Entries in Assessments (6)


CardioPoint and my LSR meant 3.5 hours at LifeTime!

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!


Time to check my progress

I was supposed to do Strength Training on Wednesday but I stayed up way too late on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  So I decided it was better to get some sleep and not to go work out with only 3 hours of sleep.  I will pay for that decision next Monday when the trainer will kick my butt on the circuit!

Assessment Time

Tomorrow is a re-evaluation of my cardio heart zones (the first one was back in early June).  This test will assess how efficient my body is at processing oxygen and distributing it to my muscles under stress.  Tehy put a breathing mask over my face so I take in oxygen from the system and then breathe out into the mask so that the system can measure the amount of oxygen going into my lungs and how much comes back out.  In this way, it can see how much oxygen gets absorbed by my lungs and theoretically transferred to my blood cells.

This is all happening while I am jogging on a Treadmill at a constant pace, with the incline increasing over a 20-25 minute period of the test.  The whole thing is being monitored by a computer which is also taking the readings from my heart rate monitor in real-time.  So it is getting all kinds of data: my heart rate across the entire test, my oxygen intake/outtake, and the pace and incline of the treadmill.

After the test is finished, I get a report of how well my body was performing at each stage, how well my heart was working, and how effectively oxygen was being distributed.  I can then use the results to reset my sports watch to my five heart sports zones, identify my Vo2Max value, and determine the most efficient fat burning heart rate for me.  All of which will help me to be more effective in my training runs as I prepare for the Disney Half Marathon.  Yay!

Long Slow Run

After my test and evaluation meeting with Meghan, I will grab a protein shake and relax a bit before starting off on my LSR for the week -- 6.5 miles.  Usually, I do my LSR on Saturday, but this week is going to be so jam packed with activity, including a Diabetes check with my doctor, that I won't have time to do any running whatsoever.  (And I cannot do any exercise prior to my Diabetes check since it involves bloodwork).  So Friday it will be.

I haven't decided if I am going to run on a treadmill at the club, since I will already be there, or if I am going to find a nearby bike path and run it outside.  If the weather is nice and the sun is out, the bike path will likely win out.  And if I can make the loop end at LifeTime, I can at least shower and everything right after the 'post-run' stretch and foam rolling.

After my run, I need to jump in my car and drive 3.5 hours to pick up my daughter and bring her and her stuff back home.  She is moving to San Diego so we have to help her get everything packed and shipped on Saturday, and then put her on a plane on Sunday morning.  I am very excited for her (and very sad at the same time).  But I know this is going to be an awesome experience for her and that is what is important.

Guess what I will be thinking about during my run....  :)

New Watch arrives!

Polar RS800CX RUN Training Computer with S3+ FootPodMy new (and free) Polar RS800CX RUN training computer arrived yesterday!  Wow!  It is so cool looking!  It is also a bit large compared to my previous watches, but boy it does everything!  I can even program it from my PC, especially my Strider interval training plan!  The new, sleek footpod can report inclination and automatically turns itself on when the watch senses it.

This is going to be a game changer for me!  I really like the way it works, the screen is pretty easy to read (for an oldtimer like me), and it even has an altimeter and thermometer.  I cannot wait to run with it!  Now my only question is if I can download all the data I have accumulated on and download it into the Pro Trainer5 software that came with the watch.  Then I can do some really awesome analysis and reporting over the past 7 months.

Thanks, Polar, for sending me such an awesome gift!