How do you listen to your body if you don’t know what you’re listening for?!!?

hmm. looks like maybe I actually am getting a little wiser in my old age. maybe. Oh, and brace yourselves, I may actually discuss pace. A very little bit. What?!?! But I never; I know!

First off, I turned 30 last week. About 8 days ago. In addition to an adventuresome beach camping trip, I got some pretty sweet toys: the ultimate direction Jenny hydration pack, a pair of brooks transcend, and in an absolute bit of the universe looking out for me, a GARMIN 910 XT!

The Garmin, I’ve been eyeing it for a long time, maybe about a year. But $400 is just too much, sorry. Especially when I already have a perfectly functional, albeit pretty old, 305. But then, as I was heading home to kick off birthday weekend, a post popped up on my run club’s facebook saying one of our sponsors was offering “an amazing one time only deal” on pretty much all of the Gamin Forerunner family– email Barry for details. And I thought, no way it will be a big enough discount for me to actually get one. But I will email him, and if it comes back under $XXX, then, you know what, it’s my birthday!

$5 less than my max. A price so low they are not legally allowed to publish it per their sales agreements. So now I have a lovely new 910XT, with optional foot pod and heart rate monitor.

Which brings me to the title of this post…

I used the Garmin at the gym last night. Turns out their treadmills are even more inaccurately calibrated than one would expect.

The last few weeks, as I’ve moved into a new phase of knee-hab, I’ve been amazed at how much cardiovascular fitness I seemed to have lost.

Well! Turns out, I’d been running paces that were about 30-60 sec faster per mile than I thought they were!!!

See, Nike+ and my Jawbone UP24 consistently gave me credit for longer distances and faster paces than the treadmill. But they also generally overshot the paces from the Forerunner 305 on outdoor runs by at least a little bit, and for better or worse I put the most stock in the Garmin info.  I just assumed that the treadmill was on par with Garmin, and Nike and Jawbone were a little generous to cater to the mass fitness consumer base — sort of like vanity sizing at some clothing stores. I mean not so generous as to be useless. But still, a little generous.

NOPE. I did two treadmill runs last night, with a little break in between. The first was about 20 minutes to get a feel for different functions on the 910, and see if the heart rate monitor and foot pod were connected and working.  Then I did about 30 minutes of what would be my intervals for an easy recovery run.  I set the treadmill to what I thought was a 10 minute mile.  NOPE.

For 31 minutes, which should have been a pretty easy 3.0 miles I was doing a bit from kneehab where, similar to speed work, I’d run easy for 4 minutes, and even easier for 1 minute. This is sort of like Galloway’s approach to rehab, and also keeps things adapted to the start/stop dynamics of speedwork as I work my way back up to a knee that can go so fast. Averaging the paces for the splits 31 minutes should have been about 2.9 miles.

The treadmill said 2.75, the Garmin said 3.12, Nike said 3.24, and UP24 said 3.26.  Now, based on this, maybe I would still normally be inclined to err towards the distance from the treadmill. But for better or for worse, in heat and cold, direct sunlight or rain, with hangovers, or lack of sleep or pms or whatever, I have been able to consistently comfortably run  10 min per mile pace, atleast so far as cardiovascular fitness goes. For a 10 minute per mile pace, cardiovascularly, I should be in the 125-140 BPM zone, even on a very rough day. My average BPM for this 30 minutes was 167.

167!!! and my cadence was right at 92, with a low of 88 and a high of 96. This, my friends, is not 10 minute  mile data.

No wonder I felt like I was running faster than a 10 minute mile — I WAS!

And I was not supposed to be! not yet, at least.

And my thought today when I was discussing it with a friend was you know, see, we just need to listen to our bodies.

But how do you do that if you don’t know what to listen for? If I wasn’t already familiar with how I normally respond to different circumstances, how would  I know to suspect that the treadmill’s 6.0 mph was probably closer to 6.3-6.6?

uh, yeah. 30 sec per mile is a pretty significant difference at any skill level.  And I wasn’t supposed to be moving back into the 9s until, well, today.

But it’s good to know my cardiovascular fitness had not deteriorated nearly as much as I thought it had.

And you know, also good that my cadence was pretty spot on. I’d been concerned about that, too.

I was starting to give up on the idea that LA Marathon would be anything more than a fun run, but now, maybe there is still hope for coming in pretty close to a PR, or at least a CR.  Don’t worry, I remain realistic.

But we shall see.

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