Workout Journal: February to March

workout journal

I ended my last year’s training being disappointed with my capabilities in running a 21k. I’ve started to see clear my status quo after barely finishing a 10k. I was truly exhausted even though I was physically prepared because I’ve trained for it that whole year. My thoughts were that I cannot be physically torn in the middle of this race, instead I should be super energetic in order to be able to finish a 21k.

I don’t want to appear cynical and say that I am overall disappointed with my evolution on running. I had people around me that thought me a lot and contributed to my current level of fitness and strength and for that I am super grateful. I don’t want to be an amateur athlete I just want to be able to run an hour long or more and having the right technique.

I use running as a therapeutic exercise because I am in a competition with myself being stronger, better and healthy.

Another big realization of last year’s training was that I’ve learnt how to run in a bit of a chaotic way. Absorbing a lot from beginners like me but also learning from pros. And even though I had running instructions on a workout app, I was doing my one thing and running not in a disciplined way.

This year I have a new approach on my workout routine. I want to know how to run based on my heart rate and that means I get to know better how my body works and how can I properly doze the energy I put in a training race. Like last year I wrote down a few words after every workout so that I can have a 360°view on my commitment to this new running routine.

The information I need now is what I have to do – understand the workout, how I am doing it and more importantly how it feels like afterwards. That is why I keep a journal after every short race I have in the park. I treat every step with the same amount of care and devotion.

My routine consists in three running workouts per week. I have one easy run and one long run and sometimes a threshold run in between. As I mentioned before, workouts are based on my heart rate zones and that I could figure it out with Sports Tracker App. I’ve configured my heart rate zone by introducing the maximum heart rate I know I was able to reach during my past workouts and so for me is 210 bpm. I don’t believe that this is totally accurate but it is something that I can work with and develop afterwards.

heart rate zones

I’ve completed a full month on this new workout routine and these are my notes from every training day. I realize that in order to respect my routine I should also mention why I skip some of the workouts because now it’s not on my mind anymore and I do not have an explanation for it. Probably I had a really good one that time but now I certainly do not feel so good about this information gone away that easy.

W1 – 18.02

  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 30 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch

My average heart rate was 172 bpm. Closer to Z3 than Z2. Being the first lesson on how to control the run based on my heart rate I was trying to calm down and focus on staying in the HR zone.  I’ve probably checked my watch every 5 minutes to see how I was doing. It felt easy but I wasn’t completely sure on how this HR thing is going to be like.

W1 – 20.02

  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 30 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

Hard. Because I didn’t sleep enough so I felt the tiredness on my shoulders. This was definitely a workout done in zone 2 and that means I run with 7:30 min/km pace.

W1 – 23.02

  • Walk in Z2, brisk pace, 10 minutes.
  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 20 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

Strong and wild wind. Glad that I had just 20 minutes run on this weather.

W2 – 25.02

  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 30 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch

For the first time I ended the workout with the feeling that I’ve finally learnt something on this heart rate monitoring thing. Great posture or that is how I felt, good positioning of the leg. I didn’t feel that they crush upon each other. I moved my arms more and I tried to relax my shoulders. And more important I could keep a constant pace throughout the workout.

W2 – 28.02

  • Walk in Z2, brisk pace, 10 minutes.
  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 20 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

The brisk pace turned in a slow run. Then I increased the pace so that I can achieve the 7:30 min/km for another half an hour. I didn’t keep the same schedule as the previous workout because I didn’t follow the heart rate on my watch but it was a moderate workout in the end. I’ve done this run with my fellow runners from Sunt in Forma at Dinamo Stadium, in case you remember these meetings I had we’ve them from my past journal.

W2 – 2.03

  • Walk in Z2, brisk pace, 15 minutes.
  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 30 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

Average bpm of 183. I don’t know what happened but my heart went crazy. It wasn’t my best day at all. I run slow but my heart is pumping strong. When I am not doing a threshold and this thing is happening then I am trying to figure it out what I should do to get back to my comfort zone. Is still a process that I am learning and hope to have the information I need soon enough so I can perform my best.

W3 – 10.03

  • Walk in Z2, brisk pace, 10 minutes.
  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 30 minutes.
  • Walk in Z2, brisk pace, 5 minutes.
  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 30 minutes.
  • Walk in Z2, brisk pace, 10 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

I’ve never done this before. Run for 30 minutes and then stop. I mean it was great that I stopped, but when I was back on the run for the first 10 minutes it felt like my legs were burning. Afterwards, I got comfortable being uncomfortable and it went slow but smooth. I’ve finished with an average pace of 7:20 min/km and my heart rate was at 179 bpm.

W4 – 14.03

  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 35 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

This day marks the kind of workout that I like. Short distance, cool weather, good position, energic, confident, fit. I had it all to feel good that night.

W4 – 16.03

  • Run in Z3, steady pace, 40 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

Is still hard to run in the morning. I can hear my heart pumping strong. It is curious that I have my best time in the morning, but it is the most painful. A running race took place in the park the same morning and got me wondering again if I could do one some time.

W4 – 17.03

  • Run in Z2, easy pace, 60 minutes.
  • Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretch.

NOT DONE. Felt really tired again. Lack of sleep I guess. I did an hour walk in a park near Bucharest but not the best choice for that beautiful Sunday.

Conclusion after this month workouts

I’ve been pretty lazy actually and I made up excuses for not going on a run. I did have this big issue with my sleep that I have to get better at. And to have a good sleep, it means I have to get my everyday schedule back in order with dedicated hours for everything I do: write, read, work, train, sleep. I do not want to give up on my training because it makes me feel good. It gives me energy, confidence and it helps me to stay mentally healthy.

With this workout review, I can see now why is so important to write even in the days where I didn’t do a workout and I am trying to figure it out what was my excuse that day, what was on my mind that it drove me back from keeping my goal.

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