This morning’s scheduled workout was new territory for me. It called for a 20-minute warmup at easy pace, followed by 35-minutes with my heart rate between 165 and 175 bpm, and then a 15 to 20-minute cool down at easy pace. To my recollection, this was the first time I’ve ever done a run based on a target heart rate range.
John’s specific instructions were “DO NOT WORRY ABOUT PACE,” so to that end I removed the pace and distance fields from my Garmin, and only left Current Heart Rate, Average Heart Rate for Lap, and Elapsed Time for Lap. I also turned off the “auto-lap” function so that I could manually make each segment its own “lap” for tracking elapsed time and heart rate.
Nathan and I met at the Forrest Home Church parking lot on Old Natchez Trace, and then completed our warmup through the Montpier Farms subdivision. After grabbing some quick fluids, we set out on an out-and-back down Old Natchez and Del Rio Pike for the 35-minute tempo segment. At first I had a really hard time getting my heart rate up above 165, and did not hit that mark until at least 3/4 of the way through the first mile. As a matter of fact, my primary focus for most of the way out was trying to keep my heart rate UP into the target range.
For a while I was thinking that John must have gotten my heart rate target mixed up with someone else he coaches. Even though I didn’t know my specific pace or distance, I knew that we were moving pretty fast. I almost never hear Nathan breathing heavy during our runs, but even he was laboring a little, and there was almost no conversation during this segment. As a side note, even though this part was very hard, my legs felt better than they have in a couple of weeks, and that was VERY encouraging.
Once we turned around at the halfway point my focus turned to keeping my heart rate DOWN into the target range, and I had to progressively drop my pace to keep it from rising too high. Before we started the tempo segment, Nathan told me he had set an alarm on his Garmin if his heart rate went above 187. I figured if he tried to stay with me the whole way he would be pushing that limit. This says nothing about his level of fitness, just that he is almost 10 years younger than me, and has a crazy high maximum heart rate. Sure enough, after about 25 minutes the alarm went off and he decided to back off a bit, though he never fell much behind.
From the moment during mile one that I reached 165 until the time I finished, I never left the target zone. One time I noticed my watch showed 175 on the dot, but it did not go any higher. Once we finished, we again grabbed another quick drink and then did our cool down out-and-back on Old Natchez.
Looking back now after the fact I noted that my average pace for the tempo segment was 6:58, though the first two miles were closer to the 6:30s. My average heart rate for this section was 167, with a maximum of 175. Overall we completed just under 9.75 miles with warmup and cool down at an average pace of 7:50 per mile. As I mentioned earlier, my legs felt fantastic throughout this run, and I’m very pleased to have bounced back from being so tired yesterday.