3.13.2011

Training - Today's 87 minute base run

What are your training goals each day? Do you set out to do x miles or is your goal to run for x minutes?

For the longest time, I measured success by the number of miles I completed. I was more "successful" when I ran more; however, this measurement of success is a bit arbitrary. There is more to a run than the number of miles. There is the course and the nature of the run. For example, are you just running to get miles under your belt or are you doing speed work? Specifically to me, am I running solo, on my incline treadmill, or with my daughter in the jogging stroller. Each one of these impacts my run and the nature of my run. I have learned to evaluate each run by certain parameters in order to have a more realistic overall assessment of my training.

Today my initial goal was to run for 60 minutes; however, I was feeling so good I decided to run an additional 27 minutes. I didn't work on speed work, I didn't do intervals, and I didn't worry too much about my pace. I ran at an almost steady pace with some mild variation on my 10% incline treadmill and I am happy with the end-results. The calculated intensity of my run and my rate of perceived exertion is perfectly aligned with a base run.

So how do I calculate intensity of my runs? First, I have established threshold paces for each run category (solo, treadmill, with jogging stroller) and convert that pace into seconds. After each run, I take the appropriate category threshold pace and divide it by my run pace to get my intensity level. I usually train around 0.92 of my threshold pace. But I found this still ambiguous because some days I just feel better so I started noting my rate of perceived exertion. This too is subjective as I try to create an average estimate that reflects my entire run but my base runs typically have a RPE of 5.0. With these parameters, I can really get into the evaluation of my runs beyond just the number of miles and this improves my training.

Rate of perceived exertion table (from Shape magazine):
1-2: Very easy; you can converse with no effort
3: Easy; you can converse with almost no effort
4: Moderately easy; you can converse comfortably with little effort
5: Moderate; conversation requires some effort
6: Moderately hard; conversation requires a bit of effort
7: Difficult; conversation requires a lot of effort
8: Very difficult; conversation requires maximum effort
9-10: Peak effort; no-talking zone

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