Since it is a new year, it is time to address goals. I mentioned the other day that I had a goal to run 5 half marathons this year and several shorter races. In order to make sure that I am training as safely as I can, I began training last February by heart rate. At first I was discouraged with HR training because it seemed like I was running a lot slower than I was used to running, which as it turns out, was too hard (fast). By always running fast, I was causing a lot of unnecessary wear & tear on my body that did result in some annoying injuries. I stuck with the HR training, though, and I slowly began to see a change. By running slower, following a schedule and adding in some speed training in moderation, I was able to get faster and finally PR the half marathon I had been trying to PR!
Today it was time for a follow up to my initial VO2 Max test that I had in February 2011. The initial VO2 Max test that I had last February defined what zones I should be training in. Additionally, the doctor laid out a specific plan for me to follow for training and racing.
The results from February 2011:
- VO2 Max: 46.8
- Max HR: 171
- Weight: 126
Zone 1 – Active Recovery – 106 -133
Zone 2 – LSD (long slow distance/Saturday runs) – 133 – 145
Zone 3 – Tempo – 145 – 153
Zone 4 – Interval #1 – 153 – 163
Zone 5 – Interval #2 – 163 – 171
The results from January 2012:
- VO2 Max : 42.3
- Max HR: 174
- Weight: 130
Zone 1 – Active Recovery – 120-131
Zone 2 – LSD (long slow distance/Saturday runs) – 132 – 146
Zone 3 – Tempo – 147 – 157
Zone 4 – Interval #1 – 158 – 166
Zone 5 – Interval #2 – 166 – 174
What does this all mean? Well, first, the VO2 Max doesn’t usually go down like that according to Dr. D, but he noted a few factors that may have influenced that number. First, I am 4 pounds heavier. This is not a bad thing, but can be enough to influence the end result. Second, I have been sick recently, so my body may not be functioning at 100%. Thirdly, my MHR (max heart rate) is different – higher. That number is not supposed to change. Dr. D said that it may have been a case of my not pushing myself hard enough last year during the test and today I may have pushed harder. Additionally, he believes that I could have still pushed harder today during the test, especially after I had told him that my MHR had been in the low 180’s on Sunday during my 5K. The tests do have a learning curve, but provide data from which to base individual training off of.
What do I do with this information now that I have it? Well, if I wanted to raise my VO2 Max, I have to make a fitter version of myself. Since I am not interested in losing weight (can’t go down that path), that may be tough. What I can do is continue to strength/resistance train and do yoga on days that I don’t run. As far as running goes, here is my current plan:
Run 5 days/week
Recovery run – Easy 3-5 miles in Zone 1
Tempo run – Zone 3; alternate time per week. Start at 25 –30 min one week, then 35-40 min the next week. Do shorter tempo runs the weeks that I do Zone 5 intervals.
Interval run – Zone 4 one week, Zone 5 the next week and so on
Zone 2 runs – 2 per week. 1 being the long Saturday run.
New Rules of Lifting for Women – complete the program. I am on Stage 5 right now. There are 7 stages total.
Continue yoga at least once a week if not more often. Dr. D recommended doing yoga the day after intervals.
Lastly we talked about running form. Dr. D said my form was great to begin with. I started out running on the treadmill at a slow speed and he gradually increased it until I was running at an 8:15 pace. Great form. Then he started to increase the incline. First 2%, then 4%. That is where my form took a hit. Then he increased it to 6% and I cried “UNCLE!”. LOL! Apparently runners typically begin to lose their form gradually as they get tired. Not me. Nope. The change in my form was great one second, horrible the next! HA! My arms went from swinging front to back to swinging across the front of my body, almost side to side. Dr. D said that this was not only using way more energy than I needed to, but doing this repeatedly would cause my hips to twist, too, which can lead to IT band issues (yeah…BTDT). I really need to focus on my arms when I am running intervals, as this is when I apparently tend to do the funky swing.
So, there you have it. I am excited to work on my training plan for the next few months & work towards my goals! The ultimate goal this year will be to PR the Columbus Half Marathon again. Last year I ran a 1:57:31 and this year I hope to get under 1:55. According to Dr. D, I can do it!
PS – Gluten-free blogging to return tomorrow. I can’t wait to talk about some of the new stuff we have tried!