Swallowed My Pride

I was finding this heart rate training lark really hard going.  When my heart rate goes above (or below) the Zone for the training that I am doing, my Garmin gives me a little warning. If you recall, a couple of weeks ago my heart rate would not go down and the damn thing kept beeping at me.  It seemed that, no matter how slowly I ran, I just couldn’t get the rate down.  As a result, I just continued to jog along at an extremely slow pace.  This meant that I was actually “running” slower than if I had walked and that my heart rate was above what it would have been if I had walked as well.  I knew that this couldn’t be what heart rate training was all about, it certainly did not convince me that it was doing me any good.

 Last week, as a result of my first run, I decided to swallow my pride and walk if the heart rate went too high.  After the first Garmin warning I looked at the watch to see what my heart rate was and slow my pace a little.  If I got a second warning I slowed the pace a bit more.  On receipt of a third warning I immediately started to walk.  I would then slow my walking pace a bit if I got any more warnings.  Once I got into the rhythm of this, I found that I was only walking for a few paces before the heart rate was down sufficiently to start running again.

 My first two runs last week were runs into work.  The first run was supposed to be a 50 minute run.  The route I went took me over Chosen Hill, by road, into Churchdown and through the airport.  It was the uphill section (which is about half the distance) that did for me.  I was running such short steps and at such a slow pace that I would have been better off walking.  Bearing in mind that the last time I ran this route I did it in about 50 minutes.  This time, the 50 minutes ran out while I was still in the airport and it took me another six minutes to run into work.  Average HR was 146bpm and my average pace was 14.35 minute mile.  Bear in mind that this was all road work.

 On the second run I ran around the side of Chosen Hill, via the farm, and through the back alleys of Churchdown to the airport.  This was supposed to be a 60 minute run.

The first mile or so was road running and then the next mile or so was cross country.  I had bitten the bullet and decided that I would walk when the heart rate got too high after three warnings.  I wish I had done this earlier!  I know that the heart rate goes high when I am going uphill, so was prepared when I hit a hill.  It did take me some time to overtake a guy who was walking up the hill, but working on the basis that “it doesn’t matter” I just got on with it.  A couple of times I struggled to pass him as I was forced to walk, but eventually I managed to sort my pace out so that I was still running, while maintaining the right heart rate.

 I reached work with time to spare, so I ran along the alleyway at the side of work and back.  I almost made it back to the entrance to work before my 60 minutes ran out.  Av HR 146 bpm.  Average pace 12.46 minute mile.  See go slower, to go quicker!

 My last run of the week was a 30 minute run through the alleyways in Abbeymead.  Av HR 144bpm.  Average pace 11.54 minute mile.  I accept that this is all road running, but blimey, 11.54!!!

I know that the pace I do “doesn’t matter” but it is nice to see some progression.

 I was supposed to do a 10 miler on Friday, but Mrs Mad Mick was off from work so we decided to spend some quality time together.  What with working shift and three kids, finding time to just go out together is difficult.  So, instead of doing a ten miler I did a country pub with the wife.  Rump steak cooked on hot rocks (basically it cooks on the rock in front of you) and a pint.  I like running, but not that much.

I did my ten miler yesterday instead.   I worked out a route that would take me through Longlevens, Innsworth and join the Glevum Way at the back of the Army base.  I filled my Camelbak with some Zero infused water and put a flapjack in my pocket and off I set.  As with the previous runs I swallowed my pride and walked when I received the warnings.

It had started off quite cold but soon warmed up.  I hadn’t gone particularly far (about a mile and a half) when I took off my windproof.  I still can’t get over the fact that merely removing my top is enough to send my heart rate way over the zone.  No change in pace was going to be enough to bring it down so I resorted to walking.  It didn’t take long before the Garmin informed me that I was back in the Zone, so to speak, and I was back to running again.

 I had an idea of where the turnaround point was going to be so was pleasantly surprised when my watch informed me that I had reached half-way, about 300meters short of where I was expecting.  I still ran on a little to reach a gate in a field that I could use as a landmark on Mapmyrun.

 As I turned around I pulled my flapjack out and slowly worked my way through it.  I believe that the whole idea of running at a low heart rate is so that you use fat for fuel rather than the carbohydrates in your muscles.  But, I didn’t think it would hurt to put a bit of extra fuel in the tank.  Also, eating makes you feel a bit better and gives you something else to concentrate on.  I had heard that eating while running was a bit of art and I have to say that it isn’t something that you can just get on and do.  Trying to chew and swallow while keeping a steady breathing rhythm obviously takes some practice.  At least I didn’t breath in bits of flapjack.  I washed this down with some of my drink, which I continued dipping into all of the way home.

I had felt pretty good all the way out and for much of the way back.  On the last couple of miles I began to feel my left hip and the back of my right knee aching.  Nothing major, but I was definitely aware that they were there.  Once or twice, when the Garmin told me to walk, my thighs felt really odd.  I could tell they were getting tired, but I felt somewhat separate from them.

The watch told me that I had reached the end a couple of hundred meters short of my start line and I began my cool down walk home.I was grateful for the cold bath afterwards and gave myself an extra minute or two.

A bit of manipulation of my route on Mapmyrun showed that I had in fact run 10.06 miles.  My AV HR was 152bpm (the training Zone was 147-154) and my average pace was 12.16 minute mile.

 I may not be the Hare but my Tortoise is definitely getting faster.



  1. Took my speedcross 3 back to shop. They returned them to Salomon who agreed to replace them. I didn’t have proof of purchase so had to pay £5 postage, but worth it.

    1. Well done. My problem is that I can’t really remember which place I got them from. It’s either a shop or I bought them online. And it was certainly more than two years ago. I will just have to put up with it I suppose.

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