Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Speed up by slowing down. No really, I promise." Meh.

Warm tights and 2-cm high Hokas do
battle with 6 inches of snow
After browsing through Trail Runner Nation's archive of podcasts with Philip Maffetone, the Sock Doc, Sunny Blende and her discussion of Metabolic Efficiency Training, Mark Cucuzzella, et cetera, finally I gave in.

I bought a heart rate monitor. And it is ridiculously pink.

I already know I have a high active heart rate. Just putting on my running shoes brings me up in the low 100s. Running up a hill feels like a battering ram trying to escape through my sternum. Oh, and there was the curious fact that despite running 40 miles a week, I never lost any weight, much less fat.

Using Philip Maffetone's 180-minus-your-age formula,  I determined my maximum aerobic heart rate, which would increase my fat-burning ability, reduce my dependency on carbohydrates, and overall make me a better endurance athlete. The idea is that over time, my speed will increase at the same heart rate. So on Day One, I set out for a jog on relatively flat terrain. Running at a comfortably slow warmup 10-minute mile, my heart rate jumped to 170bpm.

Slow down, try again.

After bringing my pulse down to where it needed to be, I slogged along the road, refusing to make eye contact with anyone I passed as I imagined what they were thinking. Her running apparel is beautiful and technical, her shoes amazingly ridiculous but probably also the stuff of the greats, and clearly her legs are taking on a running pattern, but...

Over two miles, an average pace of nearly 13 minutes per mile. Downhill for the better part of it. The day prior, before I sucked it up and bought a HRM, I did an "easy" two-mile run (assuming if it felt easy my HR would be low) and averaged about a 9:30 pace. Misjudged that one by about a lot.

I'm committed to trying this out. This means that on a middle-distance trail run, I'm averaging about a 14-minute mile since I'm walking almost all the uphills, sometimes having to stop in the middle because even walking spikes it above my max aerobic heart rate. Most of today's short run was walked because of the six inches of snow that the city decided should stay on all the sidewalks.

The benefit so far has been that I can slog out a 10-mile trail run and still have the energy to go work a full shift without feeling the need to eat a 1,000-calorie meal before heading out the door. In fact, during my two-hour trail run, I didn't eat or drink a single thing whereas previously I'd be gelling it every half hour and finishing a 21-oz water bottle every 5 miles.

Speed-wise, it's too early to tell if there has been an improvement. But at least my attitude is getting better, and I've been told that is what needs the most development in my life anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment