Heart Rate Zone 2 Primer – Part 3

•August 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This is Part 3 of a 3 Part Series.

In this series I have been discussing Zone 2 Heart Rate training.  In the first part, I discussed how to find your Zone 2 Heart rate.  This is extremely important if you want to succeed with the program.  You can’t make up a Zone 2 Heart Rate!!  Your Zone 2 Heart Rate maximum is calculated by the following formula: 180 – age = Max Zone 2 HR.  Yesterday I was listening to a podcast from Endurance Planet, and some guy was questioning his Zone 2 Heart Rate that his coach gave him.  He said that his coach told him not to exceed 150 bpm.  But he said that his “MAF” was 165!!  Well, based on that max heart rate, he would be 15 years old!!  Look folks, your Zone 2 Heart Rate is not something that you can make up.  It’s 180 – age … period!!

In part 2 of this series, I spent the time discussing the MAF test, as well as discussing cardiac drift. I don’t know about you, but I know that I want to see progress!!  Bottom line, if you follow the program you will see progress!!  Yes you start off slow.  But your starting off slow because you need to build your aerobic base!!  Patience … Follow the program and you will see a difference.  Anyway, part 2 talks about doing the MAF test so that you can see your progress as you are building your aerobic base.

Now for the meat of the program.  In this final part, I will include a program that I used to training for a half marathon.  You can adjust the time to train for a full marathon, but this program will teach you how to build your aerobic base.  This program does take into account that you can run for 1 hour in Zone 2 since that is where you will start off.  If you need to build up to this, there are 5K and 10K training programs that I have previously posted in the blog.

This program includes a 16 week aerobic base build, then an 8 week build, followed by a 2 week taper for a total of 26 weeks.  Yes … That means that I actually “run” two races a year even though I do more than that.

Weeks 1-5:

  • Monday – strength training (on these days, I walk to the gym which is a 15 minute walk, then I spend about 40 minutes in the gym doing a full body exercises (squats, leg press, lunges, bench press, seated overhead press, pull ups)
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, run 1 hour in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – strength training, cross training (swimming, biking, walking, etc) or rest day depending on how you feel
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 1 hour in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 1 hour in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes (for subsequent weeks use the following times: 65, 70, 60, 75, and 80)
  • Sunday – walk/run 1 hour in Zone 1 and Zone 2

Weeks 6 – 10:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, run 1 hour and 15 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – strength training, cross training or rest day depending on how you feel
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 1 hour in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 90 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes (for subsequent weeks use the following times: 75, 100, 110, 120 and 100)
  • Sunday – walk/run 1 hour in Zone 1 and Zone 2

Weeks 11 – 16:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, run 1 hour and 30 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – strength training, cross training or rest day depending on how you feel
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 1 hour and 15 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 130 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes (for subsequent weeks increase time to 140, 150, 120, 165, and 180)
  • Sunday – walk/run 1 hour in Zone 1 and Zone 2

Week 17:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, run 1 hour and 30 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – strength training, cross training or rest day depending on how you feel
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 1 hour and 15 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 130 minutes in zone 2, walk for 15 minutes (for subsequent weeks increase time to 140, 150, 120, 165, and 180)
  • Sunday – walk/run 1 hour in Zone 1 and Zone 2

Week 18:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, run 4.5 miles in Zone 2 and 1/2 miles in Zone 3, walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – strength training, cross training or rest day depending on how you feel
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run 6 miles in Zone 3, walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk/run 4.5 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 7.5 miles in Zone 2, walk for 15 minutes

Week 19:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 4.5 miles in Zone 2, then 1 min Zone 4 with 1 min rest (repeat 6 times), walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – strength training, cross training or rest day depending on how you feel
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 6 miles in Zone 3, walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk/run 4 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 9 miles in Zone 2, walk for 15 minutes

Week 20:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 5 miles in Zone 2, then two 4 min intervals in Zone 4 with 1 min rest, walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – strength training
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 4.5  miles in Zone 3, run for 1 miles in Zone 4, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk/run 4 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 9 miles in Zone 2, then walk for 15 minutes

Week 21:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 6 miles in Zone 2, then two 6 min intervals in Zone 4 with 1 min rest, walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – walk/run for 3.5 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 6 miles in Zone 3, then run 1 mile in Zone 4 and finish with a walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – walk for 15 minutes, run 6 miles in Zone 2, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 9 miles in Zone 2 and then run for 3 miles in Zone 4, walk for 15 minutes

Week 22:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 7 miles in Zone 2, then 1 mile in Zone 4, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – walk/run for 3.5 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Thursday – strength training
  • Friday -  walk for 15 minutes, 4.5 miles in Zone 2, then 1 mile in Zone 4, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Saturday – cross training
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 10.5 miles in Zone 2 and then run for 3 miles in Zone 4, walk for 15 minutes

Week 23:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 7.5 miles in Zone 2, then two 1/2 mile intervals in Zone 4 with 1 minute rest between each interval, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – walk/run for 4 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, 6 miles in Zone 2, then 1.5 miles in Zone 4, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – cross training
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 12 miles in Zone 2 and then run for 3 miles in Zone 4, walk for 15 minutes

Week 24:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 6 miles in Zone 2, then ten 1 minute intervals in Zone 4 with 1 minute rest between each interval, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – walk/run for 4 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, 6 miles in Zone 3, then 1.5 miles in Zone 4, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  strength training
  • Saturday – cross training
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 9 miles in Zone 2 and then run for 3 miles in Zone 4, walk for 15 minutes

Week 25:

  • Monday – strength training
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 5 miles in Zone 2, then two 1/2 mile intervals in Zone 4 with 1 minute rest between each interval, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – walk/run for 2 miles in Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • Thursday – strength training
  • Friday -  walk for 15 minutes, 4.5 miles in Zone 2, then 1 mile in Zone 3, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Saturday – cross training
  • Sunday – walk for 15 minutes, run for 6 miles in Zone 2 and then run for 1 mile in Zone 4, walk for 15 minutes

Week 26:

  • Monday – rest
  • Tuesday – walk for 15 minutes, 4.5 miles in Zone 2, then five 1 minute intervals in Zone 4 with 1 minute rest between each interval, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – rest
  • Thursday – walk for 15 minutes, 3 miles in Zone 3, then five 1 minute intervals in Zone 3 with 1 minute rest between each interval, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Friday -  rest
  • Saturday – walk 15 minutes, the 1.5 miles in Zone 2, then walk for 15 minutes
  • Sunday – RACE DAY!!

So that’s the plan … You can increase the times and the distances for longer races.  I also recommend that you take a week off once you complete your race.  I don’t mean sit on the couch and not do anything.  Just no running … Go out and walk.  I walked 1 hour a day for a week for my off week.  It was an enjoyable, stop and smell the roses walk.  Then you can start your build over again … Just increase the initial time from 60 minutes to 75 minutes.

If you have any questions on this Zone 2 Primer, please shoot me a comment and I will answer your question(s) as soon as I can.

Heart Rate Zone 2 Primer – Part Two

•July 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This is Part Two of a Three Part Series

In this part of the series I’m going to discuss the MAF Test.  This is the test that I perform, and what is recommended by Dr. Maffetone so that you can track your progress as you are building your aerobic base or see that you’re not making any progress (in which case there may be other issues).

So the MAF test is a 3 to 5 mile test in which you run at in your heart rate zone.  You will need to make sure that each mile is tracked so that you can not only track your individual miles and get your average, but you can also see your cardiac drift which is another indicator of a weak aerobic base.

Anyway, this is the way that you perform the MAF test.  Warm up for 15 minutes in your Zone 1 and Zone 2 range.  For me (180-50=130), that range is 110 – 130 beats per minute.  After I have warmed up for 15 minutes, I do five 1 mile laps making sure that I know what the time is for each mile.  I need that so that I can not only determine what my average pace, but mainly to see what my individual mile pace per mile is.  I want to see my progress.  Just like I said, in Part One, if you don’t see progress you won’t do the program.  The first one that I do is the “base” MAF test.  Then you will want to repeat the test every 6 to 8 weeks so that you can track your progress.

You may be wondering, what is “cardiac drift”?  Well, cardiac (or cardiovascular) drift refers to the natural increase in heart rate that occurs when running with little or no change in pace.  Many runners mistakenly assume that if they keep their runs at a consistent pace, their heart rate will remain relatively constant as well.  However, exercise research has shown that it is common to see heart rate “drift” upward during an easy run or threshold run, even with no increase in pace or effort, sometimes by as much as 10-20 beats per minute over a 30-minute period.  It is important to emphasize that cardiovascular drift results in an increased heart rate without a corresponding rise in effort, breathing rate, or calories burned.  In the example of the long run pictured in above, the athlete reported no changes in breathing rate or effort.

I’m not making any progress, why?  If you do the MAF test, and then 6 weeks later you do it again and you see no change, you are going to quit the program or wonder what went wrong.  If you’re like me, then you will wonder what went wrong.  If you are training, there is more than just exercise that is involved.  You have to look at your diet.  Have you started a diet?  Any changes in your diet?  Are you eating different foods? Are you not eating enough of the right foods?  Are you getting more caffeine in your diet? Yes, caffeine can affect your MAF test.  I always drink one cup of coffee before I go out to run.  I need the stimulate in the morning to get me going.  One morning I decided to drink 2 cups, and it really affected my heart rate.  I had a really tough time keeping it in range.  Caffeine can affect your range by 5 to 10 beats per minute.  My recommendation is to still stay within your range.

How’s the weather?  I started my program in January which is relatively comfortable.  It was in the upper 50s and lower 60s for a majority of my runs.  Needless to say, perfect weather for running.  Then summer hit.  And when I mean it, I mean all at once.  The heat and the humidity affected me, and I had to slow down my pace to get my heart rate into the proper range.  So yes, heat and humidity can affect your heart as well.  And like the caffeine issue, I still recommend that you stay within your range.

Stress!!  Yes, stress can also affect your heart rate.  Do you have financial issues?  Are you going through a breakup?  Are you under pressure at work?  All of these things can affect your heart rate.  And like with the previous issues, I recommend that you stay within your range.

And the last reason that I can think of is that you didn’t exercise in your range.  The pace was to slow and you let your mango (aka, male ego) get the best of you and you ran outside of your zone.  If you do this, it’s just not going to work.  You just need to keep your ego in check, and run in your zone. Soon enough you will be running faster than those people and you will be doing it with a heart rate that is in a more comfortable range.

I keep a pretty detailed training log because I like to see not only my progress, but I want to be able to go back and see what mistakes I may have made or I want to see what worked!  So in my training log I keep track of my stress level (1 – 10), what foods I eat, what the weather is like, how did I sleep, etc.  I know that it sounds like a lot, but there are a lot of factors that can affect your MAF test and your training.

And you may wonder why I recommend that you “stay within your range”?  Well, I recommend this because part of this training aspect is making sure that you don’t injure yourself.  Take it from someone who like to go from 0 to 100 as fast as possible, this is one of those in which it is better to slow down.  You need to build your aerobic base, make sure that your ligaments and tendons are strong, and that you have have good strength in your muscles.

In Part 3 of this Heart Zone 2 Primer, I will put in my training plan.  This is a full training plan that I have used in the past to train for a marathon.  It includes my base, my build and my taper for the race.

Heart Rate Zone 2 Primer – Part One

•July 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This is Part One of a Three Part Series on Zone 2 Heart Rate Training

I belong to a really great Facebook group call Vinnie Tortorich‘s No Sugar No Grains.  There are always some great discussion and the latest one was on Zone 2 Heart Rate training.  Personally, it’s a subject that I’m very interested in since I feel that a lot of runners run to fast on their slow days, and they don’t run fast enough on their fast days.  What that means is that the runners are always running around the same speed.  Don’t get me wrong, they may make some progress (especially those that are new to running), but that progress will come to a halt pretty quick.

Let me start out my saying that I’m not an expert.  I don’t have an Exercise and Psychology, or even any certifications.  And what I’m going to say is not anything that’s earth shattering or new and improved.  I will regurgitate what I have read from people that I follow, and I will also post one of my training plans.  This training plan is a 16 week training plan that I did for a half marathon that really focuses on Zone 2 Heart Rate training.  And I will also start out by telling you how I figured out my Zone 2.

I use the Maffetone method for determining my Zone 2 heart rate.  To do this you take 180 and subtract your age.  This gives you your maximum heart rate for training.  Your range is 10 beats below that number to that maximum heart rate.  Here’s an example on how to determine your Zone 2.  Let’s say my age is 40.  180 – 40 =140.  So 140 would be my maximum heart rate for training.  My range would be 130 – 140 beats per minute in order to build my aerobic base.

Now, according to Dr. Maffetone there are some exceptions to this.  For example, if you are a well seasoned athlete and have not had an injuries in the last few years, then you could add 5 beats per minute to that range.  Using the same example in the last paragraph, the range for this well seasoned, non-injured athlete would be 135 – 145.

Also, according to Dr. Maffetone if you have been recently injured (within the past year), then you would want to subtract 5 beats per minute.  Again using the example from 2 paragraphs ago, the range for this individual would be 125 – 135 beats per minute.

I had knee surgery about 18 months ago, so I’m doing my range which is 120 – 130.  I will tell you that when I first started my Zone 2 training that it was miserably slow.  In fact, I had to do a lot of walking to keep my heart rate in my range.  It was very frustrating and I hated the idea of “walking” during my running session.  But this made me realize that my aerobic base was terrible.  Why am I telling you this?  I’m letting you know this because you may have the same thing happen.  You may start out in your range, run a few steps and then be out of your range and have to walk.  Don’t be discouraged … It will get better.  I promise.  In fact, in the next paragraph I will show you my progress.

In my very first MAF test, I ran for 5 miles.  This was the time per mile: 15:47, 16:36, 17:25, 17:26, 17:43.  So that means that my average pace per mile was: 16:59.  Remember that I said it was slow and that I had to walk?  Well, there was a lot of walking and I was very frustrated.  But I was determined to focus on building my aerobic base.  So, after 8 weeks I tested again.  And this was my time per mile: 13:07, 13:24, 13:27, 13:44, 13:52.  So that means that my average pace per mile was: 13:30.  So that means that in a period of 8 weeks I was able to reduce my time by 3:29 per mile.  That means that I was able to increase my aerobic base.  After that last test, I started a 10 week program to build up to my next race.  But I did a good solid 8 week program.

Now I supposed you are wondering how did all of that translate into a race situation?  Like I said, I’ve been coming back from a knee injury, so it’s been a long road back.  But I have been feeling much better and have been able to train a lot harder.  So the race before I started my aerobic build, my finish time was 3:13:08 for a half marathon.  After working on my aerobic base for 8 weeks and then doing a 10 week build, my finish time for a half marathon was 2:38:56.  That means that I was able to take over 19 minutes off my time!  That’s not to shabby and I’m looking forward to starting my next aerobic build.  But I plan on doing my Zone 2 Heart Rate training for a little longer so that I can report on my next A race in December.

In Part Two of this Three Part Series I will go over the MAF Test since this is critical so that you can see your progress as you build your aerobic base.  Face it, if you don’t see any improvement you won’t keep it up.

Book Review: Fitness Confidential

•July 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This is not an ordinary fitness, diet or nutrition book.  This book is something special.  I ordered the eBook on Kindle on Friday, 28 June.  And I finished the book by the afternoon of the 29th of June.  It was even better than I hoped.  It was all Vinnie … I mean it was 100% Vinnie.  As I was reading the book, I could hear Vinnie ranting and I could hear him giving me advice.

Let me be honest.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Vinnie on numerous occasions.  He’s a fountain of knowledge.  There is just so much knowledge that you can’t drink it all in.  It’s OK, it’s all in the book.

The secret?  It’s easy.  It’s no sugars and no grains.  But that’s not the best part.  The best part is the stories.  It’s see the struggles, and identifying with those struggles.  I bet there is not a person who reads the book that can’t identify with his book.  It could be a story.  Or it could be him.  That’s what makes this book a great read.  You will identify with the book.

Refuel with Chocolate Milk? Really?

•July 2, 2013 • 2 Comments

Have you ever watched Saturday Night Live and the “Really?” segment on Weekend Update with Tina Fey and Seth Meyers? Well, I feel that way when I see all of the adds, advertisements, etc. for the Refuel with Chocolate Milk campaign.

Really? Do you think that Mirinda Carfrae sits on her steps after a long run or a brick session and drinks chocolate milk? Really? Do you think that Hines Ward is drinking chocolate milk after his training sessions for his Iron Man? Really? Do you think that any of the Professional athletes drink chocolate milk after a workout? Really? Have you seen some of the people who “represent” chocolate milk? Really? No, really?

Before you decide to jump on the chocolate milk bandwagon, just remember that the study that is references was funded by the National Dairy Council and the sponsors of the “refuel” campaign are The National Milk Processor Promotion Board (http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/publications/teachingTools/coaching/upload/Science-of-Chocolate-Milk-as-Recovery-Drink.pdf and http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/Pages/Home.aspx). Do you really think they’d say something bad about a product they are trying to market? Really? Even McDonald’s sponsors “races”, so maybe a Big Mac, fries and a Diet Coke would be a good recovery meal as well? It has carbs (including sugars), protein, and fat. It has 75 grams of carbs and 28 grams of protein. That’s a 3:1 ratio. Chocolate milk has a 3:1 ration of carbs to protein (http://gotchocolatemilk.com/science/). Wow!! Why drink chocolate milk when I can have a McDonald’s value meal?? I hope you know that I’m joking …

Chocolate milk is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Here is an article that talks about milk that I just read today. Of course the person who says it’s good represents the National Dairy Council. Again … Take what they say with a grain of salt. Do you think that Monsanto is going to say that GMOs are bad? I can’t wait to eat that engineered salmon. Remember pink slime? I wonder if the owner would fry up a pink slime burger and eat it? I bet not, yet he was saying that it was safe and that it was good. Really??

I completed the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon back in June. I’ve been no sugar and no grains (#NSNG) since the beginning of February. I was able to fuel the race with only water. I did have my pre-race breakfast (see previous blog on race). And even after I avoided the junk that was being handed out. You’re probably wondering what junk? Well, here is a video of all of the junk that was being handed out after the race: http://youtu.be/jS5d4lsBfzw

I was in shock of the junk that was being handed out. Now, if you are a calorie in and calorie out person. Let’s add up the calories and sugar that could be taken in by a runner (if they only took one of each item). Gatorade = 200 calories and 21g sugar, chocolate milk = 180 calories and 30g sugar, Powerbar = 210 calories and 14g sugar, bagel = 245 calories and 6g sugar, banana = 121 calories and 17g of sugar, pretzels = 108 calories and 1g sugar, and Jamba Juice = 270 calories and 50g sugar. So a total of 1244 calories and 129g sugar. Now you’d burn about 1700 calories total for the race. So you’re still at a deficit of around 450+ calories. Now add in your before meal, and your after meals. I’m going to bet that you are way over. So if you wanted to lose weight using the calorie in and calorie out method by running … You didn’t!! Really? Yes, really!!!

Bottom line is that the professionals don’t eat the crap that they are trying to sell and feed you. These are highly trained individuals who watch their diet. They don’t eat all of this sugar. They don’t drink Gatorade, or chocolate milk. Promoting this junk is money in their pocket!! They eat real food such as grass fed beef and veggies. They don’t eat this processed junk.

Fitness Confidential #NSNG #FitnessConfidential

•June 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

A lot of people ask about my diet … My diet is basically no sugar and no grains (#NSNG).  Anyway, the book is out … Not my book, but the book by Vinnie Tortorich.  Get the book, and learn the truth.  And if you get it today, it’s only $4.99 on Amazon.  Fitness Confidential is the book that will let you in on the secret!!

Wild Salmon Kabob – #NSNG

•June 26, 2013 • 2 Comments

Ingredients

1 pound wild salmon fillets, cut into chunks
2 zucchini, cut into chunks
2 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 large red onion, cut into chunks
Freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
Wooden or bamboo skewers, that have been soaked in water 10 minutes

Directions

Place salmon, zucchini, bell pepper and onion in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk together garlic, rosemary, olive oil and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour mixture over salmon and vegetables, toss and marinate 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill or broiler. Skewer the salmon and vegetables, reserving marinade, and grill or broil 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, until salmon is cooked through and vegetables are tender. While cooking, boil the marinade in a small saucepan for 5 minutes. Drizzle over skewers and serve.

 
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