It’s been a few weeks since our last post. We are working diligently for the launch of our new web site and memberships. We left off with the recommendation to don your monitor and start noting (mental or written) the numbers that are shown, associating them with perceived effort. Find that article here.
It’s important to note that the monitor is a gadget. It can, and most likely will, fail when you need it most. Heart rate training is a tool in the tool box, be careful on becoming reliant on it to race and train.
Heart Rate Training is a tool in the tool box.
Aerobic and anaerobic are buzz words that are likely tossed around in local groups or runs. Each refers to the primary two energy systems used in running. Their means to supplying energy to your muscles are largely dependent on your training and the demands of your movement. Low or easy efforts utilize primarily the aerobic system. As intensity increases, an oxygen debt is formed, signaling it’s show time to the anaerobic system.
In a nut shell, low efforts utilize a highly sustainable system called your aerobic system. The system pulls oxygen from the blood and uses it a laundry list of reaction to fuel your movement. Aerobic activity is sustainable as long as you keep your oxygen intake higher than your energy need (O2 surplus); however, there’s a ceiling to your aerobic ability. Low intensity base training has been shown to improve the ability for the blood to carry oxygen, as well increasing mitochondrial concentration. Two things everyone would like to have in extended bouts of comfortable-hard running. Mitochondria are the ‘power house’ of cells and are responsible for pulling oxygen out of the blood to create energy.
Aerobic or ‘base training’ is too often overlooked. There is no glory in running slow. Simply put, it’s quite boring. However, slow, boring miles early in training improve the efficiency of this system as the cells use oxygen more efficiently.
Slow, low heart rate, training improves the efficiency of energy utilization.
Base training is extremely important to your durability. It applies low amplitude repetitive stress to your body, stress which does not promote breakdown (think injury). Plainly put, base training is boring and easy. None the less, it’s important.
Your base training should begin at the start of any training cycle and should last anywhere from 2-6 weeks. Heart rate should range from 70% to 80% of your max heart rate. Remember, it should feel easy. You should be able to hold conversation
Try to avoid being a training all-star, “boasting and posting” regarding your training numbers. Too many athletes train too hard too often. A primary reason races are missed to injury or PR’s seem unattainable due to over training.
Avoid being a training all-star.
Some words of caution: You need to become comfortable applying your heart rate numbers and perceived effort. Over the course of a workout, your heart rate will naturally rise—termed cardiac drift. Think of your heart rate monitor as a governor early in the race, keeping you from over extending your ability early on. Later, your heart rate will slowly drift upwards for the given effort. At this point you need to transition to a perceived effort scale to prevent a continue slowing of pace.
Keep looking at the global picture. You’re “A Race”. There is no glory in running fast during the first few months of training. You will risk burnout, over training, and injury. Utilize a solid base program to prep your body for the harder running to come.
Our upcoming posts will highlight the anaerobic system, the infamous ‘wall’, and when to introduce higher intensity workouts.