I know it’s been a while since my last update, but that was intentional. I wanted to give heart rate training a good 4-6 weeks before I really started to discuss itI am glad I was patient, like the book requested.
So far with the new program, 2 things have happened:
First, I am able to get more miles / days in each week while not feeling more fatigued. I was already running 30-40 miles (totaling 5 days) per week. Now I realize that all of those days were “hard” days. I would go run as hard as I could every session. The goal behind heart rate training is alternating easy and hard days. Now I am running 6 or 7 days a week totaling 40+ miles. Some days are easy and some days are hard. Once I starting getting back into my 17+ mile longer runs again, the weekly totals will be over 50 miles! Check out my activity for October. Not bad, huh?
The second thing happening is that I am running faster at the same effort level (on both easy and hard days)! Check out this graph of my easy (70% max heart rate) 6 mile runs over the past 6 weeks. See what’s happening here? It’s subtle, but the key to heart rate training. ALL these runs were done at the same effort level (average heart rate around 150). However, I have gotten faster at this effort level. Over the course of only 6 weeks I went from running 70% max heart rate at a 13:37 pace to a 10:12 pace and I am still getting faster!
Besides the general easy / hard rule, another good tip to incorporate this into your existing training is the following:
On easy days run a little slower and farther. On hard days run a little shorter, but faster. Slowly the mileages increase and you get faster!
In other words, rather than doing an all out 6 miler, do a 70% max 8 miler. And rather than running a hard 7:30 pace for all 6 miles on a hard day, maybe have a 1 mile warm up (70%), run 4 miles at a faster 7:00 pace, then a 1 mile cool down. You still get your six miles in, but you ran it a little faster at points. Those are quality miles, and you can increase them slowly.
So I would have to say that up to this point I am pretty pleased with my results. Although the program seems a little counter intuitive (run slower to get faster), I am seeing good things happen. I am staying healthy and feeling well rested while getting faster and increasing my mileage. AWESOME!
I’ll keep you all posted on my progress over the next few weeks.