2020 Training Week 7 (22/06/2020 to 28/06/2020)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

08

My weekly totals

First, let’s review summary of this week’s training: weekly mileage 40.02 km, weekly steps 99’758 (14’251 steps daily average), total weight loss so far 6.7 kg and this week’s weight loss 1.5 kg.

About my weight loss

In regards to my weight loss, I am happy that I made my weekly goal of 1 kg/week and even a bit more. My total weight loss so far (6.7 kg) is also pretty close to what I desired (7.0 kg). In fact in the middle of the week on Thursday (25/06), I made my desired weight loss for the the end of the week by losing 7.1 kg but again for some temporary reasons I gained back a bit of that weight loss. 

As I mentioned last week, I was a bit concerned about my diet on week 7 because last year at the beginning of week 7, I burned out due to my strict diet and had a week of rest. Fortunately this year by taking more reasonable steps, I successfully made my goal for up to the end of week 7. Based on my last year’s experience, after passing week 7, my weight loss journey should be OK up to the end of week 10 so I expect to have an easy/moderate job for losing weight for the next three weeks, but let’s see what will happen in practice. 

Summary of this week’s activities

First, let’s review my activities during this week. I had 4 run activities in this week. On Tuesday (23/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.01 K, 5:36 min/km, 167 bpm, 25m elevation gain). On Wednesday (24/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.01 K, 5:26 min/km, 173 bpm, 22m elevation gain). On Friday (26/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.00 K, 5:54 min/km, 145 bpm, 28m elevation gain). On Saturday (27/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.00 K, 5:50 min/km, 163 bpm, 30m elevation gain).

About my weekly mileage

Starting from June 5 2020, I changed my training plan to two 10K runs one day rest.  I had difficulty to keep up with the new plan for the first week because of getting injured and being tired, but since June 14 2020, I have been successfully committed with the plan and my average weekly mileage increased from 28 km to 47 km since that time. Therefore it’s my second week that I have stayed with the new plan and I have to continue with this plan for at least two more weeks before I make any changes to it.  

VO2Max and Comparing activities to see my improvement

My VO2Max this week in my (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) activities were (49, 49, 50, 50) ml/kg/min respectively. In order to see my improvement this week, I want to compare two activities, one on Friday 26/06 which was (10.00 K, 5:54 min/km, 145 bpm, 28m elevation gain) and the other on Wednesday 10/06 which was (10.01 K, 6:18 min/km, 145 bpm, 24m elevation gain). 

As we can see, all factors of both runs (my effort, distance and terrain) are the same and the only factor which varies in those two runs is the average pace. I had 00:24 min/km improvement which is a 7.55% improvement in 16 days that I am pretty happy about it.

My lactate threshold pace and heart rate

On Wednesday (24/06), my watch updated my lactate threshold pace (5:25 min/km) and my lactate threshold heart rate (175 bpm). 

About individual runs

This Wednesday (24/06) was the first day in the new session that I had my run with just a T-shirt because the weather was warm enough. On Friday and Saturday runs, I was trying to have my 10K runs with average pace 6:00 min/km because I wanted to save my energy for a hard effort 10K run next week i.e. a run with average heart rate 178 bpm or so. I also had a notable improvement in my running cadence on Saturday’s run were I was successfully able to have my average cadence over 180 spm for all of the 10 laps of the run. 

 

My 2019 Weight Loss Journey, 12.5 Kg in 18 Weeks

Summary of My 2019 Diet in Google Sheets

Weight Loss

On May 7th 2019, I decided to go on a diet mainly because I wanted to start running but I was too overweight for it. In fact right before I start my diet, I had three 10K runs  on April 29 2019 , April 30 2019 and May 7 2019 and my corresponding running time for each of them was 1:10:08 , 1:08:48 and 1:07:05 respectively. The running times were as disappointing as I even didn’t think about starting a 10K training plan. 

In fact the slowest 10K training plan in one of my favorite books “Running: The Complete Guide to Building Your Running Program” By “John Stanton” was 10K 60 minutes training plan and in my case I wasn’t sure if that training plan is applicable to me or not because I was too slow at that time.

Later on, I noticed that the American Olympian “Jeff Galloway” in his book “Galloway’s 5K and 10K Running” has even introduced a 10K 1:19′:00” training plan but anyways I wasn’t interested to start such a slow training plan. As an alternative, I decided to first reduce my weight and then start my running through an appropriate training plan. 

I was 65-67 kg when I was in my running prime in 2016 and on May 7 2019 I was 83.3 kg. Therefore as my diet goal, I decided to drop 16 kg of my weight. I have to mention this was my first ever diet and therefore I had no idea about weight loss and anything related to it. Therefore as my first question, I asked myself how long would it take to achieve my ideal goal, so I started doing the math.

As it is well known like in this article, the average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day and the average man needs to eat about 2,500 calories per day to maintain weight, if you consume anything less than that you would start losing weight.

Now the question is how many calories you need to burn to lose one pound of fat. As you can find in another article of healthline.com available here,  one pound of body fat contains about 3500 calories. 

As we all know, exercise can be a lot helpful in losing weight. As a former runner, I had two favorite options for my exercises: running and walking. I have been reading in several articles in past, that when you are running you shouldn’t expect to lose weight that much. Even now that I googled “running and lose weight”, I found some articles like this , where they explain why running is not the best option for losing weight. 

On the other hand, I can remember when I was training in 2016, I took certain breaks during my training to lose more weight through diet and walking. In general, I had the impression that walking works better for me for losing weight compared to running. Therefore I chose walking for my exercise in my weight loss journey.

The immediate question that appears here is how many calories do you burn in each walk. As it is mentioned in this article and it’s somehow obvious, your weight, pace ,terrain and genetics would impact on your burning calories. I start with pace and terrain.

I decided to have my daily walks starting from home approximately in Yonge and Sheppard in North York Toronto, walking all the way down to south in the Yonge street. I also decided to have my daily walks with an average of at least 2 hours a day. Having that in my mind, I measured a very long 16K walk , in that path at my regular pace (or a little bit faster) with my Garmin Fenix 3 HR watch.

My watch already considered my weight, and the terrain, pace and genetics factors in this walk was approximately the same as my other walks. The duration of this walk was 2:41′:36” and the burned calories calculated by my watch was 626 C. Therefore it was a safe estimate to assume during a 2 hours walk in the same path I would burn as much as 2.0/(2+41/60)*626=465 calories. 

I also decided to be tough on myself and just consume around 1000 calories a day which means starving during my diet time. Now lets calculate how long would it take with that plan to lose 16 Kg of my body weight. My body approximately requires 2500 calories a day for maintaining my weight plus 465 calories for my 2 hours walk which is 2965 calories per day. I was eating approximately 1000 calories a day and therefore burning the rest of 1965 calories in each day.

Since one pound (454 gr) of fat is 3500 calories, in each day I was burning 1965/3500*454gr =254 gr of my body fat and therefore in each week I was burning 7*0.254=1.784~1.8 kg of my body fat. Therefore to be on the safe side, one can estimate my weekly burning body fat by 1.5 Kg. and therefore it would take me 11 weeks to lose 16 Kg of my weight. 

That was my initial calculation for the duration of my diet but in practice, it never came true.  As you can find it in Summary of My 2019 Diet in Google Sheets , in the first 6 weeks of my diet, I was getting the best results and my weight loss rate in that period was equal with almost 1 kg/week . After that because I was so tough on myself during my diet, I couldn’t continue and I decided to have 8 days of rest. 

After that 8 days, I again got good results for the next 3 weeks and I had the same weight loss average of 1 kg/week . That was up to the end of week 11 where I lost 9.6 kg during that time period. From week 12 up to the end of week 15, I got very poor results and I just lost 1.0 kg however I worked very hard. The 18’645 daily average steps during that 4 weeks thoroughly indicates my hard effort during that time period.  

In the next two weeks (weeks 16-17) my average weight loss was again 1 kg/week and in the last week i.e. week 18, I didn’t lose anything at all. At this point I decided to stop my diet. That was a complete summary of my 18 weeks weight loss journey. 

2014 Training Week 9 (30/06/2014 to 06/07/2014)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

They keep each other moving

Summary of this week’s activities

First, let’s review my activities during this week. I had 2 run and 2 swim activities in this week. On Monday (30/06) I had an easy 3K run with the following averages: (2.80 K, 5:14 min/km, 157 bpm), On Wednesday (02/07) I had a Running Room 10K run with the following averages: (10.00 K, 4:59 min/km, 168 bpm), On Wednesday (02/07) I had a 1.5 km lap swimming with average pace 2:18 min/100m (my watch says it’s a 3:43 am Wednesday swim but that’s not possible so there might be a one day inaccuracy in the time of the activity), On Friday (04/07) I had a 1.5 km lap swimming with average pace 2:11 min/100m.

My weekly mileage

Again based on this article, my two lap swimmings are equal with a 12K moderate run. Therefore my total weekly activities are equal with 24.80 K weekly mileage run. Comparing it to the 33.21 K weekly mileage of last week, we observe a 25.32% decrease in weekly mileage this week. That means I have to be more active in future as such a huge decrease in weekly mileage in week 9 doesn’t make sense at all.

In fact the way that I am training right now is not very appropriate as I have less activities in certain weeks and too much activities in the others. I have to train slow and steady in a safe manner to avoid getting injured and achieve the best results.

Comparing activities to see my improvement

Again if I compare my run activity on 18/06 with the following averages: (10.01 K, 5:04 min/km, 169 bpm, 182 m elevation gain) to my other run activity on 02/07 with the following averages: (10.00 K, 4:59 min/km, 168 bpm, 75m elevation gain) , we see everything is the same in those two activities but average pace and elevation gain. My this week’s pace was 0:05 min/km slower and at the same time it’s elevation gain was 107m harder. I guess the elevation gain and the pace would balance each other and that means we cannot observe a significant improvement in my activities during past 2 weeks.

Buying a new Garmin Fenix 2 watch

Due to the fact that I was swimming a lot in my trainings, I decided to buy a Garmin Fenix 2 watch which was more appropriate for my training compared to Garmin FR 610. The complete description of Fenix 2 in the Garmin website is available here and a comparison between Fenix 2 and Forerunner 610 is available here and here and here.

But in short, the advantages of Fenix 2 compared to Forerunner 610 for me are as followings:

  • Fenix 2 records swimming activities
  • Fenix 2 and it’s heart rate monitor measures running dynamics (included cadence) and also VO2Max which are very important features for runners (I don’t know if it’s about Fenix 2 or it’s heart rate monitor but in any case I have these extra features in Fenix 2 where I didn’t have them in Forerunner 610)
  • Fenix 2 is more appropriate for hiking
  • The battery of Fenix 2 lasts longers

2014 Training Week 8 (23/06/2014 to 29/06/2014)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

06

Summary of this week’s activities

First, let’s review my activities during this week. I had 3 runs and 2 swims during this week. On Monday (23/06) I had a 1.5 km lap swimming with average pace 2:24 min/100m. On Tuesday (24/06) I had a 5K Race with the following averages: (5.01 K, 4:19 min/km, 183 bpm). On Wednesday (25/06) I had a Running Room 10.73K run with the following averages: (10.73 K, 5:11 min/km, 158 bpm). On Thursday (26/06), I had a 800m lap swimming with average pace 2:30 min/100m. Finally on Sunday (29/06) I again had a Running Room 8.27K run with the following averages (8.27 K, 4:56 min/km, 177 bpm). The recent run was an incomplete group run that I burned out in the middle of the run.

My weekly mileage

Again based on this article, my two swimming activities are equal with a 9.2 km run therefore my total weekly activities are equal with 33.21 km run. Comparing it with the last week’s weekly mileage of 29 km, we observe a 14.5 % increase in weekly mileage which is OK.

Comparing activities to see my improvement

There are two activities that are very suitable for comparing them with each other. My run on 29/06 with the following averages: (8.27 K, 4:56 min/km, 177 bpm, 178 elevation gain) compared to my run on 11/06 with the following averages: (10.01 K, 5:05 min/km, 177 bpm, 151 elevation gain).

These two activities were both with the Running Room on the same terrain (Vancouver Stanley Park) so elevation gain in both of them were almost the same. We assume the length of activities were both equal with each other, however there is a 1.74K difference between them. Fortunately my effort in both of them were the same (177 bpm vs 177 bpm for average heart rate).

We observe my pace improved from 5:05 min/km to 4:56 min/km. That’s a 0:09 min/km improvement which is equals with 2.95 % improvement in 18 days and it’s pretty good.

Response of my body to the level of activities

As I increased the level of my activities recently, my body responded to it in a certain way. I was mainly tired and needed to sleep much more compared to past and I also needed to eat more. I was talking to Jason in the Running Room about it and he advised me just to listen to what my body tells me, if it needs more sleep just sleep more, if you feel more hungry just eat more and etc. I was thinking more about this matter and noticed that was a pretty wise advise.

2014 Training Week 7 (16/06/2014 to 22/06/2014)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

05

Summary of this week’s activities

First, let’s review my activities during this week. I had three activities this week. On Wednesday (18/06) I had a Running Room 10K run with (ave. pace, ave. heart rate) equals (5:04 min/km, 169 bpm). On Saturday (21/06) I had a 1.5 km lap swimming with average pace about 2:10 min/km. Again according to this article, that swim was equals with a moderate 6K run. On Sunday (22/06) I had a 13K run with (ave. pace, ave. heart rate) equals (4:57 min/km, 174 bpm).

My weekly mileage

Therefore my weekly total was equals with 29 km of running. Comparing it with last week’s weekly total activities (42 km of running), I had a 30.95 % decrease in my weekly mileage which is reasonable because last week’s weekly mileage was a little bit too much for me at this stage of my training.

Comparing activities to see my improvement

Comparing the activities to see my improvement during past two weeks is a little bit difficult at this stage due to lack of relevant information (so far I have just 5 activities with heart rate data in them).

But if we compare my activity on 11/06 which is (10K, 5:05 min/km, 177 bpm, elevation gain 182m) with my activity on 22/06 which is (13K, 4:57 min/km, 174 bpm, elevation gain 97m) we can see even though I had less effort in the second activity (174 bpm vs 177 bpm) and the length of my run was also longer in the second activity (13K vs 10K), my average pace improved by 0:08 min/km (4:57 min/km vs 5:05 min/km).

Elevation gain is the only factor which was harder in the first activity compared to the second activity (182 m vs 97 m). We can assume the last factor (elevation gain) would balance the first two factors (length of activity and average heart rate) so for comparing two activities we can just compare pace of two activities. If we do so, we can observe a 2.6 % improvement in just 11 days which is not bad.

2014 Training Week 6 (09/06/2014 to 15/06/2014)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

04

First Let’s mention my weekly total for this week, I had 30.03 km of run and 3.0 km of swim. This is the first week that I am adding swimming to my training plan and I am very happy about it. Also from this week, I started wearing my heart rate monitor and that helps me a lot to analyze my daily activities, compare them to each other and see how much effort I put in each of them.

During this week on Friday (13/06) and Saturday (14/06), I had two 1.5 km swims and my average pace in both of them was about 2:10 min/100m. I also had three 10K runs on Monday (09/06), Wednesday (11/06) and Sunday (15/06) with (average pace, average heart rate) equals (5:11 min/km, 163 bpm), (5:05 min/km, 177 bpm) and (4:59 min/km, 171 bpm) respectively.

I was interested in finding out my weekly total just in terms of running. I googled the matter and found this article useful where it says a moderate 1.5 km of swim with ave. pace 2:00 min/100m is equals with a moderate 6.0 km run. Therefore my weekly total this week just in terms of running is about 42 km run. Comparing this week’s total with last week’s total (30 km run) I see a 40% increase in my weekly mileage. That is still OK as I had a 35 km run weekly total in week 3 and this week’s total has just about a 20% increase compared to week 3’s total.

Apparently I see the following pattern in my weekly mileages: I would have a high weekly mileage in one week and then I would reduce my weekly mileage for a couple of weeks as my body recovers and then again I would get back to a high weekly mileage. Ideally, I should stay on a certain weekly mileage (at least 3 weeks) before I increase it to the next level. Therefore my current approach is not ideal but as long as I have enough rest in my weekly training plan, chances of getting injured would be reduced.

 

2014 Training Weeks 4-5 (26/05/2014 to 08/06/2014)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

03

I had 5 runs during these 2 weeks, all of them were 10K runs on the following days respectively 30 May, 1 June, 2 June, 5 June and 7 June. Starting from the next week, I was using my heart rate monitor but during these two weeks I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor and therefore I can’t talk about the intensity of my runs and how much effort I put in each run.

On May 30th, I had my first 10K sub 50 minutes run ever and I was extremely excited about it. In the running session that I had in the Lululemon club a few weeks ago, each person had to introduce himself/herself to the group and tell one of his running goals to the others. As my running goal, I mentioned I want to make a 10K sub 40 minutes run. Therefore making a 10K sub 50 minutes run was the very first step towards my goal and fortunately I made it very fast.

In terms of my weekly mileage, last week (19/05 to 25/05) I had a 35 km weekly mileage considering the fact that the 3 km Grouse Grind hike would consider as a 10K run.  The week after that (26/05 to 01/06) my weekly mileage dropped to 20 km. Considering the fact that I needed a bit of rest after a heavy week like last week and also another fact that one of my runs (on may 30th) was an intense run, my performance on this week was reasonable.

In the next week after that (02/06 to 08/06) my weekly mileage again increased to 30.02 km and all of my three 10K runs were with medium effort i.e. with average pace of 5:38 min/km , 5:21 min/km and 5:25 min/km respectively. That was good Because otherwise if I have spent too much effort in my runs during a short period of time, my chances of getting injured would be increased rapidly.

 

2014 Training Weeks 1-3 (05/05/2014 to 25/05/2014)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

 

P01

Beginning of my running journey

I officially started my journey of running and marathon training in summer 2014. I had the passion of running since high school and since that time on and off I was running, but I never had the experience of calling myself a runner or a marathoner. In fact I started this journey to call myself a runner and a marathoner.

Buying GPS watch and shoe from Costco

In my eyes, the very first step and one of the most important steps to start running seriously is buying a running GPS watch, if it comes with a heart rate monitor it would be great too. I purchased my first running GPS watch from Costco and it was Garmin Forerunner 610 , it came with a heart rate monitor as well.

As you can see in the above youtube videos, Garmin Forerunner 610 is a gorgeous running watch and it has a touchable screen that I love this feature of the watch. I also purchased a pair of Fila shoes from Costco for my runnings as well.

Getting injured and figuring out the reason

I turned on my watch on April 29th for the first test to see how it works and after that I had a few test runs/walks with it on May 5th, May 6th, May 16th and May 17th but non of them was a real comfortable run because of the difficulty that I had with my feet. Due to that difficulty, I was just able to walk properly and I couldn’t walk fast or run with my new watch and shoe.

I was thinking a lot about it and I was so disappointed as I never had this problem before and I finally guessed maybe it’s about my running shoe. As soon as I changed my shoe with an old one that I had since before, my problem solved. In fact this was my first running lesson about the importance of your shoe. I didn’t know Costco’s Fila shoes don’t count as running shoes. I paid the price and I found it through practice.

Finding a running club

In order to get encouraged more, I was thinking about joining a running club. I googled and found out a few running clubs in my neighbourhood in downtown Vancouver. I decided to try two of the most popular ones Running Room and Lululemon and select one of them for my primary running club.

I found Lululemon running club in Robson street is more a fun running club versus Denman Running Room club again in Robson street which was more a technical running club so I chose the Denman Running Room club. Lululemon runs was on Thursday evenings and Running Room runs were on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings.

Getting familiar with the concept of training plan

Through participating in Denman Running Room runs, I got familiar with the concept of training plan. Fortunately I joined their club at the right time because their new training program was due on June.

My first run with my Garmin Forerunner 610 watch

My first real run with my Garmin watch was on Friday May 23rd which was a 10K 56:54 run with 229m elevation gain. My previous 10K run before this was with Running Room and it was a 10K 60 min run. Therefore I had a 3 min improvement in this run which was pretty good. Unfortunately I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor in that run so I can’t say how intense my running was.

The Grouse Mountain Run/Hike with Running Room

My last run in this period was on May 25th which was a long distance 15K run with the Denman Running Room club with the following averages: (15.00 K, 8:01 min/km, 595m elevation gain) plus a 3K Grouse Grind hike. We started the run from the store, then through Lions Gate bridge and Capilano Pacific trail we went up to the base of Grouse Mountain. We had a short rest there and after that we climbed the Grouse Grind up to the top of Vancouver. Jason, one of my friends in the club told me however the Grouse Grind is just 3km, but because it is uphills it counts as a 10K run. We also had a 15K run from the store up to the base of Grouse Grind so this run was technically a 25K run. That’s what Jason told me.