Last Saturday I ran 11 miles as part of training for the Stevenage half marathon. The aim was to keep my heart rate low, under 140 bpm, throughout. This strategy helps to increase endurance because at this HR level your body burns fat (that we have plenty of) rather than glycogen (that runs out after a time). It's all about building new muscle fibres of the "correct" type. See my previous blog on this subject!
I had to take several walk breaks to keep HR low, mainly when I was halfway up a hill, but not as many as I thought I might. And my average pace wasn't as "slow" as I feared either, a respectable 10:30 min/mile. I hit a lovely flat section through Letchworth, and HR fell so much I was able to speed up.
I noticed some knee, ankle, and shin niggles while running, but these went as soon as I corrected my posture, cadence, and foot strike. Reading Born To Run has reinforced what I've been told previously about running style! I also read this week something Hal Higdon said about having to concentrate on running to do it properly, like you would at work (for example). One of the reasons I don't listen to music when I run, because I like to "hear" my feet and my breathing.
I finished the run in 1 hour and 55 minutes. I was very pleased with how I felt, apart from an aching right knee I didn't feel tired and could have carried on. I didn't take food with me, I'd prefer to avoid gels at the moment, now I'm training to burn fat. It would defeat the purpose to run slow but then take glycogen... I know I can tolerate gels so I'll save them for race day.
This weekend I'm running between 12 and 14 (full Greenway route), nice and slow as before.
Tonight I wanted to incorporate some speedwork into half marathon training. I ran 6 miles, but kept the first mile and a half and last mile and a half slow, with HR aimed at <140. These were my warm up and cool down periods, defined properly by HR.
The mile after my warm up coincided with a Strava segment from Fairfield Park exit to Wilbury Hills roundabout. I wanted to see how fast I could run it, and where I would place in the leader board! Hit my max HR (175) during this mile, which was around 7:35 mile/min pace. And I was 3rd female overall on Strava :)
The mile return was kept slow and low again, then a final fast mile segment before my cool down. Hit 7:22 min/mile and placed 6th overall on Strava for that segment. OK, I'm a bit obsessed with those segments, but I don't like being down the bottom of the board!
Just over an hour run for the 10K, but I'm happy because I achieved everything I wanted to, high and low HR, in the correct training zones, and good pace.
Bring on tomorrow's club run and my next long run! I'm (finally) enjoying running again :)