Today I Outdumbed Myself

Objectively, I know I’m a smart man. I’ve got a few degrees. I’ve got those things you need on paper to say, “Hey, I’m a smart man.” But sometimes I do some really dumb things.

Today was one of those days.

“But how, Mr. [excuse me, that’s Dr.] Smart Man, did you outdumb yourself?” you may ask.

Well, I tried to idiot-proof my workout. And then it backfired gloriously.

This all starts when I get the running watch. Being the smart man that I am, I decided that having my workouts guided by heart rate would be an objective way to prevent me from harming myself as easily. Seems pretty logical. When I go by heart rate, my workouts are significantly paired back as opposed to running for distance, time, or pace.

So far so good.

After surviving the 10K, I tentatively set my sights on a new goal: a sub-25 5K. Being the smart man that I am, I did some math. The math told me that I needed to run an 8-minute pace to pull this off.

Sounds reasonable. Before I intentionally was hamstringing myself with a 10-minute pace to improve distance, I was naturally getting close to 8 than I should have (for reference, when I thought I was running a 10-minute, slow pace, I was actually running a low 9). But because I’ve been intentionally going slow the past few months, I knew I needed to ramp up my pace methodically. So I set up a workout that would put me at race pace and stop me when my heart rate got too high, then I walk ’til my heart rate’s manageable, and repeat for 5 cycles. It’s not an expert-backed plan, but being a smart man, I could look at it logically and be sure it passed the sniff test.

It smelled ok, but I wanted to add some deodorant to the plan. When I’m supposed to be at race pace, I wanted to make sure I stayed there, so I set up the watch to notify me if I got outside my range (7:30-8:30 pace). Now the plan smelled like fresh-cut lilies. Love me some lilies.

I had the plan set in place after then 10K, but I wanted to recuperate before I gave it a go. Today was the day I gave it a test run.

And the smart man crashed and burned.

I spent 3 minutes walking as the prescribed warmup before the first cycle hit. I took off running at what I assumed would be about an 8-minute pace.

Nope. I was getting buzzes saying I was high in the 8’s. I kept going and go 9-something. I then started booking my pace. I felt like I was booking it. Either I’ve gone over the deep end or the watch wasn’t catching up on pace quickly enough. I burned out way too fast and didn’t even hit my heart rate goal before I had to abandon the plan. I ended up switching to a light heart rate workout and trying to run the 8-minute pace there. Except I couldn’t see my pace because it was showing me different information.

Basically, today was a wash. I wanted to have the workout set up so that I could get a feel for 8-minute miles like I was getting a feel for 10-minute miles before. Except I couldn’t actually tell how fast I was running.

But all is not lost. Again, I’m a smart man. I can figure this out.

I’ve got a couple of options. I think either nixing the warm up or actually jogging it may mitigate the early pace issues. I also need to make sure I have a watch screen that is always dedicated to pace. I don’t have that now because I wasn’t concerned with pace before. And the last alternative is to turn off the workouts and go manual by watching my pace on the watch face, having my watch alert me every quarter mile so I can be sure I’m actually running my pace, and setting up a high heart rate alert that keeps me from overexerting myself and just running what I would have with the self-prescribed workout.

I’m a smart man, this can’t possibly go wrong (please ignore my history of running injuries and today’s little snafu).

On the bright side, I had a good post-run meal (and an obligatory salad), and I’ve got some ice cream in the fridge calling my name. Well, not literally. I don’t need to get put away for hearing voices, especially if all the voices are telling me to do is eat some ice cream.

Until next time, sports fans.



6 thoughts on “Today I Outdumbed Myself”

  1. Having recently targeted a paced run, my suggestions include:
    1. Speedwork – Similar to what you’re doing, judge by distance. Frequently I do 6x400m – so 400M @ race pace or faster, recover for 2 min. You can up the reps as you get stronger, as well as shorten the recovery time. We also did a different type of track workout – 200m @ 1 mile pace…walk just long enough to get your heart rate down, then 400m @ 5K pace, recover again..then repeat. I got through 6 and it was enough to tire me, but now wear me out completely. Also tracks are perfect for this so you don’t need to measure your distance on the watch
    2. Hill repeats. Yes they are insufferable but they really make you faster. Try for an incline maybe 1/4mi long, and try to building your speed with each rep. 6 is a good place to start.

    I recommend a 1 mile warm up & cool down for either option.
    Happy sprinting! I can’t wait to hear how it goes : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always love when people say mile warmup like that’s easy or something. You crazy marathoners. Thanks though. I’ve been thinking I need to get on a track at some point (though figuring out what track I have access to will be interesting). I miss being able to run on such a cushioned surface.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That makes sense. I have trauma related to distance running so I may feign deafness when people mention jogging.


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