Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Learning to pace myself.

Last night, after a lot of walking and a number of jogging runs on my own, I turned out for Day 1 of the Running Room's training for a 10 km run. I had the required base of being able to run 6km, and I had permission to begin the program from my heart specialists and physiotherapist at the Heart Institute.

There were twenty-two people signed up for the training program, and most were there. There were three men, including me. The rest were younger females ranging in age from their late teens to the mid-fifties. I was the oldest person there. The walking group I graduated from had several people my age or older!

The group is lead by a thirty something, slim woman, assisted by four other women. Each of us was asked to give a brief description of our running experience, and what our goals were. I stated my goal of completing the 10 km Resolution Run on December 31st, with a secondary goal of completing the run in less than 60 minutes if possible.

We then listened to a talk on running with the emphasis on Long, Slow Distance (LSD) where 10 minutes of slow running is followed by one minute of walking, with repeats until the scheduled distance is done. Then, armed with reflecting patches and lights, we went outside to begin the scheduled 6 km run.

I started my Garmin Forerunner as we began. Every so often, I shone my hand-held light on the Garmin to check my pulse rate. My physiotherapist says I can jog as long as I keep the pulse rate (beats per minute, BPM) below a rate of 135 BPM. As the younger group members passed me, one by one, I found it hard to slow down and keep the BPM below 135. "Slow down", was my regular comment to myself. Down came the heart rate, and down came my speed.

Soon, I was at the back of the pack accompanied by one other runner who was struggling a little, and one of the four assistants. I kept on running at a pace that accommodated the less than 135 BPM, and enjoyed the one minute walking breaks when the assistant trainer called out for them. As we came to the last hill at around km #5, I slowed to a walk a little more often. The last stretch was downhill, and I finished that readily. The 6km took me around 50 minutes to complete.

Today, I discussed this experience with my physiotherapist at the Heart Institute. She complimented me on using the Garmin as a guide and trying to follow her advice.

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