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So, I've been running between .85 miles and 1 mile most days for the last week and a half.

Today was my first day running after taking a long weekend (three days) off from running (still did some walking). Anyway, today when I started running on my usual route, I got about a bit farther than I normally do before I had to walk and catch my breath for a while. It wasn't anymore than .06 mile extra, but it was noticable. The next section of running, I again added another .07 miles of running before I had to slow down to a walk. Then for about a quarter mile, I was doing more walking than running. But the last straightaway, once I'm on my street heading towards my house, it wasn't really measurable, because most days I start my final "sprint" a bit to early and end up walking before getting to my house. But today, I actually started running right before the turn onto my street, and I made it home. I tend to think there was an an extra .07 miles there that I was doing that I don't normally.

I'm sitting here, looking at google maps, measuring distances, and it looks like I ran about 63% of the time today. Which is a lot better than I have been doing. But then coming towards my house, looking at my stopwatch, I thought I was going to have a PR for this particular mile course. But then once I had stopped and done my cooldown, I realized that my glasses had been foggy and I had seen a digit wrong.

I got it in 11:11, which is sort of in the middle of my times since I've started running. Like it's about 10 seconds shy of my PR, but only about 20 seconds faster than my slowest run.

So I guess I'm sort of looking for some rationalization, and possibly just some assurance. It's definately good that I'm running farther at a time, and it's definately good that I'm starting to be shave time off my mile. But is it okay that the run that I felt was my fastest yet, was actually kind of average?

My other question. My parents are both distance cyclists, and they have heart rate monitors they use for spinning classes and other bicycle training. My dad uses his maybe once a week, and so he's agreed to let me use it to train. So I'm sort of looking for a crash course in heart rate monitors, not really how to use it, I know how it works, but I have no idea to apply the information that it gives me to help me train better.

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Since your times for that particular distance are all pretty close I'd say everything is fine despite it feeling like you went faster. IMO, HRM's are a gimmick to part us with more of our money. It's just another gadget to fool with, more weight to carry and another distraction. In my old school way of doing things, all you need is a decent pair of running shoes and a watch to keep time. Go out and run.

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You're kidding right?
HRMs are one of the best tool a runner can have. You can keep your heart rate at 80% or whatever you want, you can analyze your results on a big graph after your run, and even measure your distance if you have a food pod or gps.
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I agree with you on this one. When I ran my fastest races I wasn't using a HRM, Garmin or anything else. I don't buy or run with them anymore.
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You're kidding right?
HRMs are one of the best tool a runner can have. You can keep your heart rate at 80% or whatever you want, you can analyze your results on a big graph after your run, and even measure your distance if you have a food pod or gps.
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I think it's a gimmick too. Definitely not worth the money. I'm all for running based on feel alone. Rob said it... go out and run. Don't even time it. JC, I bet you can run a lot farther than you think you can. Try this: go to a nice park or running trail with nice scenery (even better if you've never been there before), leave the watch and HRM in the car, and just start moving. With no expectations and no idea of "well I got this far last time" or "I usually get tired around this point" you will be much more inclined to run your own run.
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You're kidding right?
HRMs are one of the best tool a runner can have. You can keep your heart rate at 80% or whatever you want, you can analyze your results on a big graph after your run, and even measure your distance if you have a food pod or gps.
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And what does all that get you? I analyze my results by how far and how fast I ran because in the end that's all that counts.
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Let me get this right, you've been running for a week and a half??


There's is a basic building block in endurance sports called "training effect". And the way it goes is it takes three weeks for any particular training you do to be built on enough to create an improvement. So any running you do today, you'll need to continually build on it for three more weeks before it is going to "benefit" you on any kind of improvement curve. Give yourself some slack in trying for PR's this soon out of the gate. Run for a month or two and then take ONE of your runs per week to really push the pace. There's a quantity/quality formula to distance running and it's been proven pretty well, the average runner need one or two "quality" runs per week, otherwise, the rest is simply "quantity". Bump up your mileage little by little and get yourself to running 2, 3 & 4 milers and beyond. But only take one or two of your runs per week to push it. The cornerstone of endurance sports is the hard/easy schedule. You need to shuffle in easy runs between the hard ones or your body will never get the chance to recover if you're running 'hard' day after day.

And as for HRM's, I'm right there with Rob and Mech, you've got enough in your head to simply stay committed to getting out there every day, getting the endurance up to eliminate the walk breaks and increasing your mileage each week.
Plenty of us drive cars that don't have a tachometer and get around just fine. Running without a HRM is no different. You listen to your body/engine and learn your own thresholds and limits. You'll be a lot better runner in knowing your body intuitively versus some gizmo on your wrist.
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JC: My advice is to listen to jrjo. He has good things to say about running and training and he takes a minimalist approach. There is a time and place for all the gadgets and if you find they help you then by all means use them. But by no means are they necessary. Just run. Don't worry about time for a while. Try to throw in some longer runs. If you do a two miler once or twice a week right now you'll start to find that your 1 mile runs are that much easier, and then when you build strength and training with 3 mile runs you'll be amazed that your two mile runs are easier than your old 1 mile runs.
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