Sometimes, in hindsight, we end up looking pretty smart.
I decided a few weeks ago to start running using my heart rate as my guide rather than my pace.
In hindsight, deciding to slow down my running speed smack dab in the middle of yet another Canadian winter was a pretty smart idea.
I would have had to slow my pace anyway. Depending on the day, the damn streets are covered in snow, ice, slush or, lately, all three. For the past few weeks I couldn't have sprinted even if I had wanted to. It's just too treacherous to do anything but run at a steady, sure-footed pace, always scanning for icy patches and keeping away from the painted lines on the road.
Deciding to slow down in May, when the air is warm, the birds are singing and I'm finally running in shorts again would have been pretty tough. I'm hoping by May that I'll be back to running at my usual pace again...with a lower heart rate.
These days, I head out on cold February mornings, take one look at the slippery streets, and have no problem convincing myself to just settle into an easy pace and run for an hour or more.
Two Saturday's ago I ran 13k easily, without stopping, at a very comfortable pace.
This past Saturday, I did the exact same thing. I changed my route up a bit but, otherwise, it looked pretty much the same. My heart rate stayed fairly steady in the zone that I've been trying to keep it in. My energy held up the entire time. My legs didn't complain.
The strangest pattern I've noticed to date is that my pace goes up and down by about 1 minute per kilometre even while my heart rate holds steady.
Guess we'll have to wait until the snow melts and the roads are clear before we can know whether the unsteady terrain has anything to do with the fluctuations.
In the meantime, I'm liking my new running routine. I'm enjoying the fact that I can run for 90 minutes, eat, shower and feel like I could do it all over again.
Also, even though I don't think this has much to do with heart rate, I just want to mention that I woke up on Saturday morning with a blood sugar of 4.4. I ate two dates and two clementines. I ran for 90ish minutes and was 4.4 at the end. I love runs like that.