Monday, May 29, 2017


To start things off with my #FITfor40 challenge, I wanted to get some baseline measurements of both me and my fitness level. I like numbers. I like objective assessments. I like seeing my progress (and knowing when I need to kick it up a notch).

I started last Sunday with a MAF treadmill test. I've done this treadmill test for years, so I am able to see the result and know what it means about my own, personal fitness level. I first started using my heart rate as part of my training in 2007, when I first Melissa Simmens. Melissa was initially a personal trainer I hired at my gym while living in Columbia, MD. She's since become an great friend and training partner. Melissa is an experienced ultramarathoner and only made her own, real breakthrough progress in endurance training when she started paying attention to her heart rate. So many people undertake run training with a constant goal of seeing how fast they can run every single time they lace up their shoes. I used to do that too and it never worked. That is to say, I was never able to truly develop an aerobic system that allowed me to run longer distances at faster and faster speeds. Melissa changed all that.

I don't train completely by heart rate, but I do pay attention to it. And I love doing my own, mini version of a MAF test whenever I decide to get serious about building my aerobic fitness. What I do is this: I get on the treadmill, with a HR monitor, and run for 60 minutes (0% incline) at my MAF HR (currently 142 beats per minute) and see how far I go. Then, as I train and get fitter, I do it again...and I see improvement. That is, at the same HR, and for the same amount of time, I run farther. Every time I try to just train "by feel" I always end up going back to a MAF test and focusing on my HR training. It's the only thing that has ever worked and that has ever allowed me to make real progress in my run fitness. For me, it's been the fastest, most reliable way to truly get into shape.

So I did that last Sunday. On kickoff day. My half birthday.

Then, on Wednesday, I did some personal training with Julie that included both body measurements and fitness testing. I don't have a whole lot to report on that now, except that, like the MAF test, it gave me baselines against which I will compare my progress three months from now. It was fun. I love personal training sessions with Julie. She's great in group classes, but one-on-one time is a different kind of fun. More on Julie, and our history, in a later post.

And, while I'll refrain from posting my general "before" pictures at this stage in the game, I will share this one from my wall-sit test. Which, by the look on my face, I took very seriously!

"You have a perfect 90-degrees! I have to take a picture...stay right there." -Julie

So, there we are. For now. I am still working on developing a plan for my running. For now, I am just getting in a few miles here and there. And while that feels good, I do need to start planning and implementing something a bit more formal. Cheers! #FITfor40.

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  1. I'm so excited to follow your progress. You are inspiring me to get my training back on track. I hear the call of a 50 miller...