The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Spring Training

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 in Colorado
Spring Training

I’m running again. That’s something that I haven’t admitted to myself it until recently because although I’ve been making a sustained effort to run regularly for a while now, I haven’t been convinced that I would stick with it. My past attempts have all ended in a fog of minor injuries and moderate frustration. This time too, I thought I might quit. My initial workouts were disorganized and largely counter-productive. They were exhausting and demoralizing.

Luckily, before throwing in the towel yet again, I turned to my brother for advice (my brother is a distance runner, triathlete, and certified Ironman coach—and someone I should have turned to years ago for running advice, duh). His first recommendation was that I start using a heart rate monitor when I run. Ugh, I thought, been there done that, do I really have to use one of those contraptions again? Yes, my brother insisted. He said that for now I should forget cadence, forget speed workouts, and forget the finer points of form. I should focus on building my aerobic base by running in the lower workout zones.

So I’ve been using a heart rate monitor for several weeks (longer than my last attempt) and I am pleased I tried again. After getting into the habit of using it properly, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my running, both in terms of comfort and motivation. Now, instead of forcing myself to slog longer distances at faster speeds with each passing week, I running slowly on purpose. I feel more relaxed and efficient and I have been able to adjust my form incrementally to increase my comfort and confidence. I’m gradually learning how to leverage biofeedback and I can see how greater speed is the natural side effect of a more relaxed style and pace. At least for me.

Table 1: My Very Own, Personalized Workout Zones
Workout Zone% of Max HRHeart Rate (bpm)Intensity
Max HR100172
Zone 590–100154–172Speed (anaerobic)
Zone 480–90137–154Economy (anaerobic)
Zone 370–80120–137Stamina (aerobic)
Zone 260–70103–120Endurance (aerobic)
Zone 150–6086–103Recovery (aerobic)
Workout zones and heart rates based on http://www.digifit.com/heartratezones/training-zones.asp

There are a number of different methods that can be used to calculate maximum heart rate and workout zones. The method I decided to use is the 180 Formula developed by Phil Maffetone. Using that method, I calculated that the heart rate I should be working at is 127 bpm, which places me within Zone 3 of the traditional workout zones calculation. Table 1, above, shows my current workout and heart rate zones. I’m going to be working in Zones 2 and 3 for the time being to build a solid aerobic foundation.

Another adjustment that has helped my running is my shoes. I purchased a pair of Hoka One One Bondis several years ago, just about the time I stopped running. I used them little before boxing them and simultaneously shelving my running ambitions. When I started running again recently, I dusted my Hokas off, laced them up, and gave them another whirl. Since then, I’ve not looked back. The are simply divine. I absolutely love these running shoes.

I’ve now settled into a comfortable workout schedule and am running about 2 miles, four or five times a week. If I can carve out some additional time in my schedule, I’d like to gradually increase the distance of some of these runs. On weekends, I’ll continue to go on various mid-distance hikes (6–8 mile), weather permitting. I plan to use my heart rate monitor while hiking too, at least for a while. I want to ensure I’m not overexerting myself on the trail or at higher elevations—that would only diminish the progress I make with my running.

Looking from the Bitterbrush Trail towards the Nelson Loop Trail at Hall Ranch.
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Assortment

A Walk Around Loughton
A Walk Around Loughton
Time has been flying past me and I can’t seem to catch up. The summer was filled with a hankering to drop all responsibilities and just go back to Maui.
White Pass
White Pass
Today we rode the White Pass and Yukon Route railway from Skagway, Alaska to the summit of White Pass.
Bear Lake Corridor
Bear Lake Corridor
The weather forecaset was perfect today so I just had to take the day off. I’ve not been to Bear Lake in a while so I thought I’d hike the trails in that area today.