Question: How easy should I go on the easier runs? I find my heart rate creeping up and end up getting impatient and just begin to charge. Any thoughts?
There are a few components to the easier days that become really important as you continue on the journey ahead. As training ramps up and races loom, the focus on the key sessions gets larger and larger, and this means that we must get the most out of the supporting sessions.
These easier runs becomes central for a few purposes:
- Efficiency: You become a better-butter-burner. You improve the capacity to utilize fat and can begin to develop the aerobic base. We do more than enough intervals, and patience in these sessions assists in foundational work. This is only effective if you really keep heart rate stress under control.
- They enable recovery and performance in the tough sessions that wrap these types of sessions in a block of training. If you go too hard, then your performance and capacity in the really important demanding sessions are diminished.
- We care about tissue health. You simply cannot overload and work at a moderate effort consistently without a massive risk of tissue health issues. This means injury. Going easy develops muscle resilience, but at a lower risk.
With this context -- and to answer the question -- there is no ‘too easy.' Your goal, no -your Mission, is to control heart rate stress on these days. If you drive too strong here, we diminish elsewhere.
If you are one of those runners that finds it really tough to run easy enough, and heart rate climbs to a strong effort almost immediately, you must still adhere.
The route to this is really frequent walk breaks -- even down to strong practiced walking in the session with bouts of occasional form-based running for 30-45 seconds. Whatever it takes to load the muscles, but control the heart rate. You must be completely conversational, enjoy the day, and keep a firm lid on heart rate.
I cannot imagine many being north of 135-140bpm and don’t imagine any athletes wanting to be over 150 bpm in these sessions. The majority will be well below this. Heart rate is an individual variable, but we can keep a lid and controller on it in these sessions, absolutely guilt-free. Enjoy the day. Remember - each session is not a test of improvement.
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