Friday, March 19, 2010

My fav running trails....

I've gradually come to realize that I live in a great place for running.

If you live in a big city you have to stop and cross streets all the time. If you live in the country you may have to run on roads with no sidewalks for a while to get to any trails.

Here the weather is rarely a problem, and just a couple of miles from my house I have the Palo Alto Baylands / Mountain View Shoreline Park...filled with tons of trails and paths that I can put together to make 20mile+ runs with no retracing of my steps. And that's just one of several parks I can run to out my front door.

The photo was taken with my phone during my favorite 9 miler around the palo alto airport takes me on a raised trail through the salt marshes and often the waterbirds are feeding at that hour. (they are too small to see in this photo)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tracking progress

My favorite running gadget (my Garmin 405) lets me record speed and heart rate during a run. I went to the track and ran one lap at (roughly) each heart rate from 105 beats/min up to 160 in steps of 5 beats/min. I call this a "calibration run".

[Update: the laps are all run with no rest between, and the HR is averaged over each lap, I do a 2 mile warmup run at a slow pace and a 2 mile warm down after]

Next, I wrote some software to read in my Garmin data and do a best fit line to it.. turns out that running pace vs heart rate is very linear (unless you running paces very very close to your max HR).

Below you can see this data from March 7th. The 'slope' is the beats/per/minute/per/min/mile. i.e. to speed up one minute per mile, I need to run with a heart rate that is 11.82 beats/min faster.

The table that follows then shows this data for each 1/2 min/mile pace that I might attempt to run. It also shows the percent of my 'working heart rate' that each pace is. My resting HR is 48 beats/min and my max HR is 168 (measured on treadmill at Dr's office) so I have a 120 beat/min WHR.

The cool thing about this technology is that you can actually measure your improvement WITHOUT RACING. You don't even have to run fast on the track (I do just for completeness and better fitting of the data), you can run at a bunch of slow paces (say 12 to 10 minute miles) and then week by week
see your improvement.

I plan to do a calibration run every few weeks during my current mileage buildup...stay tuned to see if I get any improvements!

Slope -11.82, Intercept 231.26, weight 170.6 lbs, temp 60 F, no wind

Here's the graph of the data.

05:00 172.2 103.5
05:30 166.2 98.5
06:00 160.3 93.6
06:30 154.4 88.7
07:00 148.5 83.8
07:30 142.6 78.8
08:00 136.7 73.9
08:30 130.8 69.0
09:00 124.9 64.1
09:30 119.0 59.1
10:00 113.1 54.2
10:30 107.1 49.3
11:00 101.2 44.4
11:30 95.3 39.4
12:00 89.4 34.5
12:30 83.5 29.6

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

For most of my life I've never been a breakfast eater. Just never felt hungry in the morning...I'd wait until lunchtime and then really chow down.

All that changed for me when I started distance running. I came back from 1-2-3 hour runs seriously hungry!

My favorite food: shredded wheat with dried cranberries, blueberries, walnut chunks and nonfat milk. There's nothing like it after a super long run.

As it turns out, I read later that it's really important to eat some carbs to refuel the leg muscles as soon as possible after running. (The update is maximally fast and complete the sooner you eat, they say). It seems the desired ratio of carbs to protein and fat is just about perfect with my fav meal too!