a long run with the heart rate monitor

We last left off with a rainy day and a long run that was skipped over.  Rumor has it that yesterday, which many people had off from work thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was a lovely day for running.  I wouldn’t know since I spent the day at work, but I did learn that Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi (I’ve heard Virginia too) recognize Robert E. Lee’s birthday, which happened to coincide with MLK Day this year.  THE IRONY.  Apparently they don’t really do much to “celebrate” the birthday, but still strange.


After making time and a half yesterday (thank you, MLK), I have today off!  Lucky for me, the lovely weather continued and the sun even came out for a bit.  (Maybe the sun was out yesterday, I can’t say I recall.)  After some coffee and a banana with peanut butter, plus a few rounds of water because I feel like I’m dehydrated all the time these days, I headed out for a long run (12 miles!).  I’m trying to mix up my runs as much as living on a very populated island will let me mix up my runs, so I headed out for a partial counterclockwise loop of Central Park, hitting Harlem Hill for the first time in awhile, then exiting at 96th St to head over to the Hudson.  Robyn had planned a run like this on Saturday (I was working so I missed it!), and I realized that I’ve never done this before.  A very slight change in my normal running routes, but a nice way to not just run loops of Central Park over and over again

I decided to wear my heart rate monitor today, not only because I sometimes wonder what my heart rate is, but mainly because I like to use it to keep myself in check.  If I see a certain pace on my watch, I might get upset about it and try to go faster.  But if I put my watch on heart rate so I can only see my heart rate, I pay more attention to my effort and adjust based on that.  For the most part, I keep my heart rate in the 160’s.  I don’t claim to be a heart rate training expert, and I know that this is generally considered too high for long runs,  but I’m pretty comfortable at the pace that this gets me.

My Garmin has been a little bit of a pain lately when it comes to finding signal, but it allowed me the opportunity to direct someone toward the nearest vitamin store, which is one step closer to pretending I know my way around the UWS.  The loop-ish of Central Park went well, and Harlem Hill wasn’t as bad as I remembered.  I crossed the west side at 96th St and got a little lost trying to figure out how to get under the West Side Highway to the Hudson River path.  Oops?  Heading south, I was happy to be on a flat path instead of the up and down of Central Park…although I can feel my legs get more fatigued without the elevation changes.  A girl with long legs, short shorts, and a good pace passed me heading the other way, and I wondered 1) if she was cold and 2) if long legs actually make you run faster.  (And can I get some of those?  Your legs get longer when you hit 30, right?) 

I did some math on the run to figure out when I needed to turn around, realized I did my math wrong, and headed back a smidgen early.  (Spoiler alert:  Ended up being perfect!)  The way back was only about 2.5 miles, but I realized I was getting tired.  My heart rate was creeping closer to 170 than I would like, although I can’t say I was running any faster.  I was feeling thirsty and wondered if I need to take some water with me, even in these cooler temperatures.  I pushed up the hill that leads from the river back up to the street (it’s a doozy, in my mind), and made it back home.  Half a block away from home, I realized that I would run 12 miles this week in just about the exact same time as I ran a half marathon a week and a half ago.  It always amazes me how different two runs can feel!

Tuesday, January 20 – 12.05 miles in 1:38:24, avg pace of 8:10

image HR was a little off in that first mile…

Questions:  Does anyone wear a heart rate monitor as more of an observational piece rather than adjusting your run based on it?  And do you carry water with you in cooler temperatures for longer runs?  Inquiring minds…

making the most of a rainy day

While I didn’t really make any official New Years Resolutions this year, I did have some thoughts for things I would to improve or change.  I feel like my training has been so up in the air for the past few years – between working nights, then switching to days, and twelve hours shifts all the time – I’m still not sure how marathon training quite fits in.  I’m trying to change that because I haven’t been seeing the results I would like to see.  (AKA I’m not getting faster…)  The plan for this is to fully commit to training, meaning that I want to push through “hard” times where it’s more difficult to fit in training.  Getting up early before a flight.  Getting up early (it’s all relative) on a day off.  Maybe (just maybe, this one is hard…) get up early to run before work.

One reason why I like marathon training is that I really do like long runs.  Therefore, I was looking forward to today because I could get in a long run!  I worked on Saturday, making Sunday the long run day.  Yesterday, the weather forecast said it wasn’t supposed to rain until at least noon – definitely a surprise to wake up at 8:30am to rain!  People on Twitter said the roads/sidewalks were slick from rain turning to ice, and the Whiskeython (scheduled for today) got rescheduled because of the rain.  So I read a little and ended up falling back asleep.  Woke up to more rain and temperatures still in the 30’s.  With more forecasted rain all day…and more people say that it’s still icy outside!

Well, this might not go as planned.  I really wanted to get out there and be all, “Look guys!  It’s not that bad!” but I also didn’t want to slip and hurt myself.  Trying to be smart about this whole fit-in-training-no-matter-what business.  Because you still have to be smart when trying to train smart, right?

In other news, one of my other resolutions plans was to actually start strength training.  I’ve been to a few classes at the gym, and I’ve enjoyed them when I’m able to go.  However, I’ve found that taking classes at the gym don’t really fit my schedule.  When I’m trying to build mileage, going to a 60 minute class (plus getting to and from the gym) is more of a commitment than I’m willing to after running for an hour already.  Plus, since I work 7:30am-8pm, there aren’t any classes I can attend before or after work.  I’ve been eyeing some at home workouts for awhile now.  Some friends have achieved amazing things with some Beachbody programs, but those cost a big chunk of change if you’re not sure that a home workout is something you’d like or stick to.

Luckily, Jillian Michaels makes a bunch of workouts DVDs, and they’re pretty cheap!  I ended up choosing Ripped in 30, mainly for the fact that the workouts are mainly strength related.  (3 minutes strength, 2 cardio, 1 abs.  Repeat.  Repeat.)  Admittedly when I bought the DVD, I thought the workouts were 30 minutes.  They’re actually about 22-24 minutes (including warm up and cool down) and the program is supposed to last 30 days.  Oops!  Either way, I like that it’s short enough for me to do after work (which I did on Saturday – such a raging Saturday night) and only requires a mat and some dumbbells, which I already owned.

So instead of running outside, I did my third day in a row of Ripped in 30.  Let me tell you – 22 minutes left me covered in sweat!  The last time I consistently lifted weights was in high school (and that was with cross country and track practices…), so this is definitely some new territory for me.  I’ve also noticed how many of the cardio moves require stability, which I know will help with running – in addition to the core strength and such.

I realize that this doesn’t sub for a long run (not at all!), but I feel like I made the most of a (literal) rainy day.  I definitely would have preferred 25 and snowing over 35 and raining (ugh), but so it goes.  Of course, I work five out of the next seven days, so we’ll see how this “do more running no matter what” pans out.  (Anyone want to run at 5am?  No?  Hello?)

Did you get out to run on this cold, rainy day?  Any at home strength programs you recommend?  (Yoga too?)

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