IM Pocono 70.3 Training Week #3 – Finding My HR Zones

My coach recommended that I head down to Cadence in Manayunk and get my Lactate Threshold tested after my constantly whining about this zone 2 issue. This way I could establish what my zones really are. It was $150 for the test but I needed the piece of mind and thought it would be worth it. I gave them a call and made an appointment for Saturday afternoon. In the meantime I started doing some googling about heart rate zones. The zones that were set up in my WorkoutLog had been set using the old 220-age and then just taking the percentages from the difference. Looking around I realized how old and out-of-date this method is. There are some different formulas out there and after trying them out I already saw a big difference. The one I used was from the RunnersWeb.com site, which used a 208- 0.7 * Age to get my max HR. This gave me another bpm, which helped a little bit. This biggest change was in calculating the zones. Instead of just taking percentages of the difference, it subtracted my resting HR which and took the percentages from that. This made a huge difference. After doing a couple runs with that, I was not residing more in Zone 3 than zone 4. I still wasn’t in zone 2, but I am getting there.
The rest of the week played out well. I did a hill ride workout on Tuesday, where I was supposed to keep a 85+ cadence while going up and down hills. Many of the hills around me have a pretty high grade, so I found myself pushing the pedals pretty hard. My tri bike doesn’t have a really “granny” gear, so it got a little tough trying to maintain that cadence. My cadence sensor crapped out on me too so I had no idea what I was really doing. The rest of the week I was really starting to feel a bit taxed. Not sure if it was that hill ride or just 3 weeks of training taking its toll. I was not totally wiped out, but just felt like things were a little more effort than normal.
On Friday I had the day off from work, so I got back to Dutch Springs again for another open water swim(OWS). Did a little over 1.3 miles in 45 mins. Took a couple little breaks in there, but did better than previous week. Some kid on a kayak came paddling over to me and asked me “what is wrong?” I said “wrong with what?” He said “why are you swimming over here?” I replied with “because I want to.” and continued swimming.
On Saturday, my wife and I headed down to Cadence for my LT test. I met Jack, who was conducting the test, at the counter and he took me upstairs to get started. I asked me a bunch of questions about what I am training for and general info. I needed a current running race pace so he could figure out where to start the test. The only pace I could remember was the half marathon I did last year. I did a olympic tri last september, but could not remember my time. I did the half averaging just over an 8 min/mile, so he started a little below that.
He started me out at 7.4 mph(8:06 pace) for 4 mins and then took a blood sample. He then immediately jacked it up another few tenths of a mph and took another sample after 3 mins. He did this 3 more times util we got to about 8.5 mph. He concluded pretty quickly that I was more efficient in the middle of the test than at the beginning and end. My most efficient pace was around 7:45 min/mile, which I was pretty psyched with. Of course did that mean I was slacking on my half marathon? Well, after he calculated everything it turns out that my zone 2 range goes all the way up to 152 bpm, which is right around where my HR hangs when I am in cruising mode. My Max HR is also higher than what the 220-Age calculation gives me. All-in-all it was well worth it to get the test because now I at least have a baseline to start at.
On Sunday afternoon, I got out for my long run down at the Lehigh Parkway. It was very humid, but my run felt so much better because I could just run like I feel like and not stressing over my HR zone. And low and behold it was mostly all in zone 2. Finally!
Training Week 3 stats were a little lower since I moved my long bike from Saturday to Monday because of the LT Test. Week 4 will be a recovery week, so things get tapered a bit. Happy 4th of July!


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