February 28, 2004

Gonna try a simple pulse rate monitor

My sleep patterns still haven't recovered from last weekend when I only got 4 hours sleep. I went to bed earlier last night but woke up after 4+ hours and couldn't get back to sleep for quite a while. Even with a loss of sleep last night, my wake up HR was 48. I can tell, though, that my body is tired. Since I ran yesterday, today is a rest day.

I bought a Tanita pulse rate monitor. It's a simple device that does only pulse rate; I put my finger over the sensor. I'm hoping this will save me a bit of time. I've been measuring my pulse rate using the pressure point by my right ear and my watch, measuring it for one minute. I would measure it two or three times to be sure I had a stable reading. The Tanita does it in about seven seconds; I can take several readings in the one minute that I needed for my first reading the "old fashioned" way. The wake up HR number I report in this blog will be the average of several readings. For the first few days, I'll also use my watch as a sanity check on the Tanita.

Before I bought the Tanita, I took about a dozen readings of my pulse in the store. Then, I sat in my car and took about 20 more readings. After I got home, I've taking another dozen readings. The accuracy of the Tanita is about +- 1 (at best; accuracy may be worse).

Ordinarily when I run I'm not concerned about measuring my pulse, because I run at my "comfortable" pace. However, when I start to to do speed work, I will be interested in measuring my pulse so see how much stress I'm putting on my body. Anyway, as a software engineer, I like to play with numbers and draw graphs of them :)

February 27, 2004

Running in the snow, well, almost

My wake up HR was 49, and the temperature was 33 when I ran. There was a slight trace of snow on the ground. I felt pretty good and enjoyed the run. I'm still not getting quite enough sleep, though -- about 6 1/2 hours instead of 7.

February 26, 2004

Rest day today

My wake up HR was 50 today. It rained during the night, and there were rain/snow drizzles during the day and the evening. The storm is expected to last the weekend. So, the canal trail may be muddy, and I'll probably wait until Monday to use it. Today was a rest day.

February 25, 2004

The snow is melting

My wake up HR was 50 and I felt pretty good while I ran my 3 1/4 mile route. Our snow is pretty much gone, so I may try the canal road on Friday. We'll see. We're supposed to have rain or snow tomorrow, and that might make the trail muddy. Some of the trail is covered with fine gravel and some is just dirt.

February 23, 2004

Only four hours sleep -- stayed awake preparing Sunday School lesson

I only had 4 hours sleep Saturday night with a 1/2 hour nap on Sunday. I taught a Sunday School lesson on Sunday, and I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the class. While lying awake, I thought through the lesson, and after an hour I knew how I should teach the class. I got up, made teaching notes, got ready, and left for church. I had 7 1/2 hours sleep last night. As a result of this lack of sleep, my waking HR this morning was 51. My body feels tired this morning.

February 21, 2004

Getting sleep depraved

My wake up HR was 50. I haven't had enough sleep the past few nights, and my HR is slightly higher. I did have a good sleep last night, though. I felt stronger during my run this morning. If can get more sleep this weekend and feel good on Monday, I'll add more distance to my run.

We've had warm days this past week, and most of or snow has melted. My running path along the canal still has some snow, but there are large patches of dirt showing. If the warm days continue, I may be back on the canal trail towards the end of next week.

February 19, 2004

Running in a drizzle, yes running in a drizzle

When I left on my run, there was a drizzle of rain and snow, but I had a nice run. The temperature was 33F. My wake up HR was 49.

February 18, 2004

Great sleep last night :)

I woke up well rested and with a resting HR of 48. Today should be a great rest day!

February 17, 2004

Nice run today -- rain forecast for tomorrow

I had a nice run today. My wake up HR was 49, and my feet felt normal. The temperature was 37, and there was a gusty wind of about 6 - 12 mph. There is a storm front coming through, and we'll be getting rain tomorrow.

February 16, 2004

Feet still sore

My wake up HR was 49. I went out to run but aborted the run because my feet are still a bit sore from Saturday. I'll give them another day of rest and run tomorrow.

February 15, 2004

Feet really stiff

When I got up this morning, my wake up HR was 52. Because I was on my feet a lot yesterday, I could hardly walk this morning. The muscles in my feet were stiff as if each foot was a solid piece of concrete. This is a problem I've had all my life. It's called the "squeaky door" syndrome. Consider an old door that has hinges that are all rusty. The door will be hard to open, and you will have to push and push to get it to move. However, once it moves, it moves more freely, usually squeaking. So it is with my feet. If I over use them, as I did yesterday, my foot muscles tighten up, and I can hardly walk when I first get up the next morning. This morning, I took a homeopathic remedy called Rhus Tox (made from poison ivy), and as I walked around my feet muscles started to loosen up. I've been up for about seven hours, and my feet are still tender, but I can walk around and do my activities.

Many years ago when I lived in Phoenix, I would spend seven or eight hours on Saturday on my feet doing yard work. On Sunday morning I wouldn't be able to walk due to the pain in my feet, and I would crawl into the bathroom. However, as I hobbled around the house, the pain and stiffness in my feet would go down. It would be Tuesday morning before the pain was gone and I could walk normally. I went to a foot doctor to find out why I was having such pain in my feet, and he said the muscles in my feet were weak, and I needed to do something to strengthen them. I began running and have been running ever since. The running didn't completely remove the pain, but it helped a lot. I still had some squeaky-door stiffness and pain, but not nearly as severe as it had been.

Later, after moving to Massachusetts, and while I was a Scoutmaster, I was planning to take a week-long backpacking trip with my scouts. We were planning to backpack 50 miles during the week. Because of my condition with my feet, my wife told me I was crazy to carry a 40# pack for 50 miles. Fortunately a friend told me about Rhus Tox, and I took it with me on the trip. I had no problems with my feet until Saturday, the last day of the trip. During the week, we hiked hilly trails and climbed Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, the highest point in New England. On Thursday, I ran out or Rhus Tox, and on Saturday, as we hiked seven miles back to our cars, my feet started to hurt.

During the two years I ran marathons, I don't remember having many problems with my feet. Now, since I'm running low mileage, I have some stiffness and pain when I'm on my feet a lot, but it isn't very bad. I only take Rhus Tox when I abuse my feet as I did yesterday.

February 14, 2004

Tired so took a rest day

My wakeup HR was 49, but I didn't run today. I only had six hours sleep (my normal is
7 - 7 1/2) and was on my feet for most of the day, including two hours carrying heavy boxes.

February 13, 2004

Wakeup HR down to 47 -- no colds yet

My wake up HR was 47 today. Last fall it was around 55 due to my not getting enough sleep. Also, I was increasing my distance too fast last fall, and I had two or three colds. I normally don't get colds, but if I get insufficient sleep and/or train too heavy for my current condition, I get a cold as a sign from my body to back off and give it more rest.

Training Graphs

February 12, 2004

Nice run today

My wake up HR was 48 today. When I left for my run, the temperature was 23F and a 5-6 mph breeze was blowing (chill factor was about 17F). I ran my 2.8-mile measured course in 28:14:32 for a pace of 10:05. I'll measure my pace on this course about once a month so I can see how much it comes down as I increase my distance. After I get a number of data points, I'll put them into Excel and make a plot of my pace vs. my training-run distance. The pace should come down, and it will be interesting to see how much it changes. Another interesting plot will be my wake up HR vs. the training distance.

February 11, 2004

Maybe I'll measure my pace each month

I usually don't measure my pace very often since I run my "comfortable" pace and don't worry about the numbers. However, I've been thinking that I would measure my pace once a month so I can document in this blog how my pace varies with my training, distance, body condition, etc. Many runners, including myself, believe that speed will increase as distance is added, and measuring my pace on a regular basis will give evidence about this. Later on, after I've leveled off my distance, I'll do speed training, and my pace measurements will give me an idea of the effect of my speed training. I used my automobile this morning to measure a particular route for the recording of my pace. It is 2.8 miles. I'll try it tomorrow.

My wake up HR was 50 this morning.

February 10, 2004

Another great run

My wake up HR was 49. The temperature was 24F with a slight breeze. The sun was out, and it was a nice run. My body felt rested and I think my "comfortable" pace may have been a bit faster today.

February 7, 2004

Used odometer to measure course

After my run today, I drove the course to get a better estimate of the distance. My estimates were about 0.3 mile high, so my 3 1/4 mile course has really been about 3 miles. Most odometers have an error of about 1%, so the true distance should be close to what I measured.

I added another 1/4 mile to my course today, making the course 3 1/4 miles. I ran it in 33 minutes for a pace of about 10. I don't check my pace very often, because I run at my "comfortable" pace, but I like to check it once in a while. I can't explain what my "comfortable" pace is, but I recognize it when I reach it. It's the pace that feels "just right", like I'm able to run forever. On days that I feel good my "comfortable" pace is faster, on days that I'm tired, had insufficient sleep, or running against wind, it is slower. If you'd like to read about running the "comfortable" pace, click on the Training link and then on the Basics of Jogging link. Read the essay by George Sheehan. That essay was the first article I read in the running literature, and it has been my guide for the past 30 years.

My wake up HR was 49 this morning. The temperature was 34 when I left and 39 when I returned. My course is basically out and back, but the back has some zig zags to get extra distance. The elevation change from home to the turn around is about 40 - 50 feet. Not a big amount, but it is a steady climb.

February 5, 2004

My LSD is about 58% max

I woke up with a HR of 49. After a couple of hours of doing things around the house, including going up and down stairs, I measured my HR just before I started my stretches that include 33 sit ups and 10 push ups. It was 50. After my stretches it was 52. After my 3 1/4 mile run at my long slow distance (LSD) pace of about 10 minutes/mile, my HR was 88. Using the traditional formula for max HR, my max is 220 - 68 = 152. My HR at the beginning of my run was 34% max, and my HR at the end was 58% max. That's about right for my LSD goal at this stage in my training. Later on after I have my weekly distance up to 33 miles, I'll start doing speed training, and during those bursts, I'd like to get my HR up to about 85% max or 129 or so. These numbers are interesting, but to me it's more important how I feel. During a LSD I should feel rested and should enjoy the run, and I do. I'm a firm believer in LSD while increasing distance!

February 4, 2004

Wakeup HR has been consistent

Today is a rest day. My wake up HR was 50. My wake up HR has been pretty consistent during the past week. I think that's because I've been consistent in getting close to my seven hours of sleep. I've been measuring my wake up HR for almost the full 30 years that I've been running, and HR is very sensitive to sleep. Last fall I was only getting 5-6 hours of sleep, and my wake up HR was 55 or higher. As my HR goes up, my endurance and energy level go down. This is probably to be expected considering my age (68), but the same thing happened when I ran marathons at age 45-46.

I'm currently running 3 1/4 miles of long slow distance (LSD) at 9 or 10 minute miles, and my HR doesn't vary much during the run. I'm working up to 6 miles three times a week, and I'm not doing any speed work while I'm increasing my distance. Both increases in distance and speed increase the stress on my body, and I'm controlling the amount of stress by changing distance or speed but not both together. After I get up to the 6x3 distance and run it for a couple of months, I'll add a fourth day starting at 1/2 mile. When that day gets up to 3 miles, I'll add a fifth day and take it from 1/2 mile to 3 miles. At that point, I'll be running 6, 3, 6, 3, 6 (heavy/light) for 24 miles/week. At that point, I'll begin my marathon training and slowly increase my 5th day up to 15 miles. After I reach that point (33 miles/week) I'll level off and run that year around. After a year or so then I'll begin training for the St. George marathon and work during the spring and summer to get up to 45-50 miles per week, extending the 6 miles to 10 miles, the 3 miles to 5 miles, and the 15 miles to 20 miles (just one time for the 20 miler about a month before the race).
When I level off at 33 miles per week, I'll begin to do speed work, but I'll only do heavy speed training once a week (now that I'm older, maybe once every two weeks. It depends on how fast I recover).

This plan for marathon training may not seem very exciting to you younger runners, but It's the plan I used in running marathons back in '81 and '82, and it's my way of running pain and injury free. It's a slow plan, but it works for me.

February 3, 2004

Three inches of snow last night

I had a nice 3 1/4 mile run this morning. My wake up HR was 50, and I felt pretty good. We had about four inches of fluffy snow during the night, and there was a mist of snow falling during my run. The temperature when I left was 30F. The wind was about 3 mph and caused the snow flakes to come down at about a 60 degree angle. The streets had been plowed, so I didn't have to run in deep snow.

Even though I only had two layers and was wearing shorts, I started to sweat during the last half mile, and when I got in the house and took off my breaker, my long sleeved T-shirt was damp around the neck. After my run on Thursday, I will have run my increased mileage for two weeks. If I feel good on Monday I'll add another quarter mile.