How to use Heart Rate Alerts on your Forerunner

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I set out Tuesday with a sore Achilles from a 6-mile snow run on Monday. In order to stay on pace with the 100 runs 100 days challenge, I wanted to get in a run but also give my body (mainly ankle/Achilles) time to rest. I decided a Z1 recovery run was in order, as it would force me to take my time during my run and keep me on track for my 100/100 challenge.

After completing a LTHR (Lactate Threshold Heart Rate) test on Day 1 of the 100/100 challenge, I determined my recovery heart rate zone to be 118-152BPM, via Joe Friel’s LTHR test, which Training Peaks can also easily compute for you by entering your LTHR from your test and selecting the Joe Friel HR Zone Method.

Like most athletes I want to train-train-train, wanting to push hard during most workouts, I decided to use my Forerunner 310XT to keep me in check during my run, annoyingly alerting me if I crossed my Z1 high barrier (for me, 152BPM).

This is a really neat training tool on Forerunners (60, 210, 305, 310XT) and is very easy to set.

If you're familiar with the 310XT then you have probably come across this feature already, if you have not but are familiar with the 310's navigation menus use the directory below:

Training>Run Alerts>HR Alert>Max HR Alert>Zone 1 (or your desired HR Alert)

Begin by navigating to the main menu (History, Training, GPS, Setting) by pressing the mode button.

Using the navigation arrows scroll down to Training and select by pushing Enter.

Once in Training select Run Alerts and then HR Alerts.

Upon arriving at the HR Alert settings you may enter a minimum heart rate, as well as a maximum heart rate (the part we’re interested about). I choose to leave my minimum HR alert off, because I didn’t really care.

Navigating to the Max HR Alert drop down, I can choose to either set a custom value or a corresponding value from my predefined HR Zones. The zone of interest was Zone 1, the corresponding Max HR for that range is displayed in the Alert Above box.

During my run I was obnoxiously alerted 5 times to slow down, or take it easier on the hill home, which was great because it would have easily gone unnoticed without the vibration/alert.

HR data from Z1 recovery run, the second circle was actually two separate alerts.

I will be using this tool for all of my recovery Z1 runs in the future, because like most athlete's, sometimes it helps having someone remind you to take it's a rest day.


Christmas Gadgets and Upcoming Product Reviews

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today is the first day I feel relaxed since finishing up work in Fort Payne, AL last week. Now that the Christmas craze is over and all of the associated stress that comes with it is history, it was time to get out and enjoy my time off before another hectic couple weeks moving to Orlando post New Year.

Santa was really good to me this year, I suppose that means I was a good boy but he may have been confused with someone else; any who, lots of new gear means my first product review.

Ironically enough, my first review will be something I purchased myself rather than one of my new gadgets from Santa; although I must say those Elves do great work.

A few weeks ago I was doing my usual morning read when I came across this article on, well actually more a quick blurb and then a video describing a new iPhone4 case produced by BioLogic which I've embedded below. I was pretty excited to give the new case a try and ordered a case and extra mount from the store, the online store had only opened a few days before so it was neat to be one of the first orders.

Unfortunately with the timing of my move and being gone for Michelle's graduation I was worried about the case arriving after I had moved out, so I had it shipped home where I could pick it up over the holidays. As if waiting for a package to come isn't painful enough, I had to wait an extra two weeks before I had the opportunity to get it in my hands as it sat at my parents house.

Just a few quick initial thoughts before a much more detailed review in another week or so.
  • Really sturdy construction, the polycarbonate is really stiff and feels quality. Gave it a test when it took a spill at speed from my bike, more on that in the full review.
  • Not sure if I'm willing to test the "weatherproofing" on it, as I don't want to lose $300.
  • Does not allow for Wahoo or Digifit Ant+ adapters, a big minus in my book.
So keep your eye out for that review, as I think the case has a lot of promise but a few minor tweaks could make a DRASTIC improvement!

In other news a week from today I'll be in Savannah, GA on my way to Orlando, my new home. I'm welcome to the idea of warmer weather, not warm yet...but at least it will be warmer! This morning I headed out for a run, number 11 of my 100 runs 100 days challenge, the wind was brutal; even still I managed 4.75, and this afternoon I headed out for some BioLogic iPhone4 case testing. 1.5hrs in sub-freezing temps and 17-25 mph gusts wasn't fun and again...the wind was relentless.

I managed to make it back just before the snow began to fall. The first and most likely only dusting of snowing my Jeep will ever see!

Stay tuned for more!


Week 1 - 100 Runs 100 Days Challenge Recap

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 100 Runs 100 Days challenge started last Wednesday, so I guess it's about time I get around to writing a recap for the first 8 days and how its been going so far. Below are some totals for the first 8 days, and a little further down are some blurbs on things of interest during my runs.

Here's how it all went down:

Day 1 - 4.20 - 32:24 (Last Wednesday)
Day 2 - 4.16 - 37:31 (Thursday)
Day 3 - 3.37 - 31:32 (Friday)
Day 4 - 3.40 - 34:22 (Saturday)
Day 5 - 3.76 - 34:32 (Sunday)
Day 6 - 4.48 - 39:15 (Monday)
Day 7 - Rest Day - Finally!!!
Day 8 - 4.02 - 34:26 (Today)
Day 8 - 6.57 - 56:39 (Today)
Totals: 4:58:56 - 33.55 Miles

I'm pretty proud of the above, despite driving over 1,700 miles in the car over a period of 6 days (Thurs.-Tues.), moving out of my house, going to Michelle's graduation, 4 states, and two time zones; I still managed to find time to run everyday.

Day 1 - Wednesday December 15th (Fort Payne, AL)
Wednesday was a rough day to start off this challenge, but I dedicated a specific post to it as it was the first day of the challenge. I had intended to post it last week, but the above mentioned traveling and adventures prevented that until tonight. So you can read all about LAST Wednesday HERE if you're interested.

Day 2 -Thursday December 16th (Fort Payne, AL)
Thursday was my last day at work, basically go in say goodbye to everyone, wait for my PODS to be delivered (which they never were), and drive 400 miles North to Blacksburg, VA for Michelle's graduation. Not too much to say about the run, I ran before work and learned that it's possible to lock my Forerunner 310XT; the hard part was figuring out how to unlock it! Doh!

Day 3 - Friday December 17th (Blacksburg,VA)
I think my tweet from Last Friday says it best:
It was most certainly a Yaktrax type of run:

Day 4 - Saturday December 18th (Radford, VA)
I found a hill, a very large hill. It was big. It hurt. The Garmin data says 186 ft. elevation gain in .28 miles (1478 ft.), or average 12.5%. Ouch!

Day 5 - Sunday December 19th (Radford, VA)
Not much happened. Came across a bunch of deer who were pretty spooked by my presence. Took some photos but they came out really terrible due to low light/running while trying to take them, hopefully it doesn't make you sick as it's pretty disorienting.

Day 6 - Monday December 20th (Fort Payne, AL)
After a very long drive the night before I dragged myself out of bed early Monday morning and went for a quick run before moving out of my house. I was happy to just get up that early, which about sums up the run.

Day 7 - Tuesday December 21st (Radford/Blacksburg/Sterling, VA; 300 mile range)
REST!!! Needed it. Considered running around 8PM after I made it home but decided it was better to give my body the full day break and double up on Wednesday.

Day 8 - Today
1,700 miles, 4 states, and sleep deprivation caught up with me and I attempted to catch up on sleep. Eventually I rolled out of bed and got in 4 miles before running errands for most of the day. The biggest change was that most of the snow/ice has melted up here which made for a slushy run this morning, it was nice.

Around 4 this evening I headed out for run number two of the day and managed to get in 6.5 miles before the sun went down. This was my first two-a-day of running and I could feel the effects near the end of my second run but pushed though and average 8:37/mile which I was happy with.


Day 1 - 100Runs/100 Days - 1/100

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

1 Down, 99 to go. Damn! That's A LOT of running!

Today (as in last Wednesday when I wrote this) was day one of the challenge and man was today a special way to start it off. Things have been winding down at work and today was second to last day at work, so I took advantage of that fact and headed out a little early. After rushing home I quickly changed and hopped back in the Jeep to head to the local HS track.

You may ask why did I drive to go run somewhere? I have no problem with snow, but when it comes to ice and "wintry-mix" I draw the line. I didn't want to call it quits on day 1 of the challenge and since my gym membership has ended with my move, I thought the track was the safest surface to run on.

The structure of the track and its porosity prevented any of the ice from sticking or creating a slick sheet like much of the cement/asphalt did around my house, so I deemed it safe to run on. The other challenge was the temperature, today was warmer then the past few days, but 30 is still pretty chilly to be out running. I doubled up on every layer, including wearing both compression shorts and running tights.

Even with the chilly weather I was able to muster a smirk...

I started off pretty slow but after half a mile I looked down to see I was running 7:40ish miles, my desire to warm up may have contributed to the speed, but I decided to put it in drive and go. My original plan was 9:00/mile but finished 4.2 miles in 32 minutes, so...slightly faster.

This run worked perfectly for a running Lactate Threshold heart rate test, used to determine heart rate zones and corresponding heart rate ranges, I used Joe Friel's ranges and found them to be the below:

I also made a spread sheet, but then figured out that you can simply enter you measured LTHR in Training Peaks, select the Joe Friel for running method, and it will compute the zones for you, either way I ended w/ the same results. Training Peaks is a really neat tool and I'm liking it more and more as I figure it out. I still have a lot to learn but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, pretty glad I did that webinar.

After uploading my run I was simply able to isolate the laps which pertained to the 20 minutes of interest, or after the initial 10 minute "warm-up" and found my LTHR to be 179BPM (beats per minute).

At the end of my run, my keys were frozen to this fence, yup actually stuck so I decided to take a picture. Eventually they gave up their hold on the fence and I headed home, only for the roads in Fort Payne to be declared "impassable" by the local sheriffs office, glad I decided to run on the track!


100 Runs 100 Days

Today, December 15th commences the 2010/2011 100 Runs 100 Days Challenge.

I guess some would say I’m an easy sell, as it doesn’t take much to convince me or “challenge” me to do something. In some ways that’s how I wound up with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Virginia Tech, “one of the toughest majors at Tech” my reply, “sounds good, sign me up!”

But I digress, the real point is this crazy 100 runs in 100 days. I first heard wind of this challenge via Jake at Garmin’s twitter feed, now @Garmin but still Jake doing all the tweeting. Yesterday he tweeted the following:

After some investigating I found the thread on, read the description and said “why not!” I’ve been pretty sedentary since early November when I got burnout racing cross and decided this was good motivation to get off the couch.

You may ask yourself what counts as a run? That’s a good question and one that has been outlined in depth at Slowtwitch, and instead of rewriting all of the rules I decided some copy and a paste action was necessary, or you can read it HERE:

On Dec 15th we'll start the 2010-11 edition of the 100 runs in 100 day challenge, commonly known as 100/100. The thing has evolved somewhat over the past few years, due to and contrary to popular demand. The basic “unit” that counts as a “run” is 30 minutes.

The goal of this entire thing is to lay down a solid run base by doing volume through frequency. The goal of the challenge actually is not to randomly be doing a bunch of short runs, although some in the past may have chosen to. The goal really is to increase your overall mileage which will result in better performances next year. Frequency is the carrot to get you there.

The runs can be outdoors or on a treadmill, but it must be running (no water running, no elliptical trainer...). Walking does not count...there must be 2 feet off the ground at some point in every stride (the difference between race walking and running) and there must be forward motion so 30 minutes of jumping jacks will not count either.

1. You can take days off

2. You can do days with more than one run (doubles)

3. You can and likely should take rest days

4. You get no credit for going longer than 30 minute wrt number of runs, however it will help your distance totals
5. If you go fast, it will show up in your total distance over the challenge in less time and the speedsters get to beat the crap out of each other.
6. You can go as slow as you want provided both feet leave the ground on every stride

7. Listen to your body if you need to take a day off…don’t get too sucked into what the other geeks on the ‘standings’ are doing (who am I kidding….talking to a bunch a type A tri geeks)
8. By all means, use the overall standing as a motivator to push you up a level, but don’t put yourself in the injury/hurt locker in the middle of winter
9. Don't sprint out of the gate in the first 3 weeks....easiest way to get injured...start slow....perhaps take your aggregate mileage over the last 3 years and divide that total by 156 to get a gauge for what your average weeks for the first 4-6 weeks should look like before you ramp up

10. If you make it through 10 weeks (70 days), pour it on in the final month when your body and mind can take it.


For a run to count as a double, it must be separated by at least 1 hour. I have to pick a duration to separate 2 runs and it can't be 1 minute or 5 minutes, and putting 1 hour in between means that I will allow you to count a run-swim-run, run-bike-run, run-wts-run, run-XC ski-run, run-McDonalds-run as 2 sessions as long as the thing in between lasts for at least 1 hour (be it 40K on the bike, or a session at the donut shop).

Four years ago _EH_, Jana and I put down 100 days in a row of running 30 min or more with ZERO rest days. Not really recommended. The last few years we have had approximately 50 or more hit 100 runs in 100 days, but that's really not for everyone (nor should it be)


While some might go for 100 runs, the reality is that unless you are already running 4-6 hours per week, this is not a realistic goal. If you did over 2500K of running last year, you're probably goo to go to attack the full 100 (assuming you have no injuries)
For most a realistic goal is to start at Bronze “club pace” (or less) and then see how things go.

1. Platinum Club = 100 runs in 100 days (March 24th)

2. Gold Club = 90 runs in 100 runs in days

3. Silver Club = 80 runs in 100 runs in days

4. Bronze = 70 runs in 100 runs in days

It is great training for anyone doing a spring marathon or an early season triathlon, and you'll be shocked by how quickly you accumulate mileage, all without getting injured...because the focus is keeping them short and aerobic. By all means feel free to run longer than 30 minutes, but the main goal here is to get you out the door, 5-7 times per week, especially given that the weather is generally shitty for riding in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere.


The goal is to encourage people to run as much as possible. Sometimes, life gets in the way. We have lives outside sport. Something is better than nothing. So if you do 2 runs shorter than 30 minutes in one day (ex 20+15), you can count the total as 1 run, but beyond that, you can’t keep adding up incremental amounts to count for additional runs. For example, a 50 minute run and 10 minute run in one day won’t count as 2 runs and nor will 20+20+20. They will both count as one 60 minute run (you can add your short run amount to your large run amount to get full mileage credit).

So basically let's say you do a 15 minute run covering 3K. You can't enter this as a "complete run" for your "club status", however, if you do many of these over the winter, they all add up to more base, so what you CAN do is add these 15 minutes in your entry for your previous if your previous run was 45 minutes, and 9K, just put it in as 60 minutes and 12K and take some partial credit for it.

WOW! That’s a mouthful, glad I just copied that one. If you’re still here after all the nitty gritty above, then you’ll know I have to run a total of 50 hours in the next 100 days, with a run counting as 30 minutes of forward motion with two feet off the ground. Also if I want to double count in a day I need a solid hour between, perfect for a burrito if you ask me?

With a few quick assumptions:
100 (30min. runs) = 50 hours
1 hour (approx) = 6.6667 miles
9min/mile pace

Total mileage: 333.33 miles or 536 km or approximately a pair of shoes!

So I’m going to add a new header at the top of my page “100 Runs 100 Days” to keep progress of the challenge. This afternoon I’ll head out for my first run and we’ll see how it goes from there!


Weekend Recap - Preparing to Move

Monday, December 13, 2010

Four days are all that remain between me and 2011. No, I’m not confused about the date, …I know it’s the 13th of December and there are 18 days until 2011 technically, for me however there are four more days as an Alabama resident, and therefore four days until 2011. The rest will simply be absorbed into the blur that is the holidays; eating, driving, presents, did I mention eating? But before 2011 can begin, I must move, and moving means lots and lots of packing and boxes.

The weekend began Friday night with the town Christmas parade. I really appreciate small town parades, last year Michelle and I watched the Blacksburg parade, and this year was much of the same…except in Fort Payne…and minus Michelle. I didn’t really grab as many pictures as last year but I did manage this one of Santa in the bucket of the fire truck.

Pretty blurry and terrible iPhone4 picture, but it's all I have.

Saturday morning I headed north to Chattanooga to pick up some bike boxes. The Trek Store in Chattanooga is really neat and was kind enough to hold onto some boxes for me. I met the owner and assistant manager there who both used to work for Trek in Madison, WI; of course I had tons of questions for them and they assured me it’s a great place to work.

I brought home all the Jeep could handle, even still only had 1 extra.

After picking up the boxes I couldn’t resist stopping by Rembrandts for what may be my last trip to one of my favorite coffee shops ever, the usual French Toast and white mocha latte later, I was prepared to head back and conquer the beast of packing up The Bike Room.

My "Go To" meal at Rembrandt's.

Several hours of disassembling and bubble wrapping later, I had finished packing all of my bikes, spare frames, and misc. parts. I knew I had a lot of crap, but was taken back by how much stuff there really was. The move to Florida and a smaller place may require some downsizing of stuff which I think will be healthy and cleansing for me.

200 Ft. of Bubble wrap; of course I had to pop some for fun.

My reward for packing was ironically, unpacking. I ordered the Withings Wi-Fi scale last Monday night and it arrived Thursday afternoon thanks to Amazon Prime (although not really 2-Days Amazon Prime…tisk tisk!). I was excited to play with it and set it up, but wanted to do the unpacking justice and setting up the scale symbolizes the end of 2010, and the strict undertaking I’m holding myself to in 2011, so…needless to say I was avoiding it. So after packing for most of Saturday I finally got around to unpacking my new scale.

I had wanted a scale for quite a long time; I waited, researched, and finally decided on the Withing’s scale instead of the Tanita BC-1000 I originally was considering (I waited a little under 11 months). I hope to have more to say about it once I’ve been using it for a while.

Sunday was much of the same, except that while I was inside packing, outside it was SNOWING! Now for me I usually don’t get this excited about snow, but I didn’t expect to see snow in Alabama and with my Florida move imminent, the likelihood of snow in my future is pretty faint.

The Jeep's first snow, unfortunately it will not be seeing much of that.

Flurries. Eventually it accumulated to a dusting, which proved to be enough to cancel school.

A solid last weekend in Fort Payne, AL. All that's left are 4 days at work


Weekend Recap - Chattanooga Aquarium

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My tenure in Fort Payne is almost up. The past six months have really flown by and with our move to Orlando just over a month away, this weekend was Michelle's last trip down here. We had been wanting to see the Chattanooga Aquarium since I moved down to northern Alabama but the opportunity was yet to present itself. Since this weekend was somewhat of a special occasion, Michelle's birthday, it seemed perfect for a fun-filled day in Chattanooga.

The weekend began with a quick run Friday afternoon...let me rephrase that...The weekend began with a four mile run but not "quick" by any means. I got home from work a bit early and wanted to take advantage of the remaining daylight. After some quick convincing on my part Michelle and I were out the door for a chilly evening run. Michelle wasn't super keen on the idea and since it was her birthday she was allowed to be, but I think it was nice to get out and be active before an evening of cooking.

Still having fun at this point.

When the sun is low we look tall.

I took my iPhone with me on the run, something I normally don't do, but I downloaded the Nike+GPS app this week and wanted to give it a try. More on that hopefully later.

Pretty close on the distance, but I'm beginning to notice the Nike+GPS is usually short.

Low sun on the way home.

Eventually it got pretty dark and we turned around and headed home to begin preparing our delicious dinner. Per request for Michelle's birthday we made artichoke and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken; it was fantastic.

Sun-dried tomato and artichoke stuffed chicken.

Saturday was scheduled to begin with a workout at the local HS track; it didn't. Neither Michelle nor I were upset missing the workout and headed off towards Chattanooga, a quick 50 minute drive north. Upon arriving in Chattanooga we headed to our favorite coffee shop/cafe Rembrants in the Bluff District.

Cool stairs near the Bluff Art District.

Hunter Museum and Bluff view.

After another great meal and some quick shopping we made our way to the aquarium. Both of us had high expectations going into the aquarium but I don't think either of us were prepared for how AWESOME it was going to be. We purchased our tickets at the student discount rate and headed into building 1...yes building 1 because the aquarium is so huge it has two parts!

The aquarium takes you through along the Tennessee River which was really neat and then had a bunch of non-related exhibits scattered throughout. The best part was the layout of the aquarium that guided you through the museum which made sure you didn't miss anything, and kept everyone flowing so no exhibit was too crowded.

First we hit the seahorses and these little guys were awesome and there were so many different types; some of which fins move at more then 30/per second. Seahorse video below:

I thought this particular one was funny, originally I thought it was pregnant but turns out it's just fat...I'm not being mean; it's actually called Potbelly Seahorse...and the males can be carriers!

Then there was this guy, who kinda reminded me of those scary guys from The Pirates of Caribbean and his name wasn't super original either...Leafy Sea Dragon.

Leafy Sea Dragon pretty cool camouflage.

At the end of the sea horse exhibit I stumbled upon this unknown sea species, poor thing looks so sad to be in the water...

After the seahorse exhibit you took a very long escalator to the top of the aquarium where the glass triangles are in the photo above.

Onto the Otters...for me this was the my favorite part of the day, they were just so lively and hyper, they didn't sit still the entire time we were there (about 15 minutes); so much so that I had to take several videos because ALL of my photos are blurry, partly because it was the iPhone (slow shutter speed) but they didn't make things easy.

The rest of the exhibits trickled down finally bringing us back to the ground floor. Saw some really awesome stuff along the way, photos of which are below:

Poisonous Frog's.

Eventually we found the bottom of the aquarium and headed over to part 2. The first building was awesome so it was going to be hard to top, but it certainly didn't disappoint!

While walking over "I was wondering if an earthquake happened?" but it's actually just the crazy downtown Chattanooga sidewalks.

Once in the other building we took a series of escalators to the top and entered the second atrium where we ran into this fresh water stingray, pretty cool.

We then headed to Butterfly Garden which was an amazing experience. Upon entering the double sliding doors I was blasted with a huge fan placed over the doorway designed to prevent butterflies from leaving the garden. Now appearing windblown we walked into the garden and immediately were overwhelmed with the amount of butterflies in the atrium. They were pretty difficult to get good pictures of, not like my last encounter with butterflies, but I managed to get one okay one:

We also ran into this crazy cacoonery (incubator?) thing that had various species of butterflies, some where coming out while we were there, very neat!

Really neat, but kind of sad and gross all at the same time.

It would not be a trip to the aquarium without penguins. This guy had a pretty bad itch and was working hard to scratch it.

Next we hit the Jellyfish exhibit which I was really anticipating because they had advertised it as art on the side of the building, it really was. The video's show all:

The rest of the afternoon included some pretty cool exhibits as well:

This guy needed to see a dentist or Orthodontist; he had some serious teeth issues.

All-in-all it was a pretty awesome day and if you're ever in Chattanooga or near I would recommend it!

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