January 18, 2012

Lactate threshold run on treadmill

It's cold; today the mercury is at minus 12. There's even an arctic outflow warning. Arctic outflow, according to The Weather Network, will give wind chill values exceeding minus 20. I haven't decided yet what do with today's 23K session; I'll venture outside to walk Luka first to check what it feels like.

Yesterday wasn't too warm either and, more importantly, there were still enough slippery spots on the roads. With a lactate threshold session to do where I have enough on my mind without worrying about footing, I headed back to the treadmill following Monday's gorgeous 10K recovery trail run over a light layer of snow with Luka.

Luka at 4 months
Incidentally, Luka loves snow, which gives him an extra spring in his step. He was rescued as a puppy from an area about 40 minutes north of Whistler. When we adopted him in early April 2009, Luka was estimated to be about four months old. That meant he was born in a winter when Canada had the first nationwide white Christmas in almost four decades.

Yesterday's session was 16K, or 10 miles. It included 8K, or 5 miles, at 15K to half marathon race pace and/or a heart rate of between 82 and 91 percent of max. On Sunday, when I had such a tough run on the treadmill, which was my first indoor run in about two years, I had brought my Garmin heart rate monitor which wasn't compatible with the Star Trac treadmill. Yesterday I brought a Polar monitor, which worked.

After a warm-up of 3 miles, I eased into the fast part of the run by starting at 8 miles an hour. Sunday's run reminded me that it's early in the season and that running on a treadmill indoors feels very different. After a mile I upped the speed slowy to 8.5, and then sped up gradually to 9 for the last two miles of the session. In the final half mile, I slightly increased at quarter mile increments to 9.3.

IF my heart rate readings were correct, my max is well above 184; for most of the workout I was between 170 and 190 bpm. But, unlike Sunday, I wasn't struggling - it was challenging, sure, but not crazy - and I felt good after the session was done, too. Once the 5 miles were complete, I cooled down with an easy 2 miles that brought the total to 10 miles. A great workout.

I believe yesterday I might have used this treadmill, the Star Trac E-TR, which retails for a cool $7,500 or so. 

If you're looking for some suggestions on treadmill workouts, Matt Fitzgerald offers a few in this article; it includes marathon race pace training (as I did, or rather tried to do, on Sunday, see this post). Another is the Endless Hill.

I might try to see if my schedule allows for the VO2 Max Test he suggests; The workout format that exercise physiologists commonly use to determine VO2Max is also useful as a powerful (if painful) fitness-boosting workout. Start by hopping on the treadmill and running easy for five to 10 minutes. 

Next, increase the belt speed by 0.5 mph and run for one minute at that speed. Now increase the belt speed by another 0.5 mph, hold the new speed for another minute, and continue in this fashion until you feel unable to run any faster. Reduce the belt speed and cool down. Note the maximum speed you attained and try to beat it when you repeat the workout in three or four weeks.

1 comment:

Mal said...

I'm shivering just reading your latest posts!! I have never stopped to think about the training difficulties when you have 'arctic' conditions - thanks for the insights. In my part of sunny Queensland today it is 33 degrees and last week we had 37. Keep going, and I await the next chilly post.