Yin and Yang

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June 10, 2014 by scratchtype1

The bad news: about 68 degrees and nearly 100% humidity. Gack, running kryptonite. The good news, a total of 4.6 miles that featured 6 hill repeats, and I did them very well in spite of the conditions. In spite of the fact that I’ve just come off 2 weeks of running that covered 93.7 miles, more miles than I’ve ever run in a 2 week stretch. I believe I know why this happened.

First there was the confrontation with reality that I documented in the post of Staying Reined In. With that, I committed myself to the idea that I would use the heart rate monitor to guide the effort while running. Because of that, I slowed down some on the easy runs, and have for the most part adopted a strategy of keeping the heart rate 136* or below. I’ll allow it to climb up to 140 – 142 on uphills. If I see the heart rate go too high, I either slow down how fast I’m running or take a walk break. If a walk break, I’ll let the heart rate drop to 130 or below and then resume running.

If for some reason I’m feeling off, then I’ll be even stricter and keep things even easier. This last Sunday, I went to do a run in Cheslen Preserve. While driving there, I saw that my heart rate was elevated. I took the lesson of what I saw back in May and made the run very easy. It was the slowest run I did all year, but then I was able to run Monday no problem and did the hill repeats this morning, stronger than ever. At least for me, this works and it works well.

Now, there was another cool thing to this morning’s effort on the hill. Not only did I run these repeats significantly faster than the ones in March, I pushed the heart rate a bit higher. I suspect that’s because the legs weren’t as beat up. Think about that. The legs weren’t as beat up even though I’ve just come off the 2 biggest mileage weeks ever. So I’m running more, but not beating the legs up so much. I’m running more at an easier effort and consequently I’m getting a whole lot of good adaptations — a stronger heart muscle, more capillaries, and more mitochondria. That’s what happens when I put in all those easy and relaxed miles. Then when I want to run hard, I run stronger, and probably get stronger adaptations out of the hard workouts.

Fuck, that makes sense, doesn’t it?

Also, the running streak reached 60 days today. I feel good with it and again a big part of it has been slowing down some on the easy runs. If I had keep running the easy runs as hard as I was during the first 20 days or so of the streak, I probably would have abandoned it for some days of complete rest by now.

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* — all heart rate numbers are my own, derived from what I estimate my heart rate max and resting heart rate to be. You have to find out what your numbers are and work with those.

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