Slowing Down to Speed Up

I’ve shifted my training the past few weeks, and the past week in particular.  So far my training through the half marathon last year and more recently has been simply go out and run, and run longer each week.  And then of course you know how you load up with carbs in preparation for longer runs so you don’t run out of energy.  

Something has always seemed just out of whack though with some of that.  From discussions with people, some things I’ve read up on, etc., I’ve made a move to trying for a few weeks a different approach to my training runs.  I made the commitment to train for the next few weeks at no higher than a 130 bpm heartrate.  I’ve done two runs now like this, and it has been interesting.  Essentially what I do is have my Endomondo announcing my heartrate every minute, when I’m over 130, I slow down.  If I’m under 130, I pick it up a slight bit, just focusing on keeping as consistent as possible.  

For all that I’ve run the past year, I’m astounded at how slow I have to run to have my heart rate at 130, to the point that I have to slow to a walk at times.  The first time I did this, I averaged about an 18 minute mile.  When I did it again yesterday, 2 days later, it was closer to a 17 minute pace.  I don’t know for sure what to expect honestly going forward, but it’s based on some reading I’ve been doing and discussions with people, and it made sense to give this a look and see what kind of improvement I might see.  

In some ways it feels like torture to slow myself down that much.  Of people I’ve seen who’ve tried a similar approach, they’ve all said the same thing and yet have found it to be a very effective approach in the long run, even from those who tend to run much more quickly than I do.  Some swear by the approach, even though it’s very different than anything I’ve tried before.  As I look at it, I figure that the worst that could happen is it slows down my training if it’s not very effective, and if that’s the case I just adjust and go for a different half a little later than the Colfax half in May.  

It’s too early to say, other than so far I feel really good after the training runs.  Guess we’ll see how the rest of it goes eh?



About Ron Walter

I'm just a guy who was so out of shape he couldn't run to get out of the rain. I'm taking my life back. It's not always perfect, not always successful. The victories though are greater than the defeats. I plan to keep it that way.
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3 Responses to Slowing Down to Speed Up

  1. I’ve never heard of that approach before, but it sounds interesting. Will be good to know how it affects your progress over the next few weeks.

    • Was it you that mentioned the Big Book of Endurance Training? I think you said something about it. There are two books that I got the information from – that and Metabolic Efficiency Training. The idea is to train your body to burn more fat during the long runs and thus have less need for carbs, not have to go through the sugar highs and lows that come from pumping all the gels and goos into yourself.

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