My training week runs Monday through Sunday. Monday was a rest day. Tuesday was speed work - 2x200m intervals (click here to see the analysis of the intervals).
Today is Wednesday, and the training schedule called for an easy recovery run intended to help recover from last night's speed work. This first week, my schedule called for a 2 mile easy run.
The distance for this run will periodically increase between now and my next race (Dallas Komen 5k on Oct. 16).
Tonight, the main goal was to run the 2 miles and see how my pace looks. I basically ran by feel tonight. The rule of thumb I've read in several places is that I should be able to talk during an easy run. If I can't talk, I'm running too fast. I wore my Garmin Forerunner 305 and heart-rate monitor so I could collect data on my pace and heart rate during the run.
Ideally, my heart rate should be in an aerobic training zone during an easy run, which is between 70% and 80% of my max heart rate. So, I need to run a pace that gets my heart rate in that training zone.
Here's the pace data from tonight's run:
and here's what my heart rate looked like during tonight's run:
My aerobic zone is between 148 and 159 beats per minute (bpm). It took a couple of minutes before my heart rate got up to 148, and from about 7 minutes to the end my heart rate stayed pretty well between 150 and 160 bpm while maintaining a pace of about 10:30 minutes/mile. My Garmin software reported an average heart rate of 151, with a max of 163 for this run.
So, moving forward, I now know that a good easy/recovery run pace for me right now is close to the pace I ran tonight: about 10:30min/mi.
This information also gives me a good baseline for future comparison. In a couple of months, I can repeat this analysis and hopefully I'll have a lower heart rate for the same pace (or the same heart rate for a faster pace).
I'm not an expert on any of this. I'm just learning about many of the topics discussed above, so the above analysis is based on my very amateurish understanding. There is a ton of info on the internet about heart rate zones.