Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Runner Study 5k Time Trial

On Monday evening I was over at Queens University to do my 5k time trial for their runner study. I am now 4 weeks into the study. The next two weeks runners will be split into two groups. One will significantly taper their miles while the second group will continue to maintain their mileage and level of intensity.

I fell into the later group which I guess is the good thing. Tapering is something that I found hard to do any more. Yes, I know it is good for me but I have this mental block that says I am somehow losing fitness.

Anyway, I warmed up with three miles beforehand on the Booty Loop before heading upstairs to the university’s fitness center for my time trial.

Garrett explained the process to me as follows.

I would be running a 5k at roughly my race pace. At about a mile into the time trail I needed to put on a mask so they could measure my oxygen content. I would need to wear the mask for about 4 minutes and then take it off. From this point, I would continue my run to 3.1 miles.

After getting fitted for the mask prior to the start, I assess how the tread mill was setup. Then, I started my time trail. Anyone that has run on a tread mill knows they don’t just start at a specific speed. They kind of build up speed as I keep pushing the “faster” button.

Roughly a minute and half into the time trail I am finally running along near my usual race pace.

After a mile of running I step off so Garrett can put the mask on face. Granted I am soaked in sweat and breathing heavily while he tries to position the mask. The mask goes on pretty easily, and I attempt get back on the tread mill. Mind you, I didn’t stop the tread mill so for the 5 seconds or so while Garrett positions the mask, the tread mill is “hauling butt” at the same pace that I left it.

My first step back on the tread mill and I nearly “face plant”. My legs are in no way ready to resume my original pace. Quickly grabbing the bars to maintain my balance I avoid falling.

 For the next 4 minutes I sound very much like Darth Vader. Makes me wonder if this where they got the sound effects for the movie. Breathing was hard before the mask. Now, breathing is even harder.

I suffer through the 4 minutes and hand the mask back to Garrett. This time I remind myself that the tread mill is still flying and I settle in by holding the bars.

The last mile or so goes by quickly. Without the mask, my breathing now seems easier. I finish the time trial in 18:57. If I take out the minute or so that the tread mill required to ramp up, it was pretty much in line with the 5k races that I have been running lately.

I finished with a couple of easy miles on the tread mill to cool off. Garrett needed me to complete some paper work and I was finished.

With the Time Trail, cool down, and paper work I was in and out the door in roughly an hour.

I did learn that my body fat percentage is 6%. As part of the test, they do a body fat assessment. Later the same evening and after a few Google searches, I learned that I have the body fat level of a teenager.  Between 2-4 % is considered essential body fat for men. Between 6-13% is considered athletic for men on the BMI scale. Just for kicks I looked to see what the idea “Healthy” range was for men my age. The charts suggested 23 to 35%. 

This is all good information and special thanks to Garrett for allowing me to participate in his study.  One can never learn too much about their self.


Sharing one thought at time

The Cool Down Runner


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