Monday 25 November 2013

Slowly, slowly catchee monkee.....

       I don't normally shop at LIDL but about ten years ago they happened to be selling items of running gear,
On trial   my new coach
so I had to poke my nose in. Even though I didn't really want one, I found temptation hard to resist at sight of a Runtec Heart Rate Monitor for only £15.95. It seemed like a bargain to me, and it might have been if ever I'd figured out how to use it. I wore it maybe half a dozen times before hanging it over the back of a chair and virtually forgetting about it - until a couple of weeks ago when Dr Maffetone's book inspired me to take another look at it. Not surprisingly, after a decade of inactivity, the watch required a new battery. I kid you not, two CR2032 batteries through Amazon cost 0.59p - postage paid!  The chest strap still functions OK, but even if it had died I now have a spare battery for it.

Saturday's slowly, slowly route....
     The only thing I ever learnt from this HRM in that dim distant past was that my maximum heart rate, taken after three back to back miles, flat out with 10 minutes jog recovery, was 161. I never did get around to figuring out how to set working or recovery heart rates. I seemed to be running quite well without such knowledge - listening to my body, as they say. After all, not many other M70's at that time were running sub 44 minute 10K's or winning National Fell race championships with or without HRM's, so why should I alter anything?  Now, climbing into my eighties, things are different. I'm sliding down the Rankings, currently No.12 on the Park Run 5K list, and that's no good to me. There are names above me that never used to be. The animal is not happy.
      So, for a short trial I've appointed Dr Maffetone as my coach - though he doesn't know it! Sometime this

Approaching the hidden village of Thorpe....
week I'll do a stress test to assess my current maximum heart rate. The popular calculation of 220 minus age seems way out for me given it was above 139 for the whole of an eight mile tempo run last week. It reached 152 in the first mile, probably par for the course every time I run that particular bit of route which is near enough every week. Once a working heart rate has been established I suspect the majority of my running is going to be a lot slower - initially at least - and with that in mind I've been practicing a bit over the weekend.

Yellow landscape by the river -  kingfisher country.
     Using neither watch nor HRM we loped easily along 2½ miles of riverbank to Linton Falls before climbing towards the picturesque little village of Thorpe. From there it was mainly downhill through sunlit fields into Burnsall and back along the river to Hebden. A few winter thrushes were chacking away in the treetops beneath which we ran through a yellow landscape of fallen leaves. There was a joyous shout as a kingfisher flashed past and alighted briefly on a bare branch above the water before disappearing up the shallow valley towards Seven Sisters. It proved a delightful seven miles on a beautiful frosty day, so enjoyable in fact that I repeated it after Church on Sunday while my wonderful partner was attending a neighbour's 80th birthday party.
      Whether doing the majority of running at a slower pace in training will eventually produce faster race times remains to be seen, but that's the theory. There'll still be speedwork to do, of course, but maybe I'll feel fresher and enjoy that all the more. I'll give it a try, anything to get some of those names currently above me in the rankings back into their proper places...


  1. Ms Garmin didn't come with a HRM, but a friend gave me a strap, and now I use it from time to time... I worry about recovery more and more, so on my easy runs I try and keep my HR below 140 (I'm 44) about zone 2 on garmin, but i don't know what that means... I also ready somewhere about take max less your age add this, minus that! Oh to work out my max I just ran hard, hill sessions and track session and the max came out as about 177!

    Alway great to have something to aim for, Good Luck

  2. Love how competitive you are :) . Let us know how it goes!