Friday, February 20, 2009

Heart of the matter


I ran a half mile calibration run this morning and was disappointed to see that my Garmin 50 is still off in recording actual distance. I set the unit back to neutral (no compensation) since that gave me a constant variance that I can correct when recording into MapMyRun. The Garmin Connect site doesn't allow the user to modify uploaded data so my distances (and therefore speed and pace times) will continue to be under reported by about 3%.

I wasn't too energized during this short run, probably because I knew it would be over quickly. I want to do an extended run in the next few days but it didn't seem like the right time to try that. Instead I decided to train on the elliptical machine. I find that to be a good workout but I never feel like it's an equivalent effort to running. As an experiment I used the Garmin to see how it tracked distance and to monitor my pulse rate since the elliptical's readings are practically random. I started out at low resistance and after a minute or so I discovered that the Garmin was not recording distance at all. I think that's because the foot pod relies on foot strikes and the elliptical does not mimic the impact of running. The HRM was working fine and I watched the numbers increase as I added levels of resistance.

The interesting thing was that when I reached my normal level of resistance (5) my pulse rate was almost 15% lower than my average pulse rate when I'm running. It wasn't until I increased to level 10 that I came within a few points of my running pulse rate. I stayed at that level for a while and was really sweating by the time I reached the 40-minute mark. According to the display I was producing 102 watts of energy on the elliptical compared to the 58-62 watts I'm used to seeing when I use the machine at level 5.

So, knowing this, I will double my usual resistance to maintain the level of conditioning that I follow during my weekday runs. I used to think of the elliptical was my easy workout and a break from my intense daily runs. Going forward it will be a different form of hard work. I welcome the challenge!

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