Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Running to the Beat

This is the first of three blog posts about heart rate and nasal vs. oral breathing. Today I will cover heart rate and discuss the general experiment tomorrow. 

Typically when I run I am glancing at my watch to check-up on my pace. My pace depends on how much of a workout I want for the run. While using pace is a general way to keep consistency in your running, heart rate is a better measure.

Heart rate is a better measure because your heart rate is proportional to the amount of work that your body is doing in a given condition. I noticed while I was running on the cool beach last week that I was able to run a 9 minute mile with no problem, but as soon as I came home I was huffing and puffing at a 10 minute mile due to the high humidity of the deep south. Comparing pace in this situation is not fair at all!

So what sparked this interest in heart rate? I recently started taking an Athletic Training class as an elective, and the topic was brought up.

We learned some basic formulas that tend to be pretty accurate. I will only use two for the sake of this post.

The American Heart Association, as well as my instructor, claims:
~Maximum Heart Rate = 220 - Age
 While finding this formula I found many people that disagreed with it. I honestly don't think it is going to make much of a difference. Another way for me to find this is to just go running balls-to-the-walls.

Anyway, I am 21, so my maximum heart rate is going to be 199 BPM.

 After finding my resting heart rate I can determine my target heart rate.  To find my resting heart rate I used my Garmin Forerunner 305 + Heart Rate Monitor. I simply laid on my floor and waited until my heart beats hit their lowest point. It is probably best to do this immediately after waking up, before coffee, for better accuracy. It turns out my resting heart rate is 41 BPM.

To find my target heart rate I will use the Karvonen method. This says:
THR = ((HRmax − HRrest) × % intensity) + HRrest
But wait. What intensity do I need to be running at? Typically I want to be in the aerobic zone, which is between 70% and 80%. The aerobic zone is preferred if you are training for an endurance event. So let's shoot for some middle ground at 75%.

Now plug-and-chug:
THR = ((199 - 41) × 0.75) + 41 = 159.5 BPM
I now know to get a good aerobic workout I need to be running around 159.5 BPM.

Next, for tomorrow's experiment I will need to find my Healthy Heart Zone, or warm up rate. The intensity of a warm up should be around 50-60% of my maximum rate. So I'll shoot for 55%.
THR = ((199 - 41) × 0.55) + 41 = 127.9 BPM
Now I know when I am doing my walks I should be at about 127.9 BPM.

Later, I will work this information into my experiment. I suggest finding your aerobic heart rate and warm up heart rate and trying to run with them. For a non-Garmin way to take your heart rate, check out this information at the University of Iowa.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A 5K Every Day For One Month

I have been trying to run a 5K every day this month. I have attempted this before and it ended in injury. This time feels different and I am having much less trouble.

So why didn't I announce this 10 days ago? I wanted to know if I could do it. Too many times have I said I am going to do something only to have to stop it for safety's sake.

I find that the little aches and pains that I think could be injuries typically disappear after a few days. Although I would rather not, I am still comfortable with the idea of stopping the streak to make sure that I am healed for the Peachtree Roadrace on the 4th of July.

My current pain is below my first metatarsal. I can still run without pain if I am paying attention to my form(maybe this is a good thing). I believe it has to do with the tendons since I don't remember bruising it. I think it happened because I drove 11 hours without shoes on from North Carolina. I use my toes to accelerate.

Running a 5K every day has taken a toll on me, but it seems to get easier with time. The best part of it is that I may be able to break my current record of 113.8 miles in a month. Today is the 11th(yes I waited a day to post this) and I have almost passed my previous months miles. This is definitely a great way to get the mileage up!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beach Running!

I haven't posted in a few days because I have been on vacation in Frisco, North Carolina with my lover. The beach was really nice and the weather was great. For some reason I was able to wake up at ~7:30AM every day. I have no idea how.

Beach running was different. I am not sure if I like it or not. The first day I ran in my swim trunks and ran in and out of the water. BAD IDEA! I was chaffed for a few days. The beach felt good on my feet, but I think I prefer asphalt. I feel like I actually have to pay attention to my form more since I know that the surface is soft and that I could easily overstride.

Sadly, even though I was running on the beach I only saw one other person running barefoot. Everybody else laced up shoes and avoided the water. Where is the fun in that? I suppose it can be argued that they are training the way that they are going to run races, but it still is sad to see people running in, to quote Barefoot Ted, "foot coffins" while on one of the most forgiving surfaces to run on. There weren't many shells and the ones that I stepped on just laid flat, so protections wasn't really an issue.

On that note, here is a video of me running/sprinting on the beach. The quality isn't great(recorded on my phone). There isn't really a point to this video other than "This is a video of me running."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hot Hot Hot! Blisters!

Sooner or later, almost every barefoot runner will run in a temperature that their feet aren't quite ready for, resulting in a set of blisters. The trick is to know your limits and stop running when you feel is necessary.

Yesterday I tried running in a new location. It has been sooo freaking hot and humid here. I mean, seriously wtf is this garbage?

I was actually running a little earlier that that(around 6:30), and I know it was hotter.

Anyway, when I first saw the new location(Rock Creek in Dawsonville) from the road I thought it would be a tree covered and shaded dream. Unfortunately this was not the case. In fact, 90% of the path was golf-course like, meaning the sun was-a-roastin'!

Great, so I step out of my car and it is hot. It doesn't help that my car has no AC, but I digress... So I start my run. About a mile in I am noticing that my feet are getting more and more tender. I increase my cadence and truck on. Finally, at the end of the 5K I walk slowly through the grass back to my car. My feet are a slightly tender at this point, but there are no signs of blisters!

Now the main predicament comes the next day. My feet are still tender. When should I run? In the cool morning with little recovery or during the hot after with more recovery? Cool morning it is!

I met up with my mom and we did a slower 5K. Its nice to have someone to talk to while running and my mom does a great job with that. During the run my feet held up fine. The only thing that hurt was small rocks that stuck to the bottom of my feet.

After coming home and taking a shower I decided to take a picture of my feet. The burnt skin was starting to show, but it honestly wasn't that bad. I have had much worse burns that I have learned from.

So what is the point of this post? Well I feel like the last time I burnt my feet(early in on my barefoot journey) I was much worse. I could barely walk without the help of a medic, some socks, and a pair of Crocks. My feet are becoming more used to the heat and more durable. Just think if I continue to run in the heat. Nothing could stop me!