Saturday, May 27, 2017

Training & 935 & Vi Update

I've been running the last few weeks, but way shorter workouts at a slower pace than I trained for the marathon. It doesn't really feel like training most of the time.

I've been sticking to the trails for most of my runs to try to build up my endurance on trails for training for the Asheville Marathon even though that training cycle won't start until late this year. I have doubts that I'll be able to effectively train to beat the timer at the AM, but I want to try at least.

This past week, I started in on week 7 of 10k training and started adding interval work to my schedule. I ran 10 intervals of 1 minute at high intensity (basically run fast) with a 2 minute recovery. I decided to do that on the road instead of trail so I could focus on running fast and not have to worry so much about tripping. I was really busy this week and didn't have time to drive to a paved closed running trail. I considered the treadmill, but short, intense intervals are not well suited for the treadmill unless you already know how fast you need to run to reach a high level of effort.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my run minutes were in the neighborhood of 8 minute/mile pace. Some faster, some slower, since the road I chose to run back and forth on has a slight elevation, so some intervals were slightly downhill and others slightly uphill.

It was a tough workout for me, but highly satisfying.

Then on Friday I got to run 7 miles of the Pinhoti trail with some decent elevation to it. It was a great training trail and I really wish I could run there all the time! I had so much fun running the downhill, but was appreciative of the training I got going uphill as well.

I've had my new toys about a month now.

Garmin 935xt updated impressions

The Garmin Forerunner 935xt is pretty much my constant companion now. I wear it almost 24/7. It gave me decent feedback about how much I'm moving when I sleep. Continuous HR monitoring let me see my resting heart rate is in the mid-50s instead of the mid-60s like I thought previously.

The battery life of the 935 is pretty good for what I'm doing now. I only have to charge it every 7 days or so, but once I start running more, I'm sure I'll have to charge it more often.

The biggest drawback of the 935 for me is the onboard HRM doesn't handle abrupt changes in HR very well. So doing short intervals of high intensity for a minute doesn't show an accurate HR during the interval. So it's hard to measure HR vs perceived effort during the run. To fix this, I will use my chest HR-Run strap during interval workouts.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my decision to upgrade from the 630. I really thought I would miss the touch screen, but I find that's not really an issue and it's kinda nice to be able to wipe the sweat and dirt off the watch face without worrying about changing the data on the screen.

LifeBeam Vi impressions

Quite frankly, I'm not impressed so far. Vi doesn't talk very much. The first run I did with her, she was pretty chatty, but subsequent runs have been quiet. It's hard to get her attention for a command. You're supposed to be able to tap the right ear bud, but it's so hit or miss and then she can't understand me most of the time and then I'm back trying to get her attention to listen. So I end up just listening to my podcasts or music like it's any other set of really expensive Bluetooth earbuds.

So yesterday, Vi got an update for her software. The update promised better mic and voice recognition. I was excited and took her on my run with me. Things went great for about 1/4 mile. I was able to touch the right earbud to get her attention and get her to tell me my heart rate. Then she stopped responding. The Android app had crashed. Oh joy. I got her going again and she said we were ready to run and then wouldn't respond again. I decided to stop messing with her because at least my podcast (Embrace Running's Vancouver Marathon recap and Mighty Blue on the Appalachian Trail episode #20) were at least playing correctly and I didn't want to make Vi mad enough not to play those at all.

There's an Android app update promised in the next week or two, so I might just wait until that's available before trying again.