So my day started at 5am, when i woke up to order my new iPhone 4S. Now I have to wait another week to get it. But that is off-topic. Really, the day started at 6am, when I entered LifeTime to have my CardioPoint Assessment conducted by Meghan. I hadn't done it since June so I wanted to see the progress I made in my overall fitness since then.
The CardioPoint is designed to develop a profile of how well your body responds to exercise, with the goal of helping you train your body to burn fat faster thereby working more efficiently. The more efficient the body is, the more calories (energy) are burned from fat. Otherwise, it burns more carbohydrates (like when you are working out to the point where you are gasping for breath and your muscles are burning).
The results of the test helps you to determine your 'heart rate training zones'. When you train, you want to keep yourself within zones 2 & 3 for your long runs so that you train your body to find its fuel from fat and to work more efficiently. Training in these zones improve your athletic performance and builds your 'training base' from which you strengthen your heart muscle, improve your ability to exercise at higher intensities with less effort, and ultimately improve your Anaerobic Threshold. You are also working to improve your body's ability to utilize the oxygen you breathe in so that your muscles can operate for longer periods of time while reducing the buildup of Lactic Acid (what makes your muscles burn).
The test is conducted on a treadmill where you walk or run (I ran) at a consistent rate of speed (5 mph) for 20 minutes or so, while being hooked up to a computer and oxygen system (you wear a mask that only allows you to breathe through your mouth, taking in the oxygen supplied by the machine). The machine reads the information from the treadmill and your heart rate monitor, and then measures your performance. During the test, at different intervals, the incline is increased so that they can monitor your performance as your level of effort increases.
I had a very good test today! My zones all moved up (a good thing), so that my most effective heart rate for burning fat went from 146 to 152bpm. My Anaerobic Threshold went from 159 to 171! And my Peak VO2 went from 33.1 way up to 40.8 (this is the Volume of Oxygen my body absorbs per minute)! All of these numbers indicate that my fitness level from early June to today has significantly improved! Yay!
Another good indicator was how quickly my body recovered from exercise. In June, after exercising, my heart rate went from 163bpm to 154bpm in 1 minute. This time, my heart rate went from 168bpm to 149bpm in that same amount of time! As the heart gets stronger, it can recover faster from exercise because it pumps more blood to your body each beat with less effort. So my heart is getting stronger!
So, now my training computer (sport watch) has been updated with all this new information in order to make my training runs more effective and provide better reporting of my level of effort during/after each run. This is important to me as I continue to train for the Half Marathon. I do not want to overtrain or undertrain, and I want to make sure I am working at the right intensity level from week to week.
After my Assessment (where I ran almost 1 mile), I had to do my Long Slow Run of 6.5 miles (because this weekend is so jammed pack with activities I would not have time to do it on Saturday or Sunday). So I just ran through the neighborhood outside the club. I put in 6.6 miles, wearing my new RS800CX watch. What a good run today! I kept a decent 10:45 average pace (burned over 1300 calories) and I felt pretty strong and in control the entire time. So if I include the assessment run distance, I ran almost 8 miles today!
Note: This new watch is awesome! Not only did it track my calorie burn, min/max/avg heart rate, distance, pacing, cadence, etc per lap, it even kept a log of the altitude throughout the run so I know how many feet I 'climbed' during the run. It also recorded the temperature during the run! And the report I get when I download the exercise info to my PC gives me the run 'timeline' so I can see where all the readings were anywhere along the timeline. Wow!
Anyway, when I finished, I went back into the club to do some good foam rolling and take a shower. My trainer was a little irked with me because she would have preferred I took it a lot slower today (i.e. Long SLOW run) at a 12:00 pace. She doesn't want me to overdo things and get injured. But it just seemed 'right' today -- like I was in the zone! And the new surroundings made the run more interesting too.
So now I have two days rest which I will relish. And the whole thing starts over again with strength training on Monday!