My Mantra Is Working

Believe. That is my mantra. I chose it because frankly I have trouble sometimes believing that I am enough. That I have the ability, that I am able to swim, cycle, and run faster. Oh and many more remains on the list, but for now I am sticking to triathlon. My workouts the past week have given my more confidence. Reasons to Believe. Now, being the detail junky I am, I have the data to back up that I am improving.

This morning I had a follow up cardio point test that measures my exercise metabolic rate. My heart rate zones are measured as to where my aerobic base is, by anaerobic threshold, and my VO2 max. Since I started working with my trainer July 1st, I have can tell I am improving. The best sign is that I don’t feel as spent when I am at certain heart rate levels. Today I put on the funny green mask that has a tube to breath in to and ran on a treadmill while she kept increasing the incline. It took about 13 minutes, and I was very happy to hit the cool down phase. My last test was June 12 and I wrote about it then. Click the date to see how that went. Since July 1st I have been training to accomplish two things: run slow to improve my aerobic base and run fast to improve my anaerobic threshold. The data confirms – I have done both. I still have improvement to make. I think we all have room for improvement somewhere until we die. But I was so happy to see how far I have come in such a short time.

First my aerobic base. I have been running my easy runs with the goal of staying in my zone 2. That was determined in June to be a heart rate range of  101 to 121. As I have lamented here, it was difficult to do. Many times I had to walk to keep my heart rate low. Most runs, if not all, I focused on keeping my heart rate under 130. I would go above 121 so quickly, I was not going to be running much. I also was not burning as much fat as I should. I was burning more carbs. In June my zone 2 showed about 40% to 36% of the calories I burned was in fat, the rest in carbs. Today I have moved my zone 2 up to a heart rate range of 108 to 133 and I burn 48% to 33% of my calories in fat. This is a big improvement for me. And I proved it this evening – I ran 6 miles on the treadmill and ran the entire time keeping my average heart rate at 134 – just one beat above my zone 2. I know I have more “easy” running to do to get faster going “easy”. Seeing the agony of running slow is helping me, made it all the more encouraging.

Now my anaerobic threshold. This is the point where your body just about stops burning fat and now only burns carbs. In June that was at a heart rate of 152 for me. Today – 158. My zone 4 went from a range of 153 to 162 now up to a range of 159 to 168. On Tuesday when my heart rate hit 162 I thought I as peaking. According to my June results I was. Based on my results today – that is where I should be trying to hold my speed and tempo workouts. All this improvement in just six weeks. Wow.  Finally my peak VO2 – the volume of oxygen consumed by my cells. The higher the peak rate it, the more efficient my body is at burning fat. In June it was at 46, this morning it was at 52. I am burning more fat! This is important because the more fat I can burn at higher intensities, the easier my workouts should feel.

I know faith is defined as believing in things unseen. Faith is the key to Believe. But I can not deny that having a few statistics to back me up helps. It gives me greater faith to believe I am able. I was created to be enough as I am. Unfortunately life experiences sometimes chip away at our belief that that is true. By drowning out the negative influences, surrounding myself with people of positive influences, and yes Believing I am able – I am growing. And as long as I have breath, there will be room to grow. That is something to Believe in.

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