Running and Effort
Today is day 2.342 of my running streak. That is 6 years, 4 months, and 28 days but ultimately each day, each mile, is a gift from God but in those days I have learned one very important lesson. Listen to your body.
You see, to keep my streak alive I need to run at least one mile every day and that changed how I looked at running in so many ways. The good is that I learned to listen to my body better and more closely. The down is the streak can take a sense of control you never realized would happen but that is a post for another day. Today we are talking effort.
Effort matters and good effort does not always equate maintaining the same pace and mileage.
Things in and out of your control can affect effort so keep a record of how you feel, what is going on in your life emotionally and physically, and what your perceived effort is.
Perceived effort is just what is sounds like. What you perceive your effort level to be and it is a good general assessment you can apply easily. If you are running and able to sing a song perhaps you should try pushing yourself a wee bit harder. If you are running and can`t get one word out perhaps you want to ease up a bit.
But ultimately it depends on what your running goal is.
Long easy run? You want to be able to run and talk but singing? Not so much but you should be able to carry on a short and brief conversation with a running buddy. If you can't form and speak short sentences (being abrupt is okay), you are at the wrong effort level for achieving your goal.
Doing speedwork? Forget about singing or forming sentences of any length. This is when it is okay to push yourself wordless especially if you are running intervals. Be speechless at those fast paces and then bring yourself down to being able to say a word or two before tossing in that next fast interval.
You could even go as far as running by your heart rate. I know this works for many but I just am not at the point where I look at my heart rate on the run but could get to that point. I do wear my Fitbit and have my heart rate at my fingertips....literally. And I could sit down and do the math and determine my personal heart rate zones. I just haven't yet but may do so...one day...maybe.
What I am liking is premium Strava and the relative effort calculations. Granted this is based on generalized heart rate zones but it is a good tool for evaluating my runs and applying more metrics to effort and heart rate analysis. The one catch is it only works for my runs I do outside with GPS data....unless I am missing how to apply it to my treadmill runs and other workouts but that is okay.
I don't need detailed analysis for every run and knowing I get this "added value" for outside runs encourages me to hit the roads more often. Gotta love running motivation!
According to Strava, today's 8.1 miler was tough with a relative effort of 148. Distance, terrain, and heart rate all factor into this. You can get the details of what percentage of your run was in the endurance zone, moderate zone, tempo zone, threshold zone, and more. This was a good effort as lots of my outside runs tend to be in the 75-85 zone but they also tend to be 4-5 miles.
Looking at this data, or just noting your perceived effort, can help you evaluate how hard you are pushing yourself. This is important as yes, sometimes you want to push harder to achieve results but if you want to keep running injury free, or start/maintain a running streak, it is important to have those recovery/easy run days too.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for technology that helps me apply metrics to my perceived running effort to help me stay accountable to my training effort and desired results.
Daily Bible Verse: For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast. ``'It is Zion, for whom no one cares!' ~ Jeremiah 30:17