May 26, 2008

Iron training

I completed my long run today on a hilly trail. I did the entire 13.2 mile trail run in Z-2 & completed it in 2hrs 8 minutes. Considering my speed was limited because I was pretty impressed with my time which is really making me pumped up about my upcoming 5430 half Iron in Aug & REALLY pumped up about my IMAZ in Nov. I know I've said this before, still feels sereal, my coach told me I could go under 13 hrs at IMAZ. That really motivated me, but I wasn't sure how true that could be. I mean going 13 hrs less than a year after an Iron DNF? I looked at a triathlon pace calculator tday and realized it is very accomplishable.

Lets say I finish the swim in 1 hr 45 minutes. That's a conservative # & easily accomplishable for me. I'll probably go more around 1:30.

My biking has improved vastly. So also being conservative here, lets say I keep up a 16.5 MPH on the bike I'll finish the bike in 6:47. I'd be at 8hrs 20 minutes including the 2 transition times.

That means to go sub 13hrs I only have to run a 10:43 pace for the marathon. That would be a 4 hr 40 minute marathon. I believe that will be pretty easy at my new lower body weight.

Dang I'm pumped up this year! I'm back down to 190 pounds. 1 more to go before I get to my pre-Buffman & Squeaky weight. 15 more pounds from my ultimate Iron goal weight of 175. I believe this will be a good year for triathlon my friends.


It's been a rough few weeks. My wife & I have been struggling financially the past few weeks. I've only taken a few days off from work in 4 weeks to try & catch up financially. Seems no matter how much I work & all the money's gone before we get my next check.

I was at church today & an elder of the church asked me "what do you think Gods trying to teach you with this?" Man, how could I have been so stupid. I learned this lesson a couple months ago. & here I am in the same situation. When I put all of life's stresses on my own shoulders I become overwhelmed & start sinking. The minute I put it on God's shoulders or pray for what it is that I need or want, He provides.

Apparently I'm a slow learner because I've learned this lesson numerous times before. I seem to get into a rut and then try to get myself out on my own. & that's when things get overwhelming & I start to feel like I'm sinking. As soon as I pray & put it in God's hands things get better. I sure hope I learn this lesson this time because I'm so tired. Like I said I've only taken a few days off the entire month of May, & those days were spent visiting a sick relative or traveling for races. I'm dead tired. I can't keep this up much longer. I'm very grateful my elder opened my eyes to what I need to do. I think it'll all be better soon, but any prayers would still be appreciated.

May 23, 2008

Santa Fe Seals, calorie reduction

Today was the 2nd day of having lowered my daily caloric intake. Today was allot easier than yesterday was. Yesterday I was hungry all day. Today, there were a few times I got hungry. But overall it wasn't as bad & was a much easier day to handle. Not sure if it's a mental thing, or physical. But I won't complain.

I completed my 1st swim workout with the Santa Fe Seals today. It was hard because all those kids knew the drills & most of the workouts without being told. Since I'm not a member of their team I didn't want to pester the coach with questions about what drill I should be doing. Out of the hour long workout I may have spent 20 minutes actually swimming. The rest of the time I spent trying to watch kids swimming & figure out what drills or techniques they were practicing. I'd like to say when it got to the actual swim sets it was better going, but I'd be lying. The coach gave each child's times that they should be swimming each set in. I was trying to find a child that my swim time was comparable to, & there weren't any. All of them were either much faster or slower than me. I did my best, which when it comes to swimming isn't great. But I'll keep practicing on my own & with the Seals until I'm a good swimmer. No matter how much work & humiliation it takes. The next practice should be allot more productive because I've figured out mostly what I should be doing.

There is a funny story to tell. I was trying to immolate one 8 year old girls swim drill, but I couldn't figure out what it was she was doing. So I asked her what drill it was & what the drill should teach. She started giggling & told me there was a spider on the bottom of the pool yesterday & she was looking for it. I'd been doing the same thing as her for almost 5 minutes. Not only did I never master the way she was swimming, but neither of us ever did see that pesky spider.

May 22, 2008

Daily caloric decrease & the newest member of the Santa Fe children's swim team

Daily caloric decrease & the newest member of the Santa Fe children's swim team

A couple weeks ago I hit a weight I never really believed I'd be able to achieve. 190. For the 4 years before that I'd been trying my best to lose weight while triathlon training & racing. The best I'd been able to do was 227 a couple times, & one crash diet that got me down to 211. Nine months after that crash diet my weight promptly shot up to 256, which unfortunately was right before my failed attempt at the Silverman Iron distance triathlon in Nov 07.

To reward myself for getting to 190 pounds I raised my daily calories from 1900 to 2200 a day. After that I was still losing weight consistently, just at a slightly slower rate. After I raised my calories I was not nearly as hungry. I was more content & comfortable throughout the day. After my last 2 speedy race performances I've decided I want to try to get to 175 pounds & I want to get there a little quicker than I was wanting to when I decided to increase my calories to 2200 a day. So starting today I have gone back to 1900 calories a day while replacing 50 calories for every 100 I burn. I've been hungry all day, but the juice is worth the squeeze. I'm eating unlimited amounts of raw veggies to combat that hunger. The veggies are making it tolerable, but not necessarily comfortable. I did this for 4 months, November through April with great success, 67 pounds of success to be exact. I'm hoping to get the same results as before, probably a little slower because the lower I get the slower I seem to lose. But I'm ok with that because I have allot less weight to lose now. I mean dang, I'm only 15 pounds from my ULTIMATE goal! Last time I was 175 I was a 14 year old freshman.

With the exception of the last 3 weeks when the Geneva Chaves Community center's pool closed for resurfacing I've done more swimming in the last 6 months than the 4 years before that combined. I've made decent gains, but I swim alone so I'm sure I'm just getting better at swimming with poor form. I've tried to find a masters group to swim with, but the only 2 in Santa Fe swim from 6am-7am. Because of my work schedule I can't swim then. So I've had no other choice but to continue practicing on my own. Today the local Santa Fe children's swim team called The Santa Fe Seals were practicing while I swam. They seem to be at the pool the same time I swim most everyday. So today as I was getting taken to school by a bunch of 7-18 year old's an idea was born! Since their practice time is perfect for my schedule perhaps they'd allow an old slow guy to practice with them. I asked their coach, at first he looked at me & smiled as if I was pulling his leg. The smile quickly faded once he realized I was still straight faced waiting for an answer. After a moment of contemplation he said sure. So I'll be practicing with the Santa Fe seals, a childrens swim team from here on out. Hopefully I'm not to old to pick up some of the children's swimming skills that made those little guys so dang fast!!! Seriously, there are some very fast swimmers on that team. Many of them aren't even tall enough to touch their legs to the floor when they sit on the bleachers, yet they can out swim me easily. Although I'm elated for the opportunity I won't be telling any of my friends I'm the newest member of a children's swim team. Ha, the things I'd do for speed.

May 20, 2008

Buffman & Squeaky post race report

Buffman & Squeaky post race report

I competed in the Buffman & Squeaky Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday It was the 4th time I've completed the Buffman, & my 6th Olympic distance triathlon altogether. I PR'd this distance last year with a 2 hr 52 minute performance. Because I've lost 40 pounds since last year & my Coach The Mad Scientist Pete Alfino has been getting freakish results from my body this year, I set a lofty goal. I wanted to get a 2 hr 40 minute time or better. That would be a 12 minute PR. Normally that would be an outlandish goal. But I have faith in my fitness level & body this year.

Like I wrote on my blog in an earlier post I really struggled with this taper. I binge ate from Thursday until Saturday night. Everyday I woke up telling myself it won't happen again today. It did, & each day was worse. In the 4 days of struggling I gained 5 pounds. I'm up to 193.8. Up from 188.6. The bad news is I've been averaging 1 pound a week of weight loss so this backslide will take me at least a month to recover from. The great news was as soon as the race was over I didn't have any cravings at all. I haven't had any since then either. It's always my greatest fear that I won't get back on the band wagon after one of these rough periods. That has been the story of my life with this current weight loss streak being the only exeption so far.

I showed up at the race sight at my normal 6 am arrival time. I got my favorite spot for this race. I've got that spot every year for the past 4 years. I set up my transition area & commenced mingling until race start time It was unusually cold that morning. I was hoping it would stay cooler than normal the entire race. The Buffman & Squeaky has a tendency to be hot on
the tail end of the bike & very very hot on the run. Add the killer hills on this course & it can make for a rough race. The temps did end up staying unusually cool the entire race which is especially good news for me, since I'm a bigger triathlete I have allot of difficulty dispersing heat.

The water at the Buffman & Squeaky triathlon is spring fed so it's always a bit of a shock every year to see how cold the water is. It was a mass swim start. I usually wait until most everyone is in the water & on their way before I start my swim. This year I hopped right in the mix, mid pack. You see, even though I fought him tooth & nail my coach has demanded I swim more. The
difference this year has been amazing. An open water mass swim start is a contact event to say the least. About 500 meters into the swim I hear a heavily accented voice yell "this is fun!" It was a guy I met named Marcos. He's a really great guy I met pre-race who is from Germany & was competing in his first real triathlon. I say "real" because he's done some of the White Sands Missile Range triathlons. But those are not open water swims, there are not usually many racers at those, & their not mass start swims. So it was his first mass start but apparently it didn't bother him at all because he finished a couple minutes ahead of me despite my best swim ever. I finished the swim in 32 minutes & got out of the water at the same time as fellow Outlaw Carl Armstrong. That was a first. Carl is normally a vastly superior swimmer compared to me.

As I ran out of the water & into transition I was very dizzy. That's common after a long open water swim, but this time was much much worse than normal. When I got to my transition area I was so dizzy I had to sit down to put on my socks & shoes. Not something I normally do & not something I'd suggest if your looking for a fast transition.

On the bike, immediately out of transition there is a huge hill about 8 percent grade and probably around 150 yards long. All the other years this hill saps my strength for the rest of the race. I never really recover from that climb. Not to mention that all 6 or 7 of these very steep & long hills on this course used to have the same effect on me. Not this year! I tore those hills up like I've never dreamed I could do. I usually get passed by dozens of people on each climb. I would hold my own on the flats, but the hills was the place I lost all my time. Again, not this year. I only got passed a few times by people who were obviously bike dominant triathletes. Most of those I caught back up to & passed on the run.

I pushed myself as hard as I possibly could the entire bike. At the turn around I thought I had made a pacing mistake because my legs were hurting really bad. I though if I kept up this pace I'd have nothing left for the run. To late now I thought. I might as well go for broke. By the time I reached the transition to the run my legs were on fire, they even felt slightly swollen & pumped up from the effort I was using to push the pace on the bike.

I thought to myself as soon as I started the run that I was in trouble. My legs were hurting & I felt much more exhausted than I ever had before starting a run on an Olympic distance. Well, I thought for the 2nd time that day, might as well go for broke. I figured it was pretty much certain I was going to fall apart on the run. My legs really were trashed. I figured I might as well run as hard as I could for as long as I could in hopes that I could put enough time between me & my competition so that once I had to start the tedious run/walk process I'd be far enough ahead that not to many would catch up. I was wrong in my theory. But wrong in a good way. I continued pushing myself harder than I thought I could sustain, but I never had to slow down. I kept pushing my legs harder & further into what I felt was the point beyond what I could handle. I never slowed down! Apparently my training for IMAZ is going well because I have what
seems to be a limitless well of energy/endurance in my legs. I finished my race in 2hrs 40 minutes 55 seconds. I made my goal of finishing in 2hrs 40 minutes or under. I broke my PR by 12 minutes!!! Its not like I had only done 1 or 2 Olympic races to have a PR of 2;52. I'd done 6 Olympic races & crushed the previous best by a kickin 12 minutes!!!

As I've said before, my coach told me I'm on tack for a 13 hr Ironman in Nov. That seemed way to good to be true. But now, I do believe. From an Ironman DNF in Nov 07 to a possible 13 hr Ironman in 08. Oh Goodness, God is very kind to me indeed. The splits of the Buffman & Squeaky aren't posted yet. As soon as they are I'll update my blog. Thanks for tuning in, & God bless you all.

May 16, 2008

Buffman & Squeaky Oly & a taper

My favorite 2 races are the Atomic Man duathlon & the Buffman & Squeaky Olympic distance triathlon. I'll be competing in the Buffman this weekend in Lubbock TX. This is the 4th year in a row I will have done this race. Last year I set a personal course record of 2 hrs 52 minutes. I'm hoping to finish this race in under 2 hrs 40 minutes. That's a lofty goal. 12 minutes faster than last years PR. 12 minutes, that's no small feat. Especially considering how difficult this course is. Its the exact same course as the BSLT 703. It's a hot & hilly course. 12 minutes faster would usually be unattainable. But this year I'm coming in 42 pounds lighter. My training's been on the money, I'm following my coach's plan to the tee, & I'm doing a taper for this race. I'm only doing 4 tapers this year. Its part of my plan this year of racing less. Hopefully this plan will help me to do a sub 6 hr half iron at the 5430 & a Sub 13 hr Ironman Arizona in Nov. But before I focus on those races I have the Buffman & Squeaky in my sights.

Only one problem. This dang taper. To taper is a good thing because I get to see how my efforts are paying off. But in all honesty I hate tapering. I don't do well with tapers at all. Allot of it has to do with the mental aspect of tapering. I keep thinking that if I wasn't tapering I'd be gaining more fitness for my Iron aspirations. But my biggest problem with the taper is the food cravings & weight gain! Most athletes struggle with their weight during a taper. All endurance athletes get cravings during a taper. But when it comes to food cravings I'm a weakling. Yesterday I was almost giddy when I got off the weight scale. 188 pounds. 190 was my dream goal back in November when I DNF'd my first Ironman due to being obese. I was 256 pounds in November. I never dreamed I could actually get to 190. Now I'm below 190. A dream come true! This is the first time I've been this light since I was 17 years old. Maybe 16. Then last night I had a taper induced sweet tooth go rampant. I ate 128 weight watcher points yesterday. 6400 calories. More than I'd usually eat in 3 days. Most of those calories were consumed from 3pm to 9 pm yesterday. Today I ate 2 plates of nachos & 1.5 packages of graham crackers before work. The only reason I stopped over-eating today was because I had to go to work. When I'm at work I'm stuck in a tower for 12 hrs a night & have no access to any food other than what I bring to work. Thank the good Lord for my work.

I keep telling myself today & yesterday is over. Tomorrow is a new day. There's 3 days left until my race & then my tapers over. I'm hoping I can hang onto my diet plan the next 3 days. I won't dwell on the last 2 days because when I beat myself up I turn to food for comfort. Its a big bad snow ball affect. I'm choosing to accept what I've done the last 2 days, & just move on. 3 days. I can do anything for such a short period of time. I just need to keep praying for strength & fortitude. I need to keep my eye on the prize.... Ironman, a 13 hr Ironman to be exact.

Light is fast.

Skinny isn't a body type, its a tactical necessity.

I'll see if I can minimize my food cravings until this taper is over. 3 days. Any prayers would be appreciated. Keep tuned in & I'll let you know how my taper, diet, & race goes.

Thanks for reading. I'm out!

May 14, 2008

change of goals

Well. I'm down to 190 pounds. My average weight loss is about 1- 1.2 pounds a week right now. I'd like to be losing big numbers again like I was Nov-Feb. But hey, I'm only 10 pounds from the goal I'd set earlier in the year of 180. As long as I keep looking at the results & physique I've built for myself I'm able to avoid becoming frustrated, heck I get down right giddy. From 256 pounds to 190 since Nov. 66 pounds in 6 months. From a size 46 to a size 44. Not to
shabby. I am content with what I have done so far. But I'm not through yet.

I've decided I'm going to continue losing weight until I see it is a hindrance rather than a help to my triathlon speed. I'll be able to tell by the tests my coach Pete Alfino gives me every rest/test week & by watching my workouts very carefully. When I start feeling exhausted on long workouts I normally could handle & other signs like that I'll increase my calories to maintain my weight. Regardless of how light that is at that time. You see, I've learned that fat is
not just weight, it's speed. Skinny is not just a body type. Its a tactical necessity. I was able to talk to a local triathlon legend this weekend, Clay Mosely. He's one of the fastest triathletes in the South West. He told me he's 6 foot 1 inches tall & 175 pounds. Now that I have my nutrition dialed in I don't see any reason at all I can't get that low too, perhaps even lower. He's 2
inches taller than me afterall.

I just finished reading an AMAZING book called Lance Armstrong's War. Absolutely wonderful book. It was talking about how you can tell when a cyclist is on his peak physique because he has cheek folds. The book explains that cyclist get to the point where they no longer have enough fat to have dimples when they smile, so their skin just folds. I'll stop myself before I get to that
point I'm sure. But I'll let my performance tell me when enough is enough. It's funny how life changes a persons opinions on things. I grew up idolizing Arnold Scharzinegger & Sly Stalone. I just wanted to be big & strong. When I trained I always lifted weights & that's all. But now I've actually gone the other complete opposite way & am willing to try & lose some upper body muscle to gain an advantage of speed on the bike & run. All I do is cardio barely any weights at all. Definitely no lifting for size anymore. Never would I have guessed that this would happen.

May 13, 2008

weight loss ideas

I've been struggling with my weight since I graduated from high school. I've tried every diet out there. Allot of them were bad & did more damage than good. But I learned something from each & everything I tried. Sometimes I learned what worked. Sometimes I learned what things were really really bad I've applied all those lessons into my training & diet & have gotten some great
results....finally. I thought I'd share some of the things I've been doing.

1st & foremost I pray. I pray to lose weight. & I even pray to become a faster triathlete. Its a truly selfish request of mine that God seems to be granting. So the first thing I want everyone to know is that I give all the glory to my Lord Jesus Christ! The reason I am able to succeed is because of Him. He's allowed me to learn the skills to be able to apply to losing weight, & he's
given me the fortitude to live with my emotional eating issues. He's put great people in my life to support me & to teach me. Great leaders for triathlon, faith, diet, & a better more rewarding way to live life, which would be for Him, not me. For all things that are good lead to Him. Period.

A great guy asked me this weekend what the heck my trick is to losing weight. I told him I'd put it up on my blog. So here it goes. First, pray. Ask for help from Him. The 2nd part is hardest. Accept whatever his will is regardless of whether His answer is the one you wanted or not. Be willing to accept his will regardless of whether its success or failure at what you requested. Its as
simple as that.

I'll also try to explain some of the things I've been applying to my diet that I've learned over the past 12 years of fighting a battle with obesity. I guess you could say the way I eat is by periodization. I eat 2200 calories a day to start (my base). I eat approximately 32-40 grams of lean protein every 3 hrs. That usually adds up to 6-7 meals a day. I then subtract the amount of calories those lean sources of protein have from 2200. The amount of protein I eat a day
always stays about the same. The remaining calories I split up equally into each of those 6-7 meals a day I eat. Those remaining calories are what I eat in carbs & fat. Then from there I keep track of my exercise. I figure out how many calories that day I am going to expend. I divide those calories into each meal I'm going to eat that day with a good portion of those being consumed immediately after my workout to start the body's recovery process immediately. These earned calories are always more carbs & fat. As I said, my protein levels always stay roughly the same. I don't add more protein from my earned exercise calories. By following this plan on light workout days I avoid eating extra calories, on heavy workout days I'm properly fueling my body with quality fats & carbs to allow for high quality workouts & refueling.

The other thing I've learned that I've got amazing results from is I only eat things I can grow, pick, or kill. If I can't grow, pick, or kill it I don't eat it. That allows me to eat fruits, veggies, lean meats, nuts, beans, & moderate amounts of dairy. It keeps me away from any processed foods.I've found staying away from processed food really helps me get & stay thinner. I have found through trial & error that if I eat the same amount of calories in clean foods rather than processed foods I lose more weight & feel allot better, I fatigue less during my workouts etc. Some people think this means I don't eat grains. Its true most of the grains people eat are processed, & I don't eat those. But I do eat grains. Just the unprocessed ones. I eat oat
meal (not individually packaged & flavored stuff because those are more highly processed), bugler, brown rice etc. That is all I have been doing. That simple.

God bless you guys, & thanks for tuning in.

May 09, 2008

Halfmax Triathlon series

Another busy week almost in the books. I got back from visiting my favorite Aunt in Hobbs NM on Sunday. She has cancer. It was an emotional weekend. That entire weekend I didn't work any overtime. So I'm having to make up for it now. I've worked a 12 or a 16 hr shift everyday since my return. I plan on continuing working everyday until May 17th when I plan on driving to Lubbock TX to compete in the Buffman & Squeaky Olympic triathlon. That will be 17 days working in a row. Race then probably another couple weeks working in a row. I really need to win the Lottery. Anyhoo....

While surfing the web yesterday I found a new series called the Halfmax. It may not be all that new of a series, but it's new to me. It's a series of half Irons that are non-Ironman sanctioned events. That is good because I have a bone to pick with the Ironman & 70.3's. They don't have a Clydesdale or an Athena category in their Championship races. I.E. Kona 140.6 & the Clearwater 70.3. They've gotten numerous requests, but stead fast refuse to have championship slots given out to Clydesdales or Athena's at any of their numerous qualifying races. I think that is wrong & I support any series trying to compete with the Iron Sanctioned events. Anyway, back to my findings on the Halfmax. There are multiple Half irons throughout the country. If you qualify at one of these qualifying events then you can race at The National Halfmax Championships race in Boulder NV in Oct. I've decided that I'm going to attempt to qualify for the Halfmax National Championships. There are 2 ways to qualify.

1) To take the top 33 percent of your age group in any qualifying Halfmax race.

2) To finish any 70.3 distance (half iron) in a designated time. The times are different depending on your AG. 5 hours 5 minutes is the time I would need to qualify for my age group of 30-34. 5 hours 35 minutes for Clydesdales 39 & under.

My first attempt will be in March 2009 at the Lone Star Half Iron in Galveston TX. I chose this race because because it suits my strengths. I'm pretty fast on flat courses. To put it bluntly I suck at climbing. Its the whole power to weight ratio on the bike that makes me so dang slow on hills. The Lone Star Half Iron is a very fast & flat course from what I read. I should do very well at this race.

If by chance I don't qualify at the Lone Star Half my next attempt will be The Moose Man Half Iron in New Hampshire. I chose this race because my wife wants to go to New Hampshire for a vacation. Perfect. First 3 days I get ready & race. Next 4-7 days we vacation. Win win for my wife & I.

If I don't qualify for the Halfmax National Championships the 2nd time at The Moose Man Half Iron I'll do attempt #3 in Sept 2009 in Arora Co at The Harvest Moon Half Iron. If I do qualify at one of the 2 races earlier in the 09 season I won't do the Harvest Moon at all. I'll just put all my attention , focus & training to the October Halfmax National Championships in Boulder NV. Boulder NV was where I DNF'd the Silverman Iron distance in Nov of 2010. So qualifying for the Halfmax would be particularly sweet because on top of racing a National Championships race I'd also be able to take my revenge on that course. I did the Harvest Moon Long course in Sept of last year as a tune up race for the Silverman Iron distance. I came into that race overweight. On top of that I decided to race with only one water bottle cage on my bike to make my bike as light & aerodynamic as possible. HUGE mistake! When I picked up a bottle of Gatorade at an aid station I'd finish the bottle of fluid before I was half way to the next aid station. By the end of the 56 mile bike ride I was severely dehydrated. I finished the race in 6 hours & 25 minutes. Considering what a hilly race the Harvest Moon is & how dehydrated I was that wasn't a bad time. But I could of done SO much better. If I do this race in 09 I will do better. Much better. Revenge of the Former Clydesdale!!!

Yes. I realize how anal it seems to have my triathlon schedule planned out until October 2009. 17 months in advance. But since I'm giving you a glimpse of my madness I might as well share with you that I have my season planned out until May 2010. My next A race after the Halfmax National Championships is the Florida 70.3 May 2010. Yup, my tri schedule is planned out 2 years in advance. I know I know. Borderline psychotic. Welcome to my world.

May 08, 2008

training by heart rate

Training by heart rate.
There is no “miracle” cardio training routine that will work for every body type or fitness level. But heart rate training comes close.
It is still amazing to me that with so many books on heart rate training, and so many athletes training with heart rate monitors, that the majority of people still do not understand this training concept. But out of the hundreds of my co-workers and fellow triathletes out there training hard, the vast majority still train “by pace” or “by feel”. Even if they do run with a heart rate monitor, they are usually training in the wrong zones. Those people are training very inefficiently. With the majority of athletes having to juggle family and careers you’d think they’d make every minute of training count.
Everybody, no matter what their fitness level, or experience in endurance sports can make improvements through more effective heart rate training. Training in the correct heart rate zones, and in conjunction with the proper training programs will make you faster and build more endurance. Often times accomplishing more gains with less time spent training.
The majority of the triathletes I have trained with thru the years train at what some may call “my pace”. They usually go out and run or bike as fast as they can. Or they simply go out and train at the same time-measured pace at which feels most comfortable, regardless of what their heart rate is telling them. Training by “pace” leads to junk miles and is ineffective training.
These athletes would make better improvements if they trained in a whole range of paces. They should work both aerobic and anaerobic systems. You see pace is simply not a reliable indicator of how hard you are working. To many external factors can affect the effort level required to maintain a certain “pace” such as hills, heat, altitude, wind, fatigue, or even stress levels. All these factors can affect your heart rate.
Athletes training by pace usually end up training in the wrong zones. Why? Because running in the aerobic range seems too easy or comfortable. While high intensity training that develops the anaerobic system is very uncomfortable. It takes focus and discipline to maintain an anaerobic level of effort, and discipline to maintain that level of effort for any period of time. Those that are training by “pace” or by “feel” tend to push beyond the aerobic training zone, but not all the way to the anaerobic training zone because it’s so unpleasant. This in-between area is a “no mans land”. They are going too slow and too fast for optimum training of the aerobic or anaerobic system. They should be careful to avoid this in-between zone, as it leads to performance stagnation!
Effective heart rate training prevents us from training in the wrong zone, and it ensures that all of our training is beneficial and time efficient. Heart rate doesn’t lie. It will tell you how hard you are training. It automatically makes all of the adjustments for heat, wind, altitude, hills, and fatigue- whatever. Heart rate, not pace or how you feel should be your primary indicator of training intensity.
You can estimate your HR levels by using a low-tech method based off your estimated maximum heart rate. Simply subtract your age from 220. This is your max heart rate. You can figure out your training zones based off of your estimated max heart rate. I did this generic method and my max was calculated to 180. I had my heart rate tested at a physiology lab recently, and I found my max heart rate was actually 168. That is a BIG difference. Training by my estimated max heart rate of 180 would make my aerobic pace 12 beats higher than where I know my true aerobic zone to be. In addition your heart rate zones should be based on your lactate threshold. Not your max heart rate.
First I’ll show you how to how to test your lactate threshold (LT). Then I’ll give you your heart rate zones based off your LT. You need a heart rate moniter with an average heart rate function. To find your training zones for the run: warm up well, a 15 minute easy jog should be sufficient. Then do a 30 minute time trial (TT) meaning run ALL OUT for 30 minutes. At the 10 minute mark start your heart rate moniter. Your average heart rate for last 20 minutes of your all out run or TT is your lactate threshold.
To find your LT for the bike: Warm up with easy spinning for 20 minutes. At the end of the warm up do 4X90 seconds of increased effort to get your heart rate elevated. Then do a TT (all out) on a flat course. At the 10 minute mark of your TT start your heart rate monitor. The average heart rate of the last 20 minutes of your TT is your lactate threshold.
Your zones based off your LT are as follows:
Zone-1 60-69% of your LT
Z-2 70-79% of LT
Z3 80-89%
Z-4 90-94%
Z-5 100%+
Zone 1 is for active recovery and extensive endurance.
Zone 2 is for endurance. Both Z-1 & Z-2 are the only zones that you can burn fat, build mitochondria and build more blood capillaries.
Zone 3 is for increasing your lactate threshold levels.
Zone 4 is for tempo runs and bike rides.
Zone 5 is interval training. You should only do work in this zone in the build phase of your program. This zone is where you build your speed. You should only start speed work if you have built up a good aerobic base.
–Cody Hanson