Just thought I’d pop on and share a quick one with you today. The reason I’m keeping it brief is because I was a bit of an idiot (I know, I can’t believe it either), and so don’t particularly want to dwell on it.
With less than a week until the Silverstone Half, my complex and carefully thought out training plan was as follows:
“I’ll start tapering. But only when running stops being fun”.
On this particular day I’d decided on a cheeky mid-morning interval session on the treadmill, so after a gentle warm-up I fired up the machine* and started my run. I’ve never really blogged about the finer details of my interval sessions, but if I really dragged it out and applied a little artistic licence I reckon I could make it pretty darn exciting. It’d be the blog equivalent of a car chase. One with extra ninjas and perhaps an angry bear. Instead I’ll give you the stripped down version: “Whooosh! I go fast for a bit. Then I slow down. Then I slow down a bit more. Then whooooooosh! I go fast for a bit, even faster than before. Then I sl…” well I think you get the idea. To put it in a slightly less sexified way, my current interval programme goes something like this:
10 minute warm-up
2000 metre run @ 12.4km/hr
300m recovery (jog/walk/jog)
400m run @ 12.4km/hr
400m run @ 13.2km/hr
300m run @ 14.5km/hr
200m run @ 15.2km/hr
5 minute cool-down (or fall-over)
So if you discount the warm-up and cool-down it works out at a nice even 5k. I pretty much made it up as I went along so it might not count as “proper” interval training in the purest sense of the word, but it works for me so that’s okay. I’d also like to point out that a far more experienced runner than me used that treadmill earlier this week and reckons it needs calibrating as it’s considerably faster than the readout suggests. Translation: I’m marginally less sloth-like than I think.
The thing I wanted to talk about from this particular session came during the first recovery bit. I came hurtling (sort of) out of the run phase and after a little bit of a jog I slowed it right down to a brisk walk. My max heart rate is 181 or thereabouts, and as I glanced down at the LED readout on the treadmill’s StarTrektheNextGeneration-esque dashboard I saw that it was currently banging away at 169, which is pretty much where I’d expect it to be after a good few minutes of hard effort**. My HR normally drops to around 120 during the recovery period, at which point I start running again and hoof it back up into the cardiac stratosphere***. But after a good 20 seconds or so of walking I looked down again and saw that it now read 170.
I quickly realised that things weren’t right at all, and that medically speaking the best course of action would be to distract myself by looking at the TV instead of my heart rate. However, someone was interviewing Jedward and I had visions of them trying to explain their views on the Syrian crisis through the medium of interpretative dance, so I decided to take my chances with heart failure after all. Besides, I’d been walking for a while, it would have settled down by now.
(That last bit wasn’t directing you to a footnote. It was me swearily filling my shorts****)
I glanced back up to see that one of them (not sure if it was Jed or Ward) had crossed his arms and was doing some sort of hippy-hop hand gesture while pouting at the camera. Maybe he’d been asked to sum up his thoughts on the current proposals for NHS reform or to name his favourite viking.
Okay, okay, the important thing was not to panic. Panicking would only make things worse. Just because my heart rate was still climbing to unprecedented levels even though I’d slowed down to a walk.
By the time it reached 190 I was finally starting to wonder why it hadn’t occurred to me to stop walking and at least go and have a sit down next to someone who knew how to phone an ambulance and pass me the defibrillator.
But still I kept going, hoping I’d be able to simply “man up” and walk off my impending cardiac arrest. I was burying my head firmly in the sand, because if I carried on doing normal stuff, then everything would be fine, right? Hmmm…
Fast forward about thirty minutes, and as I showered I mused about how I’d learned an important lesson about life that day.
What I learned was this…
On a Life Fitness 95Ti treadmill, the heart rate is on the right, and the calories are on the left.
“D’oh” doesn’t even begin to cover it. So I’d made the simple mistake of thinking that the treadmill was signalling my imminent demise, when in fact it was helpfully pointing out that I’d burned off two jaffa cakes and a handful of quavers. Surely I’m not the first one to fall for that.