Monday, June 05, 2006

Slow and easy

I finally woke up to the sad fact that I can't run faster than 9:00/m pace without sending my heart rate up past 80% max. I had myself convinced yesterday that 85% was OK for a good aerobic workout. Turns out that this was little more than wishful thinking on my part. The recommended max is 75-80%. Since I'm 51, this works out to a max heart rate of 127-136. I can barely walk up the stairs and keep my heart rate under 136.

So ... I slowed my pace down to 9:24/m this moring. My max heart rate (read after running up the hill to my house) was 138. The average had to be well below the 136 target.

Getting old is hell. I find it ironic that through my fat years (early 40's) I could have run my average heart rate up to 142 or so, but now I'm stuck in 2nd gear.

I certainly hope that all this aerobic exercise lets me push up my pace in the near future. I know I feel better. I'm running much stronger than I did only 2 months ago. I am not injuring myself as I did back in April when I tried to run back to back 8 mile runs. So things are getting better.

The big test will be this weekend when I try to run my first 5k of the year. In fact, this will be my first race since finishing a 1/2 marathon in 1:49:52 this past February. I ran the same race in 24:47 last year and I think I can do much better this year. I'm not making any predictions other than to say that I will be under 24:47.

Keep Running

Training for the week:

Sun 7.5 Miles - 9:10/m pace
Mon 5.0 Miles - 9:24/m pace


wildiris said...

Found your site by hitting the next button. I'm 54. Been running for five years now. When I started I was around 205 pounds. Now I'm down to 170. I'm good for a 7:00 min mile pace over a 10K race. Hopefully I can get it down to a 6:45 min/mile this year. I can hold my heart rate at 165 for a 10K distance too. Don't worry too much about your heart rate, unless you have medical problems to start with. Anyway just wanted to let you know that you can get to be a good runner, even at our age. Just take it easy and if you stick with it for a few years you'll find yourself probably being able to win a few local races in your age group.

Phil said...

thanks for the comment. I appreciate the encouragement. I'll be a happy camper if I can get my heart rate down to 165 at 7:30 pace. As far as I know, I don't have any medical problems so this should be achievable. Everything seems to working ok. I'm just impatiant.


Ann Ewbank said...

Doesn't this ridiculous ^#&*^ing heat drive up your heart rate? Maybe you're doing better than you think.

wildiris said...

Just a bit more encouragement to go with my previous comments. I would like to add that when I started running at 49, I was doing 9+ min. miles too. I took most of that first year to get down to 8:30/8:45 miles. I didn't get to a 8:00 m/m pace till my second year of running. During my third year, I started adding some speed work to my routine. That's when I saw my overall speed get considerably better. Also, as your body adjusts to your running lifestyle, your max heart rate will move up accordingly, though it may take a couple of years. Best advice, be patient, plan on running the rest of your life. To avoid injury, at our age, always quite your workout feeling like you could still run another mile or two. Vary your workouts from day to day. If you just run the same workout every day, then you'll only be able to run the same workout everyday. Hope some of this advice is useful. Good Luck!

Phil said...


Thanks for the input. You're doing very well. It is encouraging to hear from someone my age improving so much. I've been running for 4 years, but haven't made any forward progress in the past 3 years. In the first year, I took my 10k time down from 54+ to 45:20. I've been heading backwards ever since. My basic problem is that I had stopped training and got into the 30 minute a day rut.

As you are well aware, by running only 30 minutes a day 4 to 6 days a week is enough to put you light years ahead of 99% of the US population and is eneough to allow one to go out and run a middle of the pack 10k every few months. However, I was never going to improve using this approach.

Two months ago I stumbled on Ann's (aka Dr. Ewbank) Blog completly by accident. I was googling something to do with Phoenix 10ks and her blog popped up on the top of the list. Before reading one of Ann's entries, it never dawned on my that people actually took the time to write about running. Since then, I've learned better.

The more I read other's blogs, the more I realized that I was just going through the motions. I enjoyed running, but I had lost the passion I had when I first started. I also realized that I was not really in good eneough shape to improve.

I've improved my weekly mileage from a spotty 15 to 20 to a consistent 35 to 45. I'm running slower and longer and finishing before I am exhausted. I feel better and I'm eating better. I have dropped my weight from 188 back down to 177 (with dreams of 170 dancing in my head). I think I'm on the right track.

Again, I appreciate your input and know I can improve if I continue to follow this approach.

By the way, when are you going to start a blog? You write very well.


Phil said...


Thanks for the input. Yes the heat does cause you to dehydrate faster which drives up the heart rate. I also think that the body trying to cool itself off is impacting heart rate.

You're right, I may actually be doing better than I think, but I'm going to keep the avg pace down, get stronger, run a few 5ks this summer and go into next season with a much better base.

Thanks again,