HR Training + Oregon Trail

The Heart Rate Training book I’ve been reading suggested a simple track test to get a general idea of maximum heart rate. Warm up for a mile or more, run as hard as you can for one lap on the track, recover for 2 min, repeat 3 times. This morning, Ryan A. and I hit the middle school track near my home before 6 am in the dark, wearing headlamps to give it a try.

I knew my legs were fatigued going in, so I’m certain my paces aren’t as good as they’d be if I did the test on bouncier legs, but since the point was max heart rate, I’m not sure it really made much of a difference. The track was very loose, fine-grained sandy stuff that made for a difficult push off. It was also kind of uneven. I think I’d have ran faster on the asphalt. Here’s how the test went:

Warm up: 1.33 mile – 10:38 pace. Ave HR: 161 Max HR: 189
.25 speed lap – 6:46 pace. Ave HR: 157 Max HR: 177
2 min recovery: 11:09 pace. Ave HR: 175 Max HR: 185
.25 speed lap – 7:14 pace. Ave HR: 180 Max HR: 198
2 min recovery: 16:05 pace. Ave HR: 163 Max HR: 185
.25 speed lap – 6:56 pace. Ave HR: 172 Max HR: 191
2 mi recovery: 17:04 pace. Ave HR: 164 Max HR: 188

I figured my max would show around 200 – 215, so it’s not far off. I did notice that when I recovered better (and walked the whole thing) the next interval went better than the one where I tried to jog part of it, since my HR stayed high and I had less steam for the speed lap.

After the track session, Ryan and I headed over to the Oregon Trail for some trail miles in the dark. I wiped out pretty good today. My legs were just not lifting the way they normally do, so when one of the zillions of volcanic rocks poked it’s head up, I went down. Lots of dirt on my clothes and scratches on my right knee, but no blood today.

We got 7.42 trail miles before heading back to the house. It was fun. We talked about an ultra book we’ve both read and about the recent viewing of the Western States 100 movie, Unbreakable. Good fun!

I also had the chance to try out Ryan’s two handheld bottles. I’d just purchased two Nathan ones this week for Christmas gifts for Wayne and I and Ryan suggested I try his older Nathan one and the other one was Ultimate Direction, that he prefers, just to see how the fit varied between the two brands and to compare the valves on the top which are different. I was really thankful to try them both out side-by-side before I took off the packaging on our new ones. I think I’ll be returning mine for sure and getting the easier bite valve model. I liked the fit too. Thanks for sharing, Ryan! That was helpful!

While on the trail, I also tried to keep my heart rate at 155 or under. Turns out, that means I have to walk like a snail on the uphills, but then felt pretty awesome on the flatter sections. My ave HR overall today was 155 and I finished with a final kick, feeling awesome. I really think that’s the range I need to stay in as I continue training for my 100. Hopefully with some of these ideas, I’ll be training smarter and therefore, hopefully racing smarter too in March!

I plugged my numbers into this cool online calculator to find my zones.

From the data gathered in the past week it would look like this:

Easy: 111-128 (brisking walking) (up to 52% of Max)
Aerobic: 146-163 (jogging) (52% – 64 % of Max)
Anaerobic Threshold 163-180 (going hard) (76% – 88% of Max)
VO2 Max: 180-198 (all out)

After looking back at some of my past races or harder efforts yesterday, these zones do seem pretty close to what I was expecting. I think the biggest lesson for me, is that I need to not let my HR get anywhere near 180 or I tend to have a much harder time and often bonk. For the 100 miler I’m doing, keeping the range even tighter at 155 is likely a very smart strategy to keep me going and going (so long as I’m up on my hydration, fuel, etc. as well.) This will be fun to test out over the next few weeks and see if it yields better overall results and less bonking on really long ones!

Stats: 9.92 miles. 1:51:25 time. 11:14 average pace. 236 feet elevation gain. Best pace: 5:07. Ave HR: 157. Max HR: 198

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