Speed Kills: The Sequel

For those that have been following the trials and tribulations of an amateur wanna-be elite marathon runner blogger, you know that I've moved to the next phase of my training and that's the "patience required" phase of heart rate training. Everything about heart rate training is counter-intuitive...you mean you want me to slow down so I can go fast? Yeah...right!

Given what I thought was my best training period ever for Boston this last April and the fact that mile 20 hit me like I felt like I was running my first ever marathon with one wicked 20 mile wall, I was in seek of some divine running god intervention. It came in the form of heart rate training.

I am excited to be one week away from my next race (Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon) and see what roughly 90 days of (heart rate) discipline will do for me on race day.

I won't go into my VO2Max study and progress report up until now (see blogs; Slow Down You Move too Fast, and Young Bull and Old Bull,) but this week seemed to have "turned a corner" in seeing some benefits of heart rate based training.

There are many things that don't jive with me and the habits of a heart rate based runner;

1) My Aunt asked after a recent run if I was wearing a bra...no...that's my heart rate monitor and strap.
2) Speaking of bras, I had to consult the ladies of DailyMile and twitterland for tips on bra rash. The answer was to use the same body glide I use on my feet and shoes and you won't have that nasty rash.
3) The "old dude that was pretty fast, but I knew I could kick his butt, but gotta check the ego because it was a Zone 2/3 day and not a track or tempo day and I knew I could lap him like a dog ego I had to check at the door and let him pass me" feeling I had this week.
4) Did I mention, you have to run slow on some days even though you feel great and want to rip off a fast run, but you can't run?
5) I have been a "dual-fisted" runner having to sport two watches; a Garmin GPS watch and a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. Today I combined to a single Garmin 110 device that has both (review to come in a future blog.)


I have never been so excited to run a 1/2 marathon as I am now. This week presented a few milestone runs for me. I ran a Zone 1 (below 135 heart rate) run earlier in the week that was sub eight minutes (click the Vimeo link on the post run picture of me above for the video interview.) Granted, this was a much shorter run than a marathon, but I was essentially running at Boston Qualification (BQ) pace in my lowest heart rate. Given my 1/2 marathon in a week, I substituted some hill training the last two weeks with some track training to pick up some speed. On Wednesday's track training, my coach prescribed four 1000's with the first and last 200 at 90% effort and the middle 600 at 80% effort (warm-up before and 200 cool-downs between.) I approached 9 mph, but more importantly, my heart rate was still middle 150's.

What does that all mean? When I had my last analysis done, when I approached 9 mph, my heart rate was 161 plus and I was not only above lactate threshhold, I was in a Anaerobic state--translation? This is where the "wheels start coming off" and the body shuts down, your quads kill, and you're asking yourself, "why is this fun and why am I running a marathon?"

I plan to get my Zones re-evaluated sometime soon and it's still likely too early to tell, but as they say, "I'm sticking with the program."


  1. HR training largely confirms what some of the great running coaches teach - run lots of easy miles, and only a few miles fast. Nice thing about HR in my book is that it's a pretty objective indicator of intensity, so you don't have to ask yourself whether you're pushing harder than you should... Your HR tells you without the guess work. I'm interested in seeing how it's worked for you when you get a re-eval.

  2. You are having a great run. Your run is good, Looking forward for more run update.


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