It’s been 11 weeks since I started training at low intensity. By “low intensity”, I mean running at about 140 heart beat per minute. As I was saying earlier in my blog, I was quite skeptical as to its efficacy. Back when my marathon training partner told me to run at slower pace to build the speed, I thought it did not apply to me because I’ve been running on treadmill for number of years. I somehow thought that running easy meant I was not challenging myself enough. Since I could run faster anyway, I didn’t think I needed slow easy runs.
Only after reading and watching many expert trainers going over their expert training tips, I realized that I may have gotten it all wrong. (If you are interested in reading about why slow easy run is what trainers recommend, you can watch these YouTube videos:
- Jack Daniel’s Easy Running Benefits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veAQ73OJdwY&index=3&list=PLlMHliIIR6Fm3aN2mOZ77fq-eovn5dNn0
- Phil Maffetone’s Heart Rate Monitoring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhZVUuWInKU&index=3&list=PLStI2VmgjGoVx-YJK0kNWZZTf6P2_q9U1)
Since April 18th, I’ve dusted off my heart rate monitor, and started doing much more slow easy runs. It’s been about 11 weeks to date. What I thought I would do is to look back, and see how effective the easy running has been to my running performance.
First, it is a lot easier to put in 30 mile every week with easy runs. When I do my easy runs, I don’t get too tired to run the next day. A little stiffness and soreness in my plantar fascia are about all that bug me the next day. Other than that I don’t feel as challenged to put in about 5 miles for 6 days.
Second, I can see my pace improving gradually at lower heart rate.
The above chart shows my past 11 week training records. The red line is showing my average heart rate during the week’s run, and the blue line is showing my average pace in minute per mile. As you can see, my pace has been steadily rising over the weeks, yet my average heart rate is treading down. That means that the easy running is building my stamina to run faster while lowering my average heart rate.
I feel this improvement while running as well. When I am out for an easy 6 mile run, I always have enough energy in reserve to run the second half of the run faster than the first half (negative split). It was difficult to do earlier when I was running without monitoring my heart rate, and just focusing on my pace. I still remember those runs where I had to walk in the end because I simply didn’t have any more in me to run the last home stretch.
After 11 weeks of easy running, I went from 9:30 minute per mile pace easy runs (at about 140 bpm) to 8:45 minute per mile pace easy runs.
I wonder how much I can improve my pace and endurance. Let me keep at it, and see how far I can go.