Thursday, September 22, 2011

New target heart rate guidelines

Do you measure your heart rate while running or exercising? My heart rate is one way I can track my training, but it's not a must have when I'm casually exercising. Before today, women were held to the same heart rate standard as men are. We can say that's how it is for women in general - not a whole lot of studies are done specifically for women so we use data based on men's results. Now it seems as though we have a new standard for target heart rates for women based on this article from USA Today.

The old formula was subtract your age from 220. This means as a 30 yr old my target heart rate based on this formula is 190. It's the target I aimed for when training for the half marathon, and it admittedly was pushing me a little too hard sometimes. I had a hard time maintaining that for an extended period of time.

The new formula is take 88% of your age and subtract it from 206. This makes my new target heart rate 180. 10 beats per minute isn't a huge difference, but it does add up. I can deal with 180 and still feel like I'm getting a good work out.

Will this change the way you train? Of course I assume you're a woman when I ask that. Men, keep using the old formula. I think this will be in more use once heart rate monitors begin using the new standard, but you can program it to watch out for a user-determined range.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Foods that help you feel full

To make sure I didn't turn into a bloated version of myself after the half-marathon, I made sure to start taking high protein meals to work and avoid eating out as much as I used to. Some things that help me:
  • Special K High Protein Cereal with almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Turkey/ham sandwiches on wheat
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt or a single serving of cheese
  • Bananas (not high in protein, but still satisfying as a snack)
I feel better overall, have not regained any weight (in fact I think I lost a little), and saved money. Turns out I was on the right track. Yahoo has a good article listing foods to keep you full and which ones that you really ought to avoid. I love that avocados are on the list as good for you. They're yummy!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Running or walking on uneven surfaces

If you've done any significant training on a road, you probably noticed that your hips, back, and knees don't like it after a while. The problem isn't the running (unless you've increased your mileage too quickly). The real problem is the uneven level of the road itself. It seems flat, but roads are actually sloped just enough to allow for drainage when it rains. So long story short - unless you're running in the very middle of the road, which is a death wish, then you're running on an uneven surface.

I run/walk on the left side of the road, which allows me to see oncoming traffic (and leap out of the way if necessary). This causes my right leg to be slightly higher than the left. A handful of times doesn't mean much. Since I've been walking around the neighborhood exclusively for the past couple of weeks almost every day, I think it's beginning to cause some slight pain in my right knee. It's not runner's knee. I know running has a reputation for being hard on the knees, but it's always been my belief that if you train properly you can avoid that issue (assuming you don't have a previous knee injury).

What's the next step? I will try the greenway again, however I will be out of luck once the sun starts setting early. I'm not sure what I'll do then but I have a few more weeks before it gets really dark too early. If only my neighborhood had sidewalks...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My running holiday!

Okay, so I only technically ran once. I did, however, walk a lot and take the dog with me every time I headed out. Let's just say I'm out of shape but enjoyed the walks/jogs. The dog can go and go and go until he hits the wall and then collapses on the couch or floor and takes a nap. The weather has finally decided to cool down with the help of tropical storm Lee, so we've been enjoying the transition.

I'm learning I need to work on how to figure out dinner plus taking care of the dog. With the garden winding down, I have more time to focus on walking and running. I can certainly see why lots of people actually take it easy during the summer and try other workouts. We'll see how this works out as it gets darker sooner.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Running with a dog has a cool blurb about how owning a dog makes you fitter than an non-dog owner. I can definitely see it. I've been out walking a lot more with ours, and that's part of the reason why I realized I missed the physical activity. We went on a looooong walk yesterday, and he still had some energy to want to play! Right now he wants to play with the cats, and my tortoise shell is growling at him. Too funny!

Anyway, here's that article. We're going for a short run tonight, and we'll see how we both feel afterwards :)