Sunday, May 21, 2017

Lactate Threshold and HR Training Zones

I've decided to utilize Matt Fitzgerald training zones based on heart rate at lactate threshold effort. His zones, with the focus on lactate threshold heart rate, are very similar to Joe Friel's. You determine your lactate threshold (LT) heart rate by one of several test runs. The simplest is to run 30 minutes very hard and use your average heart rate for the last 20 minutes as your LT heart rate. I've gotten pretty good at estimating my lactate threshold based on increased breathing rate. Fortunately, the two methods (rapid increased breathing HR and 30-minute test) give me the same result. So did my metabolic fuel test (with less precision). My current lactate threshold is about 160. My tempo intervals this morning confirmed it to be around 158-162. Calling my LT heart rate = 160 seems fine for my purposes. Here are self-testing details and more options:

Matt Fitzgerald Self-Tests
Joe Friel Self-Test

Once you determine your lactate threshold heart rate, you can set training zones. Both Friel and Fitzgerald agree that aerobic training should not exceed 89% of LT HR. For me, that is HR=143. The other zones vary a bit between Friel and Fitzgerald. I'm using Fitzgerald's zones because they are a little simpler (see his training zone calculator in link below). My HR zones are:

Easy recovery: 117-129
Basic Aerobic: 130-143
Tempo: 153-160
VO2 max: 163+ (based more on perceived effort than HR)

According to Fitzgerald, in his 80/20 book and web site (with heart rate zone calculator), 80% or more of your weekly miles should be in the recovery or aerobic zones. Only 20% (or less) in the harder tempo and above zones. And you should avoid the middle "grey zone" between aerobic and tempo--not hard enough to stimulate real positive change, but too fast to allow full recovery. Train hard (20%) or easy (80%). No middle ground. For a full description of the 80/20 running plan, with rationale and example runs for each zone, see Matt Fitzgerald's excellent running book.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Karl Meltzer AT Speed Record

Karl Meltzer set the Appalachian Trail speed record last year. Running 2,189 miles in 45 days, 22 hours. Not too bad. I'd love to run sections of the AT in 2-3 day intervals. Not a thru-hike or thru-run! Here is a short 10-minute video from Red Bull of Karl's achievement:

The full 44+ minute documentary can be found here at Red Bull TV.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Buffalo Trace Race Hits 15

Buffalo Trace Race Map
My little trail race is a year older. The Buffalo Trace Trail Race turned 15 today. It's a great 5-mile trail race at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve in central Illinois. It's run through the "Buffalo Trace" prairie where buffalo used to roam. The course is a nice combination of rolling hills, small forest, meadows, and open prairie. And it's home to the buffalo trail runner group. I started the event back in 2003 and Second Wind Running Club has been it's home for the full history of the race. There have been different trace directors since I turned over the reigns and each has lent their personality to the event. The changes keep the race fresh. Sometimes I wish I were still the director, but mostly I'm just happy to hang out in the background. I always volunteer. The weather today was a little warm for the runners, but still pretty nice--sunny, 60F, and no wind. The bright sun warmed you up very quickly. Even with the warmer temps, a course record was set (26:58, first runner to break 27 minutes on this rolling dirt/grass trail course).

Congratulations to Andrea and the whole Second Wind Running Club crew. They did another fantastic job with this event. Don't forget that I have my eye on you--take care of my baby! I'll see you next year. One day in the near future, I'll actually run this sucker. You should implement a "former race director" race category. Even better, "former race founder" category!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

My Favorite Running Shoe

Just like most runners, I'm always looking for the next "best" shoe. But one brand has captured my heart over the last few years. Skechers. Yep, Skechers. I've run in their performance running line since 2012. They were good then and better now. Every year they improve. My current favorite is the Skechers GOrun Ride 6. Fantastic shoe at a great price (I bought mine on sale for $45). I rarely pay more than $50-60 for a pair of Skechers running shoes. Most of their models retail for around $90, but they are ALWAYS on sale somewhere on the interwebs!

The GOrun Ride 6 is well-cushioned, light-weight, and flexible. Reasonably wide toebox too. The knit upper is extremely comfortable. It's fine for speed and long runs. Great all-around shoe. I'd race a 5K in them, but also a marathon. It's my favorite running shoe...until I find an even better one...probably a new version of a Skechers performance shoe.