Saturday, 18 July 2015

My 145 BPM Heart Rate Training - Update 3 2015

Hello again my friends and running family. 

It's been almost 6 months since I commenced this seasons training, training using the Maffetone method of using my heart rate (180 - my age) as the measure of my consistency and effort levels. 

To make a potentially long blog shorter, I started using heart rate training in our Summer to monitor my effort levels and to train consistently regardless of heatwave or not, morning or night. For my EZ runs I run at 145 +/- 5 beats regardless of distance or elevation variance. 

Heart rate training works

I'm happy to share that I've reached a happy place. 

What have I learned in these six months? What have I gained? 

  • The machine and the beast.
My EZ runs are where I am the machine. I focus on my form: Cadence, the POSE lean, relaxed hands and breathing - 3 in to every 2 out. Run like a metronome - 180 strides per minute, lift your knees and place the feet, landing midfoot. 

The HI sessions is where you run like a beast. You push the body to it's limits. Your breathing is labored and 2 in to 1 out if you manage, you drive forward with your knees and your arms push the momentum forward. These are the moments of the last kms of a race where you dig deep. 
  • Consistency is king.
I was told at the Great Ocean Road Half Marathon that I was like a metronome - my pacing and cadence were that consistent. I've found that my EZ runs are almost like clockwork. At the given time of day, I find that I run at an average pace within 5-10 seconds per km. I have five routes that I like to use and on each one I have gradually brought down my average pace by about 5 seconds per km a fortnight over the last 6 months. 

  • Time of day matters.
I had done a little bit of reading about using your circadian rhythm (the natural ups and downs of your heart rate and energy levels) to match your workouts to the appropriate intensity level. Last year nearly all of my running took place at about 6:15am in the morning and I had the luxury of almost any time of day on the weekend. 

This year I have needed to change my routine to running at 5:15am two or three days a week and one 5:15 - 5:30pm run of an evening. I also have the luxury of the weekend run at any given time. 

My reading suggested that EZ runs should take place early in the morning and your HI (high intensity) runs are best later in the day to match your circadian patterns. 

My am runs are generally run between 5:10 - 5:20 km pace. These are run after a warm up of 2x20 push-ups, 2x20 squats, 2x20 clams or calf raises. 

My pm runs have come down from an average of 5:15 pace to my most recent run at 4:38 pace. They hovered at 4:55-5:05 for last couple of months before I changed my weekly work out pattern. You can follow me on Strava to see what I do. 

I don't know what it is, but matching my HI to the evening has also helped my push my limits and hit speed and HR highs. 

  • Intensity is vital
To race hard you have to train hard. I am in a happy place at the moment, with my 'flat' race time down to a very consistent 3:51-3:54 km pace. 

As I mentioned, I plateaued for a while. I think this was just before the start of the race season where I had been in the building phase and limited to 145HR runs for all sessions. Since reintroducing a weekly HI session selected from; hill sprints (up and down), Increasing HR pyramids to max and down to 145, Diminishing km tempo runs and uphill tempos I've seen my pm EZ times come down rapidly. I've put this down to getting the right mix of intensities. 

Train hard, race hard

  • You've got to enjoy it!
Most importantly, I've loved each and every training session I've had. 

I love my EZ runs, and seeing the pm times come down is highly motivating. I also really look forward to my weekly speed sessions where I can unleash and really run. 

With another two Salomon Trail series races to come and the City2Sea as a minimum on the race calendar I will continue to follow my HR training through to the end of the year. Make sure you follow along to see where my EZ pace ends up (or down if I'm getting it right). 

Happy running my friends. 

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