of 1.5 miles. I might take one of these "hard" sessions and see if I can walk fast enough to get to Zone 4 and then compare the speed vs heart rate curves.

20 November 2008

Finally settled on a training plan

Duration = 45:01
Distance = 2.37
Calories = 305
Max HR = 138
Avg HR = 124
Running Index = 42
Max Cadence = 76
Avg Cadence = 66
OwnZone Target = 108-138

I've finally decided on my training schedule. I will have exercises planned for 6 days/week with a full rest on Saturday. I will run the "hard" exercises on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with the "easy" sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. The week will conclude with a "long" run on Sunday. Currently, I am using time heart rate to determine the effort for each session. The "easy" sessions will be using the OwnZone feature of my HRM. This currently yields a mostly Zone 2 exercise. The "hard" sessions will be shorter Zone 4 runs. Finally, the "long" run will be 1.5 hours maintaining Zone 3.

After the Sunday run, I will have a sample of each of the planned sessions to use to monitor my progress. This will be in addition to the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) based assessment I will get from the HRM each Monday morning. I will also continue to use the training effectiveness assessment daily to monitor the impact of the effort I am expending. So far, this assessment has remained in the "Normal" state. I am still in the baselining phase, but I also think this is telling me that I can continue to increase the intensity.

The session today ended up being a quick walk. I will be happy when my fitness improves to the point this is a true run. I also tried something new. Today, I strapped the HRM to a bar on the treadmill directly in front of me. This means I don't have to change my arm swing and stride to watch the display.

19 November 2008

Well, that was supposed to be a Lactate Threshold Test

Duration = 30:05
Distance = 1.94
Calories = 261
Max HR = 189
Avg HR = 145
Running Index = 29
Max Cadence = 82
Avg Cadence = 69

The intent of this session was to determine my Lactate Threshold (LT). This is the point where lactic acid builds up in the muscles because the body cannot remove it faster than it is being created. This is actually a characteristic of capillary and cellular development in the muscles. This is actually separate from the Anaerobic Threshold which is the limit determined by your ability to provide oxygen to the muscles. I have more data, but I'm not quite sure what it is telling me.

I started with a good stretch and a longish warm-up. I started at 3.0 mph for 4 minutes. I then increased the speed to 3.5 and then to 4.0 for 4 minutes each. At 12:00 into the session, I increased the incline to 3%. I started the protocol at 14:00. I ran the first 90 seconds at 4.0. At each 90 second interval, I increased to 4.3, 4.6, 5.0, 5.3, and 5.6. I had intended to do a final interval at 6.0, but I pulled the cord out of the treadmill control box and it stopped. I decided to call it done and started a longish cool-down. I started the cool-down at 3.0 mph and finished it at 2.0.

The heart-rate chart for this session is almost a straight line from start to peak. I will have to repeat this test at some point to see where the top really is, and to look for improvement due to the training I will be doing. I did determine a new HRmax of 189. I will be adjusting my training zones to account for this.

I have until 14 December to get to a race pace of 9:30/mile. This assumes I also can improve my number of crunches and push-ups for the USAF Fit-to-Fight assessment. This is quite aggressive, but I will monitor the training effect to ensure I'm not over training. I will be adding interval training on Tuesday and Thursday. I will be targeting the "race" pace of 9:30/mile. This is currently faster than I have run recently, so I will be ramping up to that speed.

Most of my running has been in the evening not too long before I go to bed. This has had the effect of lowering my blood sugar. The effect seems to be that I burn fat at night instead of create it. I am losing weight at a respectable rate. I'm drinking plenty of water and eating a variety of food. I am watching my snacks. I've determined my base metabolism to be around 2200 kcal/day. I'm trying not to eat more than 1700-2000 kcal/day. I was expecting to lose about a pound a week, maybe a bit less. I'm currently dropping at twice that and I can't find all of that difference in the additional exercise. I hope this continues (though I don't expect it) as long as it doesn't interfere with my other development.

I will try this test again and a different test protocol at some time after the first of the year.

17 November 2008

First OwnZone session

Duration = 30:01
Distance = 1.79
Calories = 193
Max HR = 135
Avg HR = 123
Running Index = 39
Max Cadence = 72
Avg Cadence = 66
OwnZone Target = 105-135

I didn't do the "training effectiveness" test on Sunday for various reasons. This test was done this morning with a result of 2-Normal. The assessment is supposed to catch over- and under-training. Polar calls this rating OwnOptimizer. I also did my Fitness Test which yielded an OwnIndex (Polar name again, similar to VO2max) of 36 and an estimated HRmax (designated HRmax-p) of 176. I'm doing this Fitness Test weekly until December as a baseline, then I will do it monthly as I don't expect wild changes here.

This evening's exercise was a treadmill "run" (mostly walk) using the intensity suggested by another Polar feature on on the RS800 called OwnZone. During the warm-up you work through a defined set of HR zones until the RS800 determines a target zone. While exercising, there is a display that shows your exercise time, this zone as a range with a heart-shaped symbol showing where you are in the range, and the distance (provided by my foot sensor). The stats are above. This is a bit less intensive than I had been doing. From some reading I've been doing (Thanks, Ilana!), this may be for the better. I may up the number of sessions per week (currently 4), but I will finish November and see how things progress. Re-reading the notes on this exercise, I will up the time to the recommended 45 minutes.

In weight-loss news, I am making progress that I am happy with and have even lost an half-inch around the waist. Many more to go, but it is a start.

[Edit 0811181000: fixed font sizing and minor edit]

15 November 2008

OK, that was...interesting

Duration = 60:01
Distance = 3.3 (from foot sensor)
Calories = 382 (lower of two values associated with this exercise)
Max HR = 150
Avg HR = 125
Running Index = 36
Max Cadence = 81
Avg Cadence = 65

Today's plan was a Long Slow Distance (LSD) run. I now know that Slow is followed by "but not too slow". I had this as a Zone 2 one hour long run. I very quickly realized that I was not going to be able to run on Zone 2. That was just too slow. So I went with a Zone 3 run. Next problem, I can't stay in Zone 3 and run either. When I hit Zone 4, I backed off the run to a fast walk. For the rest of the session, I kept adjusting the speed to stay in Zone 3. At 50:00, I did the cool-off at a slow walk. I actually had to slow a bit further than I had planned to keep my heart rate dropping.

Now, I have done some additional research on the Long Slow Distance run. The target is actually near the Zone3/4 border, so I had actually backed into the right idea. I find it easier to stay in a zone than near a border. For the next while, I will do this run as a steady Zone 3. Now, I hope that I progress to the point that it is an actual run.

Finally, I had some stiffness at the beginning of the run. It was then that I remembered that I hadn't had much to drink yet today. Luckily, I was on the treadmill (it's trying to decide if it wants to snow or rain outside; currently doing both). This meant that I could ask my lovely wife for a bottle of water. This made a significant difference.

Note for reference as there may be different definitions of HR Zones:
I use a 5 zone breakdown (based on % of HRmax):
90-100% = Zone 5
80-90% = Zone 4
70-80% = Zone 3
60-70% = Zone 2
50-60% = Zone 1

14 November 2008

New Heart Rate Monitor and some planning

Duration = 23:52
Distance = 1.25
Calories = 136

I may need to change the template now that I have way too much data available.

Boring stuff first, I did a fitness test associated with the software that came with the new HRM. This took long enough that I decided to call it today's exercise.

The UKK Walk Test is, as you would expect, a walking fitness test. You walk at a brisk and steady rate for 2km. You record the ending heart rate and the time for the 2km. This generates a score that is an indication of fitness. The software barked at me for not walking fast enough and another site provided a form that generated a negative number (-3).

I've posted details about the new HRM on my LJ.

Using the Fitness Test option resulted in a value called OwnIndex, documented as similar to VO2 max. Currently, mine is 36. This is moderate for my age. The HRM also estimated a HRmax of 178 which matches one of the general ballpark estimates, 220 - age, so it may only have just used that. Time will tell. Now we have a measured starting point for aerobic fitness.

I plan to rerun this test in the morning every Monday until December, then the first Monday thereafter. There is a training effectiveness test that I will be running on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings as long as it seems useful.

Immediate planning

My most immediate goal is passing the USAF Fitness Assessment (Fit-to-Fight). The part of this I am having issues with is the run. My current effort as described in this blog is targeted at this element. (The longer term goals build on this for improved fitness.) With no other improvement on the rest of the assessment, I need a time of 13:12 for the 1.5 miles (8:48/mile) to meet the minimum for my age. 12:00 will give a nice round 8:00/mile. 10:24 will max this section for my age at 6:56/mile (in line with another of my stated goals). Finally, 9:36 is max for any age group. This leaves the last goal at 6:24/mile. Definitely long term but worth monitoring.

The plan for now is three 30 minute sessions (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) with a one hour slow run on Saturday. This will be done until the peak pace is 8:00/mile. Then we will either go for speed or distance. I expect that by the time I get here, the full assessment will be passed quite comfortably.

12 November 2008

That will teach me (yeah, right)

Duration = 40:00
Distance = 2.19
Calories = 269

I dropped the Monday session because I wanted to give myself a break after the FtF assessment. That was probably okay. But I should have done something on Tuesday.

Standard treadmill session. 5 minute warm-up, 30 minutes run/walk, and 5 minutes cool-down. Stretch before and after. I had more discomfort in my shins, knee, and ankles than normal. I did a short run, but decided to finish with a fast walk with another short run near the end.

Tomorrow, I get a Heart Rate Monitor with a foot pod. Then, I will have more data to dig through. It might even help with the training. It will definitely help with the timed runs as I will be able to run a set pace.

09 November 2008

Fit-to-Fight, November 2008

The Fit-to-Fight assessment was Sunday afternoon. The conditions were bad, but at least the rain and snow held off. Temperature was around 36F, with a stiff breeze into your face on the outbound leg of the run.

There are four parts to the assessment: waist measurement, crunches, push-ups, and the run. The run is worth half of the points in the assessment. You need 75% to pass. The assessment is accomplished in the same order as the above list. I didn't do as well on the crunches (20) as I had planned, but I was able to make up for that by doing better than I had planned on the push-ups (26). Going into the run, I knew I needed a time of 13:12 to pass. While I didn't make that mark, the time of 16:27 for the 1.5-mile run was the best I have done since we started the new assessment process. I was able to run the whole distance at a steady pace for the first time.

Passing this assessment is an even shorter term goal than any of those mentioned at the beginning of this blog. To meet this immediate goal, I need to find another 11.5 points during the assessment. I hope the waist will respond to the other efforts I'm making, but I'm not going to plan on it in the short term. If I can get two more crunches, I get another point, leaving 10.5 to go. This would require a time of 13:36 or better.

Gap analysis time. I need two more crunches. The current assessment rate is ~11:00/miles. The target rate is ~9:00/mile. The gap here is 2:00/mile. I should be able to make most of this up by improving my stride as it was rather short for this run. I did open it out near the end and was able to maintain that and ultimately ended with a sprint to the finish (3 seconds would have garnered 3 more points).

Going forward, I plan to spend some time on push-up, crunches, and intervals to develop a good stride. I will have to see if I can find a sensor that will actually measure the stride along with the rate so I can measure my progress.

[posted 2015, 10 November 2008]

06 November 2008

Light pre-assessment session

Duration = 40:00
Distance = 2.24
Calories = 264

This was the last session before my USAF assessment this weekend. I went fairly light with a 5-minute warm-up, single short interval at 5.0 mph followed with 3.5 mph walking, and a 5-minute cool-down.

[posted 2010, 10 November 2008]

05 November 2008

Interrupted (briefly) treadmill session

Duration = 40:00
Distance = >2.28
Calories = >343

I managed to reset the treadmill early in the session which explains the unusual values. I will have to review the safety strap arrangement to reduce the likelihood of another repeat of this event.

Otherwise, this was a good day. I had a good stretch before the run. Warm-up was the currently standard 5 minutes at 3.0 to 3.5 mph walk. 30-minute conditioning session was composed of a 12-minute interval at 5.0, a 5-minute rest at 3.0, and a final 13-minute interval at 5.0. The cool-down was 5 minutes at 2.5 reducing to 2.0 mph. This was followed with another good stretch.

I have one more training session (tomorrow) before my timed run this weekend.

03 November 2008

Rough Monday Run

Duration = 40:00
Distance = 2.60
Calories = 364

Schedule called for a run today, off tomorrow, run Wednesday and Thursday, off Friday. Timed run on the weekend. I really wanted to get three runs in and I knew I couldn't run on Friday (and I wanted Friday off as I may have to run for the assessment on Saturday).

I did finish the run, but I may have been too aggressive. I had planned a constant speed run at 5.0 mph (12:00/mile) which feels better over time than trying to actually use a running gait at a slower rate. I can't afford an injury, so I'm listening very hard to what my body is telling me.

I did a good series of stretches, but I could probably try a few different ones to see how they help and maybe do a second run through the stretches. I could also figure out how to get a bit of a warm-up before the stretching. Warm-up was 5:00 of walking at 2.5 pushing quickly to 3.5. Conditioning phase started at 5.0 for 10 minutes. Had a bit of an ache in my legs that wasn't improving, so I slowed to a 3.0 walk for 5 minutes, ran at 5.0 for 5 minutes, walked at 3.0 for 5 minutes, ran at 5.0 for the last 5 minutes. Cool-down was from 3.0 to 2.0 for 5 minutes. I did a series of stretches after the cool-down and currently (couple hours later) don't have any significant stiffness.

Tomorrow is off. I plan to do an interval approach until I can run the full session at 5.0. There are times when I'm paying particular attention to my stride and form that everything feels good without heavy pounding that I tend to get into. Overall, I think I'll try to ensure I have rest day after the long run.

02 November 2008

First run outside since...

Duration = 50:00
Distance = 3.4 (estimate, haven't found GPS yet)
Calories = ?

...I have no idea. I did find a GPS log from 2006 for parts of this run.

I have found a series of stretches to use. I need to work on my form. I started with a 5 minute walk. I ran for 10 minutes. No sharp pain, but I decided to walk for a bit which turned out to be 5 minutes. I ran for another 10 minutes. I then walked for 5 minutes. I did a run at a significantly faster pace than the rest of the runs in this session for 1 minute which also took me to the edge of the park where I was running. I then walked for the remainder of the time (14 minutes).

Pace was quite slow, but I'm okay with that for a first run. I plan to find my GPS so I can track my outdoor sessions. The current plan is to build up to running the whole session without having to walk parts of it. Once I get to that point, I will work on my stride to improve my speed. Once my speed improves some, I will add distance.

Next week looks like three more treadmill sessions followed by a timed 1.5 mile run next on the weekend as part of my USAF Fit-to-Fight assessment.

31 October 2008

Halloween Treadmill Session

[Post Template created]

Duration = 40:00
Distance = 2.48
Calories = 368

For a scary day, this was a great session.

I started with a few stretches (still looking for a good concise set). Then, I started with a warm-up that turned out to be 5 minutes ramping up from 2.5 to 3.5 mph. (I may need to adjust this.) At 5:00, I felt like it was time for the "real" exercise to start. I bumped the speed to 4.0. (This is now feeling a bit slow. It is hard to keep from dropping into a walking gait.) I was still a bit tight so I left the speed at 4.0 for until 12:00 (from start, includes warm-up). At 12:00, I pushed the speed to 4.5, and then to 5.0 as things still felt good. I maintained the 5.0 until 14:00, then I dropped back to 4.5. I kept with the 4.5 until 30:00, then I slowed to 4.0 and dropped into a walking gait deliberately. I finished the last 5 minutes of the exercise phase with the fast walk. The cool-down was at 3.0, then 2.5, and ended with 2.0. I recorded my numbers then went upstairs for stretches.

In the future, I'll use a walking warm-up of 3.0 for 5 minutes and a walking cool-down from 3.0 to 2.0 over 5 minutes. I will be looking to do a steady session at 4.5 mph. Once I get that, I will add intervals to 5.0 with the goal of a steady 5.0 session. I'd like to get to this point as a base because I like the stride I get at that speed.

This weekend, I have a nice run in the nearby park planned.

30 October 2008

Not so good day

[I need to figure out how to make a template for these]

Duration = 40:00
Distance = 2.22
Calories = 305

I added an explicit 5 minute warm-up and 5 minute cool-down to the 30 minute planned run. I set the treadmill for 2.0 mph for both the warm-up and the cool-down. I'm not sure this helped. I figure I need to do better stretches before the run.

I tried to push the speed to 4.5 mph, but my legs were signaling that that was not a good idea. I dropped the speed down to 3.5 mph to recover and then pushed back up to 4.0 mph. I stayed there until near the end and pushed back up to 4.5 mph for the rest of the 30 minute section. This felt a bit better. No lingering stiffness or pain after the cool-down.

I think I'll ramp up from 2.0 to 3.0 (or 3.5) during the warm-up tomorrow. For now, 2.0 for the cool-down seems to be fine. Now, to research some more stretches.

27 October 2008

Monday treadmill session

Duration = 30:00
Distance = 2.00
Calories = 327

Data is from the treadmill display after finishing. Goal was to complete the 30 minutes at the set speed of 4.0 mph (15:00/mile). I will need to do better to score well on the 1.5 mile USAF run, but it is a start and practice will improve things.

Very important, I remembered to stretch after the session. I felt much better for doing the stretches. Also, no damage was noted from my equipment.

Entertainment is important for a treadmill session. My wife read to me while I ran. This was greatly appreciated. Also, her presence kept me at it to the end.

21 October 2008

Short skiing session

Duration = 20:00
Distance = 1.76
Calories = 275

Wore some old sneakers for this session. No issue with either foot tonight. Blister from last week is mostly healed. One ski seems to have a bit more drag than the other. Time will tell. I hope to get back to running soon.

I expect to take my Fit-to-Fight test for the USAF on the second weekend of November. This consists of a mile-and-a-half run, crunches, push-ups, and a waist measurement. The results are compared to a chart for gender and age to get a score. 75 out of the 100 available is passing.

20 October 2008

NordicTrack again

Duration = 30:00
Distance = 2.20
Calories = 382

Moccasins I was wearing don't protect against an irregularity in one of the skis. I have a new sore spot on the bottom of my left foot. I did manage a steady rate for the whole session.

16 October 2008

Not always running

I expect most posts will be simple statistics from the just finished session. While not always running, they will likely be mostly cardio. I don't expect to note all the pushups and crunches done during the day except as maybe including a total. I'm still thinking about that.

Tonight was NordicTrak:
Duration = 30:00
Distance = 1.74
Calories = 351

I'm not sure exactly what the unit is for the distance. I use what is displayed at the end of the session. I assume it is miles. Calories is also read from the electronic monitor.

The tenderness turned out to be a blister. I talked with the running shop. The placement of the blister is not indicative of an incorrect size for the shoes. It is rather a new rub point due to the support these shoes are providing that I haven't had previously. I bought some BodyGlide to help in this regard and to address chafing I tend to get elsewhere.

15 October 2008

Session the first

It's raining out and I have new shoes to determine if they fit correctly. We have a treadmill in the basement, so I have no excuse for not starting today. My wife even read from a book we are sharing while I ran.

Session goals:
  • Start
  • Figure out the treadmill
  • Run enough to determine if the shoes really fit
  • Run without pause for 30 minutes
Duration = 22:40
Distance = 1.51 miles (calc)
Calories = 128 (calc)

I was able to get the treadmill running (with assistance from my wife) and set the speed for 4.0 mph as a first guess for a rate that I could handle for the 30 minutes. I stumbled at the 22:40 point (using my watch) and pulled back far enough to disengage the key that enables the treadmill. I figured that was a good place to stop as it also reset the controls. I calculated the other numbers based on the rate and the time. I used a value (340 cal/hr) I found on the net for calorie burn based on walking 4.0 mph as it was the only one for that rate and the lowest number I found. I am also not adjusting for my weight being higher than 150.

I didn't get the 30 minutes today, but I felt pretty good at the point I did stop. I am satisfied with my starting point.

I didn't notice any issue while running, but I did note a tender spot on my foot a while later. I will consider the shoe issue to be still open.


I've started running. This will be a log of my progress in this endeavor.

When starting a journey, one should have some purpose or destination in mind. Sometimes, the journey itself is why one is travelling. Even then, some guiding principle exists. Sometimes, their are intermediate goals that govern part of the journey. With these thoughts in mind, I shall consider my current goals for this running program.

Physical fitness is good to have for sustained health. I've picked running as part of my fitness program because it is a specific capability that I am tested on annually as a member of the US Air Force Reserve. This is also the source of the first short term goal. For my age group, I need to beat 10:24 for the mile-and-a-half run to get the maximum points. I also need to reduce my waist size to less than 32.5 inches and running is part of the plan for that as well.

When I graduated high school, I weighed 148 lbs and could run 6 miles in 42 minutes wearing combat boots. Over the summer, I was involved in a vigorous training program and was healthy at 131 lbs. I'd like to see if I can get back to that level of fitness. I know I'm not 18 anymore, but I won't be running boots either. I figure 7:00/mile for an extended run (like a 10K) is a reasonable long term goal. If I get to a point where I'm healthy and still unable to increase my speed to that level without risking injury, I can let this go.

While not a running goal, I would like to get my percentage body fat down to a more healthy level. Greater than 25% (where I am now) is considered to be unhealthful. Just on the low side of 20% seems to be the suggested target for adult males. I have a scale which gives me a fairly repeatable (if of unknown accuracy) number that I will track. I carry my extra weight at my waist, so my waist measurement will give another metric for tracking progress.

I've always talked about running a marathon. I even was signed-up for the New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon one year, but got sick just before the race. My little sister has completed at least one marathon and at least one half marathon. I don't know her time, and I'm not going to worry about it until after I've completed at least one marathon myself. (And maybe not even then.)

Short Term Goals
  • Run 1.5 miles in 10:30 (7:00/mile)
  • Complete a 5K run
  • Complete a 10K run
  • Body fat percentage &lt; 25%

Long Term Goals
  • 6 miles in 42:00 (43:24 for a 10K; 7:00/mile)
  • Body fat percentage &lt; 20%
  • Complete a marathon
That's enough for now. For those who know me, there is a very short term goal. That is to actually stick with the plan. Watch this space.

Superseded by update on 15 December 2008.

[Edited 1400, 28 December 2008 to add link to update]