Training Tip – Train slower to run faster and endure longer


My change in running form over 4 months

I had some time to think about saturday’s 7km race in my efforts to learn from it so that I can improve. There were many learnings which I wrote about in the Race Report and I will implement them for my next race, The 5km World Kidney Day Run, this coming sunday. I also wrote in the report about the difficulty I was having with my pace and heart rate. I ran the 7km in 63 minutes which meant that on average I was running at a pace of 9 minutes per km. I checked my Polar Heart Rate Data for that race and it indicated that  my average heart rate was at 87% MHR. My usual pace at running the 5km around the park at home is about 9 minutes per km as well but my Polar would usually indicate an average of about 77% MHR. What does that mean

I knew that on saturday’s race I had started off to fast and my heart rate shot up to 85% MHR and after I struggled to get it down to below 80%. On a normal day of running I would usually start at 65% and gradually and slowly build up to 85%. When I do that, my pace of running gets faster and more importantly my ability to endure that fast extends far longer than if I had quickly jumped to 85% (like saturday). I walked for a bit during the race and I noticed that when I was able to patiently wait for my heart rate to go below 75% before I started running, I go my breath back and my pace was gradually getting faster.

We are about to go into the realms of aerobic and anaerobic workouts which I am just beginning to get a grasp on. I’m not going to go into it now but suffice to say that this is proof that the strategy of training slow to run faster works.

I want to run faster and that’s a definite target but I also want to run for longer durations. I want to be able to run and complete a marathon and still have energy left to run another 10km.

It is possible and the top endurance athletes in the world have proven that. I used to look with envy at athletes competing in long distance events and even though they are fast and push hard, they seem to have energy in them to run forever. The idea of blowing at the end of a race doesn’t appeal to me.

I’m going to write more about my training strategy as I develop my training program for the triathlon and beyond.

For me, every race I run is about learning more about myself.
Learn about how my body is functioning.
Learn about how my mind works.

My goal in the immediate future (6 months) is to be able to run the 5km in 30 minutes but not only that, to be able to run it in 30 minutes at 80% MHR. My 5km at the moment is about 47 minutes at 77% MHR.

Seems an awful lot of minutes to cut doesn’t it? I know 3 things will help me achieve it:

1. I am still 20kg over my ideal weight. People seem to forget that despite my fitness level I am still obese. When I lose the kgs my pace at 80% will increase. By how much? I don’t know yet.
2. I’m continuously working on my POSE Method running technique which will improve my energy efficiency.
3. Every day I run makes my muscles not necessarily stronger but better adapt to the running technique which will also improve my energy efficiency.

I’m currently reading Dr Philip Maffeton’s book ‘Endurance Training and Racing’ which is a super brilliant book. After reading the first 2 chapters of the book I realise and now commit to one objective. It’s not about running fast. It’s about running as fast as my body allows. What that pace is I don’t know. 30 minutes per 5km seems a pretty good target and I know I will learn a lot more about my body from the training I need to put myself through. Even if it turns out that I can only run at a 35 minute pace at 80% MHR and never go faster, I’ll be contend because I know I can maintain that pace for hours and days at a time if I need to.

In fact that suits me just fine.

Train slower to run faster and endure longer.

(see this post written later. By training slow I actually got faster and improve my 5km time)


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