Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Long Slow Distance

On Saturday morning I headed out for a run. 

My goal: run for an hour and keep my heart rate at 80-85% of my max. That, based on my calculations, was 144-153 beats per minute. 

I would not pay any attention to my pace. I would not care how far, or how not far, I made it in those 60 minutes. 

I was sensible enough to pick a route that did not have hills of any kind. I may one day be able to climb a hill with a heart rate under 153 beats per minute but I didn't think I'd be up to the task on the first try. So a flat route it was. 

I headed out and it took a grand total of 400m to reach 150 beats per minute. 

So I slowed right down and resolutely refused to care about how slowly I was running. 

The rest of the run went something like this: 

Look down and see a heart rate of 160 beats per minute and a pace around 6:50 minutes per kilometre. 

Slow down until my heart rate went down to 155 bpm. My pace, by that point, was about 7:50 minutes per k. 

Then, over a few minutes, I would find that my pace sped up to about 7:00 min/k with my heart rate holding steady at about 157 bpm. 

A few minutes after that I would find my heart rate back up to 160 bpm and a pace faster than 7:00 min/k. 

Slow down. 

Repeat process. 

It was a subtle game of ups and downs but, what I did notice most of all was how easy it was to run. 

I ran for an hour and felt like I had hardly run at all. I honestly believe that I could have run another hour at that pace with no issues. I also believe that I could have held a conversation the entire time which, for anyone who has run with me in the past, is pretty impressive. I'm usually limited to one or two words between gasps. 

So I did not set any land speed records but I am inspired by how much easier it was to run. 

From what I understand, if I keep doing this, I will slowly increase the pace that I can run while keeping my heart rate down. One day I should be able to run at my usual pace with a lower heart rate and, fingers crossed, I may be able to run at a faster pace with less effort. 

The numbers: 
- I ran 9k and every single one of them took over 7 minutes to run. Normally that would only happen in strong winds or when the streets are snow-covered. 

- I was technically supposed to keep my heart rate under 153 beats per minute but that proved to be really difficult so I focused on keeping it under 158 bpm. I have no idea if those 5 extra beats are problematic but it made it much easier to do so I did it. It still a big drop from my usual 170+ bpm on Saturday morning runs. 

I'm already looking forward to next weekend to see how it goes when I add another 20-30 minutes to my run. 

1 comment:

  1. This is great! If you run with me, you will find that the words I'm often saying between gasps are something like "Slow the f--- down, Jeff. You've got a long way left to go." Or the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. You know, the usual stuff.