Intervals August 30th

This summer, the university has been renovating the parking area near the track. While I was away from running, they planted new trees, but they yet haven’t filled the root areas with dirt.


Is this a liability issue?

They’ve also started to sprinkler the “grass” (which seems like synthetic wood chips for now, likely surrounding seeds?) aggressively. I was not above getting sprinkled on the way back.


I did 2 miles of intervals today, my standard 0.25 mile intervals. My target pace for each quarter mile is 1:30; I’m still a bit above that. I was hitting max HR during the intervals, so I feel pretty good about

Overall, I spent about 24% of my time in interval mode, and 76% of my time in recovery:pace(This breakdown is by pace, rather than heart rate, which, due to lags, doesn’t correlate well with the actual amount of time I spent in each cycle.)

Thoughts on heart rate training

There seem to be two approaches to training for speed: tempo runs and intervals. Intervals get your heart rate into its anaerobic zone, while tempo runs hit your “threshold” aerobic pace (almost anaerobic).

I’m a bit confused as to how to implement both of these techniques, however.

First, high-intensity interval training is supposed to hit 70% – 90% of your maximum heart rate during the “work” period. But 90% of my max HR of 190 is 171, which is well within my aerobic zone. Things only start getting seriously anaerobic at around 185; at least in the sense that I seem to be able to run at below that pace (under serious chest pain 180+) for at least a few minutes. So does that mean I need to up the intensity of my intervals from 171 to 185+, to keep them anaerobic?

Second, I often get my HR up to around 180 on runs. This seems close to anaerobic, and definitely higher than the “tempo” pace mentioned on Strava (153-169). I’m torn between the definition of a tempo run as one that is run at your threshold anaerobic HR, and one that seems to agree with things I’ve read elsewhere.

So the questions are: do I speed up my intervals, and/or do I slow down my tempo runs?

Morning Mile

After yesterday’s workout, which hit my heart rate max for a long period, I decided to do a short one today. A shorter run would help me recover, and also help me spread my mileage across the week. Ideally, I’ll run 7 miles this week. It wouldn’t do to ramp up too quickly and get injured.mile times

Today’s mile time of 7:16 was a bit slower than usual. The above plot shows basically no improvement in my mile times over the last two months, measured over a consistent course. Hopefully I’ll be able to break out of this rut, which to some extent was created by my Ironman training/getting distracted by work.

Back to running


After a week of post-Ironman sunburn recovery, I reintroduced myself to running. My performance was pretty bad: I did 3 miles at a 10-minute pace. (This compares to, for example, a recent run of 4 miles at an 8:31 pace.)

I’m not too worried about this blip in underperformance. It’s sufficiently bad that it was probably just an off day for me. Maybe I was dehydrated, hungry, etc., various reasons for randomly bad performance.

I also know I pushed myself just the amount I wanted to, actually even more. I originally set out with the goal of doing an easy three-mile run, but as I wasn’t running too fast, an otherwise-easy pace actually ended up hitting my heart rate max of 180 for most of the run. (My watch tells me not to work out for another 3.5 days!)

Note that my pace is usually faster than 10″-mile in the above diagram, and pretty steady, but the average pace over the run is lower because of the times I stopped at traffic lights.

Speaking of traffic lights, I find that they provide one of the most interesting physiological sensations in running, and not in a good way. Somehow it is possible to hit my heart rate max and temporarily “tune out” my suffering. But if I stop short, I suddenly start feeling just how hot it is outside. A terrible feeling passes through my circulatory system like I’ve just floored the gas in a car with its emergency brake on. And my legs start freezing into a standing position, motionless. If  possible, it seems preferable to slow down gradually rather than stop short.

I also felt another interesting but unpleasant feeling I haven’t felt for a long time, whose source I’m still trying to understand. When getting out of breath, my face starts feeling awfully painful, like my teeth are being extracted. Is this because of a lack of blood to the face? Or maybe too much blood (blood pressure?). Actually, this feeling has become quite rare for me, and I associate it with the days before I started working out.

The current plan is to train toward two things:

  1. Running a 6-minute mile. (My record now is 6:41, so I still have a ways to go.)
  2. Doing a 5k. I’m not going to train toward this explicitly, but since most of my workouts will be in the 2 to 3 mile range, I expect to have decent prep toward that. My goal is 24 minutes.