Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Training in the Target Zone

Getting on the scale the last two days has been a welcome excercise. I've tipped the balance at 198 and it's a confidence builder for meeting my goals in the month of February. I took that mindset to the marathon clinic last night.

After an interesting discussion on nutrition we went out to do our speed work. Those wanting to do a 3:30 or faster marathon had a run of 8K and the rest of us had a run of 6K. Michael and I both want to be under 3:45 so we thought we'd redo the 6.7K run from two weeks ago. That run is also an out and back, so we'd be able to get an accurate halfway split.

Given my recent propensity to turn Tuesdays and Wednesdays into races, I went out last night determined to stay in my training heart rate target zone. Michael and I went out and did the first half of the 6.7K in 17 minutes and my HR was a steady 160-162. At the halfway point Michael stepped it up and took off.

I have to confess it took a considerable amount of willpower on my part to let him go. That is the great thing about training with a heart rate monitor. With my heart tachometer on my wrist I simply redlined myself at 165 BPM (beats per minute!)

Instead of going faster, I concentrated on my running form, my cadence and turnover, and most importantly, on running as relaxed as I possibly could. I refused to let myself get over 165 and rather than having to risk slowing down, I found myself running in a very controlled manner at 164 BPM, just like I want to do in my marathons. It was a very Zen-like training exercise, as I found myself focusing more on the process of my running than on the end result of a particular time or my performance in relation to someone else's.

I think that focus and concentration actually resulted in a better performance, as I finished the second half of the run in about 16 minutes. Total time for the 6.7K was 33 minutes. The night's run was an eye-opening experience. Tonight is a 10K and I'm hoping to bring the same mindset out on the road. Staying in my heart rate training target zone!


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