Heart Rate Training 2 – Be like Ed.

So, you have read Heart Rate Training – part 1. If you haven’t just click on the highlighted section now.

Now let’s unpack the the Yin/Yang – Hard/Easy concept.

Runners who do not understand their heart rates will often run within a very narrow band of heart rate. Their easy runs will be too hard and their hard runs will be too easy. This will result in them running at pretty much the same speed, year in, year out and throughout most of their distances.

heart rate 2

Benefits of easy runs.

Easy runs, those are at heart rates below the lower of the two figures that you calculated, will have the following benefits:

  • They are refreshingly easy. You run comfortably and have time to look around and smell the roses.
  • They help your body burn fat as its primary fuel source.
  • They help you run more efficiently. There will be times when you look at your watch and notice that your heart rate is low – one point to you. Then you look at your speed and realize that you are really going slowly, and so with that you modify your gait slightly, and at the same heart rate, register a better speed.
  • They help your body recover. You cannot drive your engine in the red constantly without something breaking down.
  • They help your body become stronger. Slow running allows you to run longer and thus build the muscles that help you keep form.
  • They are easier on your muscles and joints and so present less injury risk.
  • Easy runs leave you looking forward to your next fast session.

Benefits of hard runs.

  • Running fast is fun.
  • Getting your heart rate up above your higher figure will develop your cardiovascular fitness.
  • Running fast will help you develop the muscles that need to fire hard to the max. Calves, hamstrings, glutes – you name it.
  • Running fast helps you psychologically adjust to the levels of pain that you can in fact deal with.
  • Hard runs get your body to tap into your glycogen reserves.
  • Hard runs leave you looking forward to your next easy run.

Older runners will benefit doing maybe one hard run for every two easy runs. Do a bit of google research on a runner called Ed Whitlock. His times in both his 70’s and 80’s will leave you astounded. His marathon time for 70 years and up – 2.54.48. A lot of his training is at slow pace. Here is an article to get you going, and two excerpts from the article –

“I was very conscious about not making big leaps in my training. I was also conscious about keeping the speed relatively slow. I shuffle along to reduce the impact, rather than bounding. I don’t know what the relative importance of these things is, but the mileage is what has turned me into a marathoner.”

“In his sixties he increased the volume of training with a focus on long slow long runs most days of the week, while reducing the speed work, largely relying on occasional fartlek session and frequent races.”

You can read the full article here –  https://canute1.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/the-training-of-ed-whitlock/ We will continue with this theme next week.


In summary –


Mike Roscoe.
Mike Roscoe




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