Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Testing. Testing. Is this thing on?

on 17 April 2015


As you can see from the above pic, J and I have discovered the secret to effortless slimming! And that’s with enough chocolate between us to sink the Titanic this week! Nothing like a bit of evening sunshine to boost the self-esteem 😉 I guess a pair of stilts would have a similar if less elegant effect but I’m not sure I could persuade J onto a pair of them much less anywhere near a camera!

With Otterburn’s No Ego Trail Challenge just around the corner, this was more of a leg stretch as we’re both still planning on going, and both sporting niggle potential injuries – J’s got a gippy muscle right at the top of her thigh which is just what you want for running with on rough terrain. We took her dogs out down by the river – ran 1km down and then walked back to the cars. I’ve never really thought about how far a kilometer is – the distance is only something I’ve really tracked when running, when walking I never really think of the distance I’m covering as I usually just have to get wherever I’m going regardless, so I’ve only tracked it when doing legs of Hadrian’s Wall with X. It took us 8 minutes to travel the 1km at a jog, and 19.5 minutes to do the same distance back – quite a noticeable difference in pace, which is always reassuring as there’s been times I’ve felt my quiet jog speed is not actually much quicker than a brisk walking pace!

I use a Garmin Forerunner 110 for tracking my distance and pace etc. as I potter about, and this also came with a heart monitor which I’ve never used and thought that today, given it was a short one, I’d try out. I’d read in the instruction book that some people experience chaffing if worn for longer runs, so trying it for the first time on a monster distance sounded like a bad idea! First challenge – how does one put it on? It’s supposed to go around your chest just below the breastbone in contact with your skin, but consider for 2 seconds the primary essentials of a woman’s running wardrobe and it’s easy to see why I was slightly perplexed by these simple instructions. Fortunately the internet came to the rescue again! Some kind soul took some pictures confirming my suspicions 🙂 I didn’t really want to be messing around trying to adjust or remove it in the middle of a busy riverside path if I could help it! As it happened, on the run itself it was easy to forget I was wearing it – which is what you want, but I’m not sure how it is on a longer sweatier run, I may try it for Otterburn but make sure I put some vaseline or something on the back of the non-sensor bit just incase it starts to chaffe. See how laden I want to feel 🙂

As I said, I’ve not used this before so wasn’t really sure how to access the data – and to see if it had actually worked! Skeptical? Moi? :O I find the Garmin interface a bit of a headache – probably because I’m used to using MapMyRun and didn’t spend a huge amount of time trying to figure it out, and heartrate only shows on MapMyRun if you have an MVP subscription, which I was thinking about trying out anyway just to see what shiny things it would give me access to and whether I would use them, so now seemed as good a time as any to try their 1 month free trial.

There’s two ways you can see your heart rate, as a graph with the elevation or pace (or without, you can select which of the three you want showing when you have MVP access – and no, I don’t know what MVP stands for!), and as a breakdown of how much time you spent in each heart rate ‘zone’ with an arbitrary maximum calculated from your age if you want to use the default, or you can enter your own if you know it (I don’t, so am on default!).

This was mainly a walk, so unsurprisingly my heart-rate didn’t reach anything near my calculated maximum of 189bpm, I suspect I’d be in some serious health trouble if I had on a gentle jog and a stroll over 2km! Also as expected – most of the exercise time was spent in the ‘active recovery’ zone – with the lowest band of heart rate – a good sign for a walking pace! What I’m not sure of is why the ‘active recovery’ band goes all the way down to 0bpm…surely if your heart is going anywhere near that slow you’re in dire straits and need to get to a hospital stat?!



I’m interested to see what my heart rate goes up to when I’m running nearer the 6min/km mark for any duration – we were at 07:12 for the jogging stretch at the start where my pulse was approx. 150bpm. This puts me at the top end of the ‘Tempo’ pace, or the bottom of the ‘Race Pace’ categories for my default settings. I don’t feel out of breath particularly at the faster pace, but I wonder how fast my heart is pumping to get the oxygen to my muscles to bring this about compared with at the slower pace. One way to find out I guess!

My foot didn’t really play up tonight, a minor twinge at the end was all, and it’s been fine at a walking pace all week, but I think tomorrow will be a no-run day, and Sunday will not be quick. My intention is still to go, but I will be taking it easy – and may try Mr G’s suggestion of taping my foot to see if that helps. I’m not planning on taking pre-emptive paracetamol or anti-inflammatories beforehand as I suspect this would just result in me pushing myself further than I should. I want to keep the exercise level present rather than wiping it out completely for the next few weeks, even if I have to dramatically reduce the intensity level to do it!



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