Tuesday, March 29, 2016

There's nothing but hills around here!!

First blog in quite some time.  Lots has happened, IM Chattanooga '15 was the biggest thing.  This blog isn't about that, it's about today's workout. 

We've recently moved you see.  At the old house, not far from Bob Jones University in my adopted hometown of Greenville, there were plenty of hills.  Tough to find a flat course when running from the house for anything less than 5ish miles.  However, the Swamp Rabbit Trail (SRT) was just 2 miles away and that was great for a longer run.  It was quick to get to the SRT (by car) if we had a specific workout of a shorter duration as well. 

All of that running on relatively flat ground did pay off in September of 2015 when we did IM Chattanooga.  Both my wife and I accomplished our goals and we are very pleased with those results (Thanks Katie!).  A lot of those mid-distance (and many of the longer distance runs) were on the SRT because Katie was asking us to hit specific paces, heart rate and / or perceived effort.  On flat ground it is relatively easy to hold a steady heart rate or pace. 

However, since we've moved, we now live about a mile from the entrance to Paris Mt State Park.  I only thought the previous place was hilly! 

Tonight's workout was intended to be about an hour.  Warm up was to be 1.5ish miles with 4ish miles at a steady effort / heart rate, and then a warm-down of whatever I felt I needed (min 1/2 mile). 

My target heart rate today was 145 - 150bpm.  On flat ground I would have simply said 150, but knowing that I had a lot of hills in front of me and that I haven't done this type of focused workout lately, I decided I would give myself some latitude.  

It must be time to change the battery in the HR strap because it took longer to warm up than it took my body - HR of 190bpm would have me on the ground doing the kickin' chicken!  However, after about 1.5 miles it did settle down to register the correct HR. 

So, it's been a while (since IM Chatt!) since I really have done some strict targeted HR runs.  I've done speed work, and I've done long slow(ish) / steady efforts, but I haven't really incorporated this demand for discipline into my mid-distance runs.  I know it is going to help me in the long run, thus the reason for setting a target for today's run.

Well, if I were to turn my data in for analysis, I'd be a huge failure!!  Running these hills around the house is TOUGH!  Uphill my HR was bouncing off 158 or 160 before I caught it, going downhills (especially the steeper hills) I'd see my HR at 135 or less.  Even on the milder descents I would find myself in the low 140s before I realized it. There is a LOT more work to be done for these workouts around the house. 

So why do I even care about hitting a target?  This is how you train yourself to execute a plan on race day.  It's easy to just go out and go hard from the gun.  Probably survivable for sprint distance triathlons, maybe even up to International distance.  However, especially when the distances start to go into the half Iron distance or more, it's vital that you can plan your race and execute that plan.  Finishing shouldn't be the only goal - finishing strong should be the goal. 

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