Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yesterday I Climbed a Mountain... as Speedwork

I didn't run trails in the cold and rain Saturday morning because I got up at 5 am and was just zonkered. Totally exhausted. I ended up sleeping like the dead for the next 4 hours to hit 10 1/2 hours of sleep total. Thanks to Steve for letting me sleep in, too!

So late that evening I went to the treadmill and plugged in one of my new heart rate training workouts. This one had a several minute warmup and cooldown built in, and then 12 intervals of the following... 2 minutes Zone 1 (pretty easy pace), 2 minutes Zone 2 (more uncomfortable pace), 1 minute Zone 3 (almost at anaerobic threshold, i.e. "sucking wind"). So 60 minutes of speedwork across the 12 speed intervals. Here's the workout as described through the system I'm using on the computer...

But I decided to do it on a 12% incline, the max my home treadmill will do. This was such a hard workout, but in the end I did 3 miles in 75:34. Yes, me, who hates the treadmill - I stayed on there for 75 minutes! Intervals and sucking wind and trying to recover and repeating kept me awfully distracted. And what does 3 miles at a 12% grade equate to? 1,900 feet elevation gain in only 3 miles!!!

Here's how the results looked. You can see the zones highlighted with a graph of my actual heart rate.

What's funny when I now look at my week's workout log, is that I did 3 miles in half the time I would normally have done a plain-vanilla 13 miles long run on a Saturday.

The mountain I will climb at the beginning of the Gorge Waterfalls 50K is 1500 ft in 2 miles, so this was great practice for that race in 2 weeks. And good practice generally for any hilly courses. By the time San Francisco Marathon rolls around in July, I'll be calling those hilly sections just bumps. Or least that would be awesome, and that's how it plays out in my head. ;-)


  1. Really good compliance to the protocol.... There's hope for you yet :-) Seriously, good work... I can't wait to see the caloric & fat usage data.

  2. Have to start considering working out on the treadmill with incline adjuster, not a lot of places that I know of for a tough hill workout in Dallas. 1,900 ft in just 3 miles is amazing, I would like to see how fast I could climb a mile on that treadmill (around 8.33 miles).