Do you want more energy running?
Have you ever run 21km and then been so full of energy that you wanted to do it again straight away? Nope, me neither. Until today. First, let’s make this clear. I’m not some kind of crazy elite runner who can smash out a marathon at the drop of a hat. And so running 21km twice was not something that I ever thought I’d want to do. I usually get to the end of a run and think I couldn’t go another step, whether that was 5km or 20km.
But today was different. Today I felt amazing. Today I felt like I could run forever. Cue Forrest Gump!
Today was my first long run based on heart rate. After my metabolic testing, I’ve been given a program to follow for three sessions per week based on heart rate. I still do other sessions not based on heart rate, but there are two intervals and a long run based on my ‘sub threshold zone’. The sub threshold zone is the zone where your muscles are not in a lactic state. Exercising in this state teaches your body to utilise fuel more efficiently. For me, my sub threshold zone is between 133 and 142 beats per minute.
I took note of my heart rate during my speed session warm up the other day and thought that for my long run I’d be running at around 6:30 pace. I forgot to factor in some time fatigue and hills and so whilst I started around 6:30 pace my average was around 7:06 / km.
It took me a couple of kilometres to get use to, but I quickly became aware of the feeling of when I was under sub-threshold pace, when I was in it and when I was over it.
When the run was over, everyone was commenting how tough it was. And yeah, it’s a tough run. I’ve done it before and been exhausted at the end and in need of a nap, but today I felt like I was jumping out of my skin with energy. I went home and didn’t feel like a nap, didn’t feel exhausted, didn’t feel smashed.
Don’t get me wrong, my legs were a bit stiff and sore from the impact of running but I was full of energy.
Ok, so that’s one run, maybe it was a fluke, maybe it wasn’t, but I didn’t put my body in a lactic state and so my recovery was much better. It will be interesting to see what happens next time.
I’ve also read a few books (including Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra) about this and how running your long run at a slow pace actually helps you become faster (you run some sessions faster, but your long, slow run has to be slow!)
For me, my sub-threshold zone is around 55% – 65% of my V02 max – which you can read about in more detail here.
What do you think? Do you think you could run slow enough to keep in your sub-threshold run, and not let your ego in the way thinking that you are way better than this slow run. Check out my smile! I was having the best time!
There’ll be more updates over the coming weeks as I get more into the program and track my results further.