Friday, January 1, 2010

Where is Zone 1 anyway?

First of all, if you're here after reading Molly's post today...Hi!!

For my first day of triathlon training in 2010, I had a 40 min. run on my schedule. My instructions from Coach Jen were to stay in Zone 1 and occasionally checking my cadence (21 right foot strikes in 15 seconds). So I woke up at 4pm (I had gotten home at 7:45 am after work and went to sleep around 8:30 am) and got ready to get outside before I lost daylight.

We drove down to the Almaden Lake Park, since it is close and has a multitude of surfaces to run on for my inexperienced legs. David, my husband, was more than willing to accompany me and that was great. I started out and began to think about keeping my knees high. As a former swimmer, and breaststroker no-less, I tend to run duck footed with a bit of a shuffle. Not the most efficient way to run. Oh and by the way, I am really out of shape. Anyway, I thought that now was as good of a time as any to start working on getting a higher knee lift in my running. As such, as soon as I started my Garmin beeped at me. WTH? I was already out of Zone 1! I had gone maybe 30 feet. Maybe. I began to slow down, and my husband turned around to look at me as I explained I was just going for heart rate and time today. But the guy is 6'4" so his walking is close to the speed I was going at this point. I let him go ahead. He needs a good work out too!

Well, fine, if I was already out of the elusive Zone 1, I figured I should go ahead and try this little cadence thingy. That was hard. I kept getting to like 16 and 17 and that was it. Meanwhile, my Garmin continued its plaintive beeping on my wrist. I didn't run with an Ipod today (a BIG step for me) but who needs an Ipod when their Garmin is playing its own little tune?

As Garmin beeped at me again, I decided to start walking so I could look down at my heart rate. It was fast, something like 160. I thought that perhaps it wasn't reading correctly. After all, this is a new piece of equipment for me, so perhaps I had set up wrong. So I decided to manually palpate my pulse (sorry, nursing vernacular), I checked my pulse with my fingers. Sure enough, that baby was going fast! It was what I like to call in my nursing charting "bounding". Okay, so Garmin wasn't lying. I was so far away from Zone 1, it wasn't even funny.

A caveat, these Zones are preset from Garmin based on my age and weight. Since I am so out of shape, Coach Jen and I decided it would be better to just get going and gave me some easy ways to remember the different zones:

zone 1 = recovery (SUPEReasy)
zone 2 = Aerobic (you can talk!)
zone 3 = TEMPO
zone 4 = HARD!!!
zone 5== well, you won't see this zone yet.

But I can tell you, either way, I was not in Zone 1. Okay, I was in Zone 1 when as we drove home. Heck. I am probably in Zone 2 now just typing this, but I don't have my HR monitor on, so I can't be sure. I do know that I can talk as I type, so Zone 2 it is. I do believe I saw Zones 2-4, but not on purpose and only heart rate wise. There was certainly no tempo or going hard going on today, but that is what it was supposed to be.

At the turn around point, I decided to try and give my knees a bit of a boost again, but not with the same sort of vigor I employed at the beginning of my run. With
Garmin now screaming at me, I set forth. I found that if I did the "swimmer shuffle" ie, my normal way of running, my right knee was a little angry. However, if I picked up my knees a bit, and used a better foot strike, my knee shut up. Either way, Garmin beeped. There is no way David could have lost me on the trail, he would have just had to go toward the beeping.

I did walk the last 5 minutes of the workout, so I could at least show that I was in Zone 1 at least some point during the 40 minutes I was out there. All in all, it wasn't a bad day. I was trying to go slow, and think about my feet and knees. I didn't miss my
Ipod (too much to think about). I was never close to feeling like I was over doing anything in anyway. Most importantly, I got out there and did it. So that makes me happy.

I got home and was so excited to upload my data into Training Peaks. That took me a while, and also had me deleting today's run off of
TP all together...hmm...will get better at this. I finally downloaded Device Manager and that seemed to work, all though I have heard it's a bit buggy.

So now, it's off to work in an hour. Time to make some coffee and try to make myself look presentable for my patients. Try not to go above zone 3 at work. Tomorrow's agenda has a nice bike ride with Molly and David. Molly's agenda on the bike tomorrow is a bit different than mine, but we'll make it work!


  1. LOL! You already know my thoughts on this - it'll take time, as with anything else. I'm sure my heart was bouncing out of my chest the first few times I tried to swim :-) Have a good night at work!

  2. Molly is soo right. It really takes time and you just have to stick with it and be patient. Welcome to the blogworld all the way from the UK.

  3. Thanks guys. Makes me feel better already =)

  4. LOL Girl, I am so with you.

    If I walk fast, I don't get into zone 1, but as soon as I run (well, shuffle) I'm in zone 3 near zone 4.

    And the shuffle, well, I work on it since last Sunday on the track.

    My advice on all this, don't combine motion/strength work with the small runs when you want to stay in your zone. Do some drills before or after the runs / shuffles (garmy off), it'll help and don't make your workout look bad on the garmy. (Not that I take my own advice. Ahem, but you've got an experienced coach, lucky you, listen to her!)

    BTW, I'm impressed ER and triathlon wow. You're my hero.

    Cheers, San

  5. Hi! And congrats on joining jen's crazy funhouse!
    I had no idea where Z 1 was and i have done sports my whole life, it all will make sense in a few months:) Happy New Year!

  6. Getting to a point where you can stay in zone one is a never-ending, frustrating challenge--but it's possible. And you'll be a better athlete in the long run because of it. Hang in there and prepare for a fantastic journey in 2010!

  7. Welcome to the crazy tri-world! In my off weeks at the end of last year, I somehow lost my Z1, so I'm working on finding it as well. :)
    Just have fun and enjoy the process!