NOTE: While this is Day 20 of the Run Ottawa running Streak, this is also Day 80 of my personal streak. Not too shabby.
I managed to get outside today and it was a totally different experience than late last week and Monday. The path by the Canal was ploughed, making it much wider and scraping off the top layer of slippery, grimy snow. It was definitely warmer than yesterday and the wind was noticeable, but slight. I wore the New Balance 3090's again and the new shoes are starting to break in. I felt little intermittent aches and pains in my feet, but they disappeared as I progressed through the run.
While I was on the treadmill last night, I realized that I have been running too slow. Because consistency has been the goal for the past few months, my focus has been on injury avoidance, and I haven't been paying attention to pace or HR. To be clear, I have noticed that my average pace is increasing and my average HR is decreasing for runs over the same routes, but I have not been training with a specific pace or HR zone in mind. Today I selected the scheduled workout on my new Forerunner from my Garmin Connect plan and did 45 easy minutes. During the run, I held a pace that I could have held for much longer, but my Forerunner was chirping at me constantly. Either I have the zones wrong, or I need to slow down a bit, although I can't imagine running much slower.
The new Forerunner... The other day I purchased a new-to-me Garmin Forerunner 610. It was a great bargain on Kijiji at $75 for nearly new device with premium HR strap, charger and ANT+ USB stick. I got it home and did a master reset - something you must do immediately and before you pair the device with Garmin Express - and a thorough wash of the HR strap. The strap came out like new. I registered my device with Garmin Express (and Garmin Connect) to install the latest version of the firmware and download all of my profile information. My only other configuration change was to switch the recording interval from Smart Recording to 1 second recording. I wanted to see how it would do out-of-the-box. Bracing myself to have a myriad of things go wrong on the first run with it, the device picked up the HR transmitter and footpod immediately. Even in downtown Ottawa, getting a lock on the satellites was very quick. Connectivity with my 310XT would have been impossible where I was standing and was taking up to 5 minutes in an area with decent line-of-sight to the heavens. HR recording was smooth; no spikes. This was probably the smoothest transition to a new device that I have ever experienced. I plan on switching to this device for the foreseeable future. I like it that much.
In the past I have owned the following Forerunners: 201, 305, 110, 310XT, 405. I still have the 305, 310XT and 610 (obviously). The 305 and 310XT are arguably the most full-featured devices that Garmin ever produced. For running, the 610 comes surprisingly close.
When lunchtime rolled around, I looked at the temperature (-28C with the wind chill) and at the pile of clothes I was going to put on, and I said, "No way." I just didn't feel like putting on however many layers of clothes I brought with me to fight a stiff northwesterly wind. I decided that getting on the treadmill in the evening, yet again, was my fate. When I got time to actually hit the treadmill, I started thinking that I should not just be shuffling along for the duration of the workout just to check the box. I need to be more intentional about it. I imagined what kind of training I should be doing in order to prepare for the trail races I have in the Summer, and started remembering what we did in cross country practices back in high school. The focus was always on hills and high knees; therefore, I decided to do the hilliest pre-set workout on the treadmill, which was the one I have been doing most often, with high knees. The difference in the quality of the exercise was tremendous. My average HR was 10bpm higher than normal, and my posture was much better, even though I had the X-Files going on my tablet. (For those keeping score at home: Season 3, episode 4, starring a very young Jack Black). If/when I have to go back to the treadmill, I will approach it the same way I did tonight.