It took an extra week but I've now finished Phase 1 of the Foundation program and I've been pleased with the improvements in my running.

A friend asked me if I thought I was running faster now than before I had my run of injuries and I'm not sure that I am (yet) but I definitely feel stronger and more confident with my running.

1 mile test

  5th August    3rd November
Time:   8:11    7:44
Average Heart Rate: 151    149
Avg Stride Length: 1.1metres    1.15metres
Cadence (average):    178    182
Vertical oscillation: 10.34    9.77
Ground Contact: 238    219

20 Minute Test

  8th August    7th November
Distance:   3.44 km    3.81 km
Average Heart Rate: 149    154
Avg Stride Length: 0.98 metres    1.06 metres
Cadence (average):    174    180
Vertical oscillation: 10.59    9.9
Ground Contact: 231    238

I've put a lot of effort into my cadence by running with a metronome for the past 6 months which has paid off.  

I have  a Garmin which measures a few things other than heart rate and time so included them above because they showed a difference.  Still not sure if the change in those metrics is positive.  I assume the decrease in vertical oscillation is a good thing but I increased my ground contact time on my latest 20 minute test so not really sure what that means.  If anyone has any insights then I'd love to them.

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Comment by Jacob Cossairt on November 13, 2014 at 10:54am

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't congratulate Jill on the improvements while hijacking her post.

Congrats Jill! :-)

Comment by Jacob Cossairt on November 13, 2014 at 10:53am

Thanks for the response Eric, that makes sense.  Is there a breaking point where a high AVG HR is no longer a good thing?  

For example, in the 2 races that I ran earlier in the year, my AVG HR was 173 (half-marathon in January) and 166 (15K in April).  I'm still in the newbie phase, so both races were run/walked in 30 sec on / 30 sec off interval.

I was actively trying to keep my HR down in the 15K; I would take an extra walking break when my HR got into the 170's.  During the earlier half-marathon, my HR stayed in 170-190 range in the last half of the half-marathon, ultimately hitting 198 at the finish line.  I was under the impression that a high HR was a sign of physical distress, and thus seemed like a good thing to avoid.

Comment by Eric Orton on November 13, 2014 at 8:27am

Good Question Jacob.  The long term goal is to increase your threshold (ability to work aerobically with good endurance) and potential, so this can be simply measured by increasing your AVG HR for both tests. And also DECREASE the difference between your avg and max HR during the tests.

For example, if an athlete has a large range difference between AVG and MAX HR, this shows poor strength and endurance, and the inability to work hard for a sustained period of time.

Thru training I look to have this AVG increase and close the gap between AVG and MAX.

Comment by Jacob Cossairt on November 12, 2014 at 7:51pm

Hi Eric, I'm curious why the elevated AVG HR is a good thing.

Comment by Jill Brennan on November 11, 2014 at 6:34pm

Thans Eric and Robert for the kind words and encouragement.  

I'm enjoying the process and seeing how my body reacts.  I should also have added that doing the strength exercises, which I've been doing for 11 months, has been a crucial part of being able to get through Phase 1 without injuries and to feeling more confident about running as well as for the improvements in performance.

Comment by Robert Burpee on November 10, 2014 at 2:32pm
Congratulations on your improvement & discipline of completing phase 1. On to phase 2, remember to enjoy your journey.
Comment by Eric Orton on November 10, 2014 at 10:28am

Your one mile time improvement was amazing and just as important, your elevated your AVG HR on your 20 min test - this is key.

Way to go and let Phase 2 begin!!

Thanks for sharing.

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