My post-Mud Run training sessions officially began today. I went to the gym and was bent on two things: 1) getting on the bike and doing my easy recovery workout, and 2) NOT getting on the treadmill. I know myself. If I would have allowed myself to get on the treadmill, there wouldn't have been anything easy about my easy recovery day.
I walked right past a row of treadmills and though I longed to get on them I made my way towards the bikes. I have not done a workout exclusively on a bike in quite a long time, many pounds ago, but I got on one with the intention of staying on it.
But for how long? I started with 40 minutes, a nice, round number. I monitored my heart rate, of course, and early on it was in the low 80s, climbed up towards 100 and eventually settled in around the one-teens. I tried to pedal harder and faster as the workout got on but my heart rate only went so high before my muscles started to make noise - they weren't screaming but they were certainly clearing their throats.
I reminded myself "easy recovery" and continued on my quest to recover from the Mud Run. See, I had to not only get my muscles some light action, I also had to lay the groundwork for runs I have planned for Wednesday and Friday, runs that won't exactly be easy. I didn't want my muscles to act up or anything so I eased up on the bike.
I got to just over 14 miles after 40 minutes and paused to catch my breath. Almost instantly my heart rate dropped below 100 and was down in the 90s.
That let me know two things: 1) this workout was not strenuous, which was good because that's what I wanted (easy = not strenuous); 2) I can't do only the bike for cardio unless I'm willing to push through screaming muscles and pedal considerably harder than I had been.
I rode another 15 minutes. In a total of 55 minutes, then, I rode just over 20 miles. I don't think the workout was too difficult, so I met my goal. In fact, I feel like running right now, as I type. I suppose that's a good thing, since I'll have to run tomorrow.
But here's more proof of the easiness of the workout: my average heart rate was 118 with a max of 140. I burned 491 calories. Compare that to... well, the only recent figures I have are from the Mud Run, when I burned 1165 calories in an hour seven minutes, with an average heart rate of 171 and max of 182. That's a bit extreme of course but subtract a couple hundred calories, raise the max and that's about my typical 50-minute run.
So if I want to ride the bike, I will stick to what I had been doing and ride for 15-30 minutes after a run. Typically, my heart rate has stayed about the same, around 150, during those bike rides. And it works well to complete my cardio workout.
My plan for Wednesday then is set: run, then bike. Run a 42-minute interval run, the bike for 20-30 minutes.