12 February 2014

Wednesday Wrap Up

"There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. 
Don't allow yourself to become one of them." 
-Ralph Marston

Headed out today for my first training run on trails since my last one 12 days ago. As I started out for a 2-ish hour run today, I encountered ice for the first two miles or so. At first I questioned whether or not it was prudent to continue on. I had my screwed shoes on, but that doesn't seem to help much on sheer ice. I just slowed down and tried to find as good of footing on the side of the trail as possible. 

I figured that my chances of getting my heart rate up to my MAF zone (136-141) may be difficult. If you're not familiar with the Maffetone Method of low HR training, MAF stands for Maximum Aerobic Function. My two long runs and bike trainer sessions each week are done in this low HR zone to develop a better aerobic base. I was afraid that this run, while keeping me in the fat burning zone, wouldn't keep my HR up near the top of this range as I'd hoped. 

What I found was that the ice gave way to muddier & drier sections of trail that gave way to packed snow. I was glad that I stuck with the run I had planned as it ended up feeling like I got a fairly normal intensity workout over more than half of the run. The snow provided the difficulty needed to monitor my intensity and keep my HR within the zone. You never know what you're gonna get when you head out on the trails, so it's worth keeping at it a little while before giving up because of less-than-ideal conditions. No workout is a waste, some just may not yield as high of dividends than others. You just take 'em as they come and make the most of it. 

One of the better sections of trail
Oh deer
The bottom of a muddy 90-second climb
It's hard to see my splits looking pathetic in these conditions. It's hard not have to hold back over slick spots to avoid injuring myself. I am so anxious to get out on dry trails and get some good turnover and not have to expend more energy to propel forward or keep myself upright. I keep reminding myself that if the intensity is there, it's doing me good, even if it takes me longer to cover the distance than it would in June. But with Salida a little more than four weeks away, it does get me nervous when I can't seem to find a "proper" trail to run on. Here's hoping that the 40's - 50's over the next 10 days can clear and dry out the trails. For now, screws and spikes are still in order.

I've been meaning to mention a product that I've been using for the past few months that has made a HUGE difference in how I feel during and after a run. Chafing is the worst thing that I deal with in running -- mainly where my sport bra and hydration pack rub. I've tried Vaseline, Body Glide, Bag Balm for underarms and inner thighs, but they don't work for the bra areas. I started using large band-aids -- which do work -- but can slip around once they get soaked from sweat. 

I asked my friend Meghan what she uses to combat this problem and she pointed me towards this thin, self-adhesive medical tape, which I found on Amazon:
I put a couple of strips in the places where my sports bra or pack rubs and voila, no more painful chafing. No more yelping in the shower afterwards when water hits the chaffed areas. It's been a God-send, so I thought I'd pass that little tidbit along. 

This is funny. Not that I'll ever have to do this to anyone. Enjoy!

Happy Trails,



  1. Hm, interesting concept, Shelby, low HR training. How is it working out for you so far? Thanks for the tip on the tape, I've had some awful chafing this winter.

    1. Lori, I'll have a good idea of how the low HR training is working as I get into the ultra season. The idea behind it is that endurance runners use their aerobic system primarily, we need to train this system by doing long runs at the top of our aerobic range. People who have used it have improved their pace significantly as they develop better aerobic fitness and are able to run faster at the same low heart rate. Since you run at a conversational pace, you probably are already running in your zone or close to it. It feels pretty easy when you're working aerobically.

  2. As per low HR training....I feel after some time getting comfortable with running this way that you do a max HR test to fine tune your training. Formulas are great for starting out, but everyone is different.
    For instance, Deb and I are about the same age and back in 2004 when we started on this low HR journey, she struggled more than I did with it. She couldn't run at all, while I was running along happy as a clam. (are clams happy?). We both did a max HR test and found that although I was around 185 and fell closer to the Maffetone formula, she was 206. Once adjusted, we had her running <70% MHR and was a happy runner and we were running side by side, but our HR's were 20 beats different. I can send you the max HR test I use that was given to me by a former Olympic cyclist, now coach.
    See you at Salida!

    1. Steve, I'd love that test as the highest HR I've ever recorded is 170. hmmm....