Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Need for Speed Work

3/8 run 54 mins (7x400m repeats) on American Tobacco Trail soft side in New Balance MT10 Minimus Trail w/ Injinji socks

400m times
1. 1:48  HR avg 168
2. 1:42  HR avg 164
3. 1:48  HR avg 167
4. 1:49  HR avg 164
5. 1:41  HR avg 166
6. 1:49  HR avg 166
7. 1:42  HR avg 166

HR avg 141 max 177

Total time includes 400m rest intervals, warm-up and cool down.  I figured I would list out my 400m times so I can start tracking my progress on the intervals.  I need to tighten up the numbers, but overall I'm very pleased with how it went for my first ever track interval workout.  I'm not sure how much faster I would be on an actual track in real shoes, but I don't really care at this point.  My goal is to improve my speed and performance for trail running and obstacle courses.  I've got 3 events coming up in the next 5 weeks, which is kind of scary, but also very motivating.

Now, you might notice there are only 7 repeats, which is an odd number.  I was supposed to do 8, but I was trying to unlock the screen on my Garmin 405 and it thought I was hitting the lap button, resulting in a skipped interval.  I couldn't figure out how to go back, so i just skipped one.  I figured it's better to err on the side of caution when doing a workout for the first time in shoes I'm wearing for the second time.  I also walked the rest intervals, in part to minimize the stress on my feet and in part because I felt like taking it easy...there, I said it.

I guess this is a good time to discuss something else.  If you are the one person who actually reads this blog, you know I use the Timex Global Trainer GPS watch to handle my data recording.  Well, didn't I just say Garmin 405?  Yes, I did.  Once I decided to start including distance based interval workouts, I immediately grabbed my Timex Global Trainer and tried to figure out how to setup the intervals.  I had done time based intervals on the watch before and figured it would be just as easy.  This is where I discovered the biggest shortcoming of the Timex Global Trainer, in my opinion.  There is no way to setup distance based intervals.  You can configure time based intervals and associated heart rate zones only.  If anyone out there knows a way to do it, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!  So I was stuck with two options.  Either go to a real track or get a device that can do distance intervals.  Yes, I realize I could just monitor the distance on my Timex and hit the lap button each time, but this is way too much for me to think about when I'm working on breathing and staying upright.  I'd rather just run until I hear a beep, walk until I hear another beep and not have to think about anything else.  So I picked up a used Garmin 405 for cheap on Craigslist (everybody hates the touch sensitive bezel).  I've been wearing both watches for my last three runs and I've discovered some cool things along the way.

1.  You can have two GPS watches reading from the same ANT+ heart rate strap (Timex) at the same time.  So far both watches are reading dead on for the same peaks and averages for heart rate.
2.  The distance reported by both watches are closer than I would have thought based on reviews I have read.  This could be due to the latest firmware updates.
Garmin 405 sw:2.70 gps:2.10
Timex Global Trainer sw version:2.94
Distances recorded on my last 3 runs:
2.39 Garmin 405
2.35 Timex Global Trainer
*5.45 Garmin 405 *I might have paused the watch for bathroom break, not sure
*5.64 Timex Global Trainer
4.33 Garmin 405
4.28 Timex Global Trainer
3.  Whatever algorithm the Timex uses for calorie consumption gives me WAY more calories than the 405.  Now, I know the 405 uses only a very basic speed/distance/weight based formula to calculate calories consumption, whereas the 405CX uses the Firstbeat Algorithm (1st generation of their heart rate based algorithm).  The Timex Global Trainer has a rather advanced activity setup screen that allows you configure things like activity level, type, gear weight, and power output.  It then uses this data combined with your user profile and heart rate data to calculate calories consumed.  I'm not going to get into the debate about heart rate and what part it may or may not play in calorie consumption here, but I figured this data would be helpful to someone who is trying to compare devices.  The Timex Global Trainer doesn't support New Leaf Test data profiles, which the 405 does.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about that is probably a good thing.

I few more thoughts on the New Balance Minimus Trail MT10.  I still need more time in them before I can write a full review, but so far everything is going well.  I wore a pair of Injinji socks with them today.  I also put a bit of Body Glide on my right heel and the edges of my big toes.  I haven't developed any new blisters, so I think break-in is going well.  I'll have a better feel after my tempo run on Thursday.  It was nice to really dig in with them on my speed work today.  They offer great feel and feedback for faster runs with minimal ground contact times.

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