Friday, April 06, 2007

OK, what gives?

So running - I need all you runner types to weigh in...

When I run on the treadmill, I tend to focus a lot on my speed and heartrate since it's such a controlled environment. It's helping me to learn my pacing so I know how to handle that better on the road.

I start off at 12 min miles. For about 5 minutes of warmup. Easy peasy. HR is below 60% of my max - not breathing hard, not sweating. Just warming up my muscles...

For the next 5 minutes, I slowly inch the speed up while watching my HR (I haven't done a very accurate HR max test and know that I really need to - the highest number I've EVER seen on my HRM is about 174 but I feel like my max MUST be higher than that based on how I feel at other heart rates).

Anyway, from a few different charts and formulas, I've decided that my AEROBIC MAX is about 151 - the number that I shouldn't go over during long slow distance workouts...the number that will keep me out of "no-man's land" and anaerobic land. So as I inch up the speed on the treadmill, I push until I get to about a HR of 148 and then hold that speed. Over the past few months, I've gone from about an 11:30 min/mile at this HR, to about a 9:50 min mile at this SAME HR... which is HUGE. I'm very psyched about this.

But here's the thing:

I can't seem to HOLD this pace and STAY at this HR for more than two miles at this point. So what's happening? I'd venture a guess that if I started out too FAST, I'd crash and burn and not be able to sustain such a pace. But I'm choosing the pace based on a pretty conservative why can't I hold it? Is it because my legs aren't strong enough yet? Should I be strength training to make them stronger? My HR will slowly creep to 149...151...153...156...starting into no-man's land... and then I have to slowly back off the speed to keep it sub 151...and by mile 4, I'm in the 11:30/12 min mile range.

I realize there's likely a simple answer...that I'm not some mutant runner... but what is it? And should I just keep at it and my body will adapt? Or is it more effective to start out at a lower HR (thus, slower speed) and let it creep up TO 151 instead of starting right around there?

Any advice would be much appreciated. I've got a long run planned this afternoon so I can test out any theories you might have... THANKS!!


Blogger Joe B said...

HR creep is common over distance though I have not found it to occur after 2 miles of course ymmv.

If you can hold it for 2 miles it is unlikely that you are starting to slow. Keep working on your distance training and you will be okay.

8:24 PM GMT-5

Blogger MartyTheFool said...


HR monitors are not always exact. So: I would suggest trying to stay at that pace a little longer. Try and relax and see if you can consciously bring your heart rate down. Then, as you suggested, try getting a little longer than 2 miles, and edge up the distance a little at a time.

On strength training: Nope. It won't help. The only thing to improve your heart rate at longer distances is longer distances.

My heart rate spikes after two miles too. It comes down once you get into a rhythm. STAY with it, and RELAX. Wait until about 3-4 miles before you give up. Staying above 150 for a short two miles won't kill you. :-)

Let me know how's it going.


5:49 PM GMT-5

Blogger Joe said...

I'm with the others. Bear down and try to keep going for a bit longer. Keep increasing that 2 mile limit, bit by bit. Before you know it, you'll be able to do 4 miles at that pace, then 5 and so on.

I think strength training will help with preventing injuries like runner's knee but I'm not sure whether it will help with this issue.

BTW, are you doing any interval or hill training to try to increase your anaerobic threshold? That might help too. You can do hill repeats or track intervals. Alternatively, you can add brief surges to your long runs.

1:48 PM GMT-5


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