I’m pretty funny about running, particularly about ‘what’ I will run in. For starters, I would rather chew off my arm and beat myself over the head with it than run on a tread mill. Other than the treadmill, I’ll run in almost anything except freezing rain and anything colder than -10 F (-23 C), or more than 3″ of snow if the snow trucks haven’t gone through… Of course if it’s nasty out, I won’t necessarily be happy about running but I’ll do it.
Today was one of those ‘tweeners’. Snow on the ground, roads in rough shape, and cold, but not bad enough to call it. I hemmed and hawed, back and forth between staying in and spinning, or going out to the running club. The hard thing about being in great shape (at least for me) is not skipping on the ‘tweeners’… I didn’t need to run today, heck I’m exactly where I want to be right now, I’ve worked hard, and one day off won’t really hurt anything.
There’s only one problem. I got here by not quitting when the going got a little tough – I pushed through that.
So I suited up, showed up, and rocked out a great seven miles. Starting out was a little worse than you would figure. The roads for the first quarter mile were completely iced over in the subdivision. Other than that it was cold (25 F or -4 C), ‘hurty’ and it took about a mile before I could think about being comfortable. To make things worse, the roads were a little sketchy, lots of ice. With taking it easy for that first quarter I still managed an 8:25 for the first mile and an 8:39 for the second… Then it got nasty, I turned down a dirt road, technically it was more ice on top of dirt – 8:50 for that one and that was not a safe speed. The fourth mile was even worse, 9:01 was the best I could do and that felt like a 7:40 pace. Miles five, six and seven were in the 8:30-8:50 range and I was done… I had thought about running 9 or 10, but those extra two miles are all hilly dirt roads, way too dangerous considering mile 3.
It wasn’t a miserable run but it sure was close for that first mile and a half… But then something beautiful happened – same thing always happens on a cold run. The legs loosened up, the gloves came off (even with the temps below freezing) and finally the hat. I was warmed up and other than having to worry about falling on my ass, I had a great run.
It was a perfect day to see what I was made of.
I read a great post on a friend of mine’s site that looked at the importance of checking the morning heart rate to judge adequate recovery after exercise… Now it was no surprise that my heart rate was a little elevated over the last few days, I’ve been exceptionally busy, haven’t slept well and kept my spinning schedule. The surprise was how elevated it was.
From the post: “How to use this data:
Keep an eye on your resting morning heart rate in the two or three days after a hard workout. If it’s significantly elevated from its normal average (7 or more beats per minute), that’s a sign that you’re not fully recovered from the workout. Remember, there is going to be some variability in your daily heart rate regardless of your recovery level, do don’t be concerned if you’re 3 to 4 bpm over your normal average on a given day. In my experience, it takes a reading that’s 7 bpm higher than normal to signify excessive training fatigue.”
My average morning heart rate is in the low 50’s, call it 52. Over the last several days I was up around the low to mid 60’s. I took a couple of much needed recovery days off, got some fantastic sleep last night (upwards of seven hours and actually slept in till 5!). This morning, after a cup of coffee and a few moments of trying to figure out what I would write about, feeling like a hundred dollars, my heart rate was 48.
I’ve been keeping track of my heart rate (sparsely) for well over a year now and I’ve never been under 52. So, I have some improvement mixed in with a decent recovery, albeit a slow one. The improvement is quite surprising considering I wound down my season a month ago. If I had to guess, the increase my Saturday run from 5-6 miles to 10-13 plus the spinning intervals once or twice a week on the trainer is responsible.
I’m not going to spend too much time trying to figure it out, it’s my time to celebrate the Christmas season with my favorite movie while the wife (who hates it) and kids sleep…
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.