Embrace the Slow
I have been reading a lot lately about heart rate training where instead of speed, you focus on your heart rate during runs. For long runs, your heart rate should be in Zone 2, moderate runs should be Zone 2/3, and then hard runs in Zone 3 (maybe a little in Zone 4). Your heart rate zones are as follows:
Zone 1: 60-70%
Zone 2: 70-80%
Zone 3: 81-93%
Zone 5: 94-100%
This is pulled from a http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/heart-rate-training-is-it-right-for-you
If you can’t tell by looking at this, staying in Zone 2 is hard as hell. Alright, maybe just for someone like me who is trying to build a better running foundation and runs slow as molasses (Seriously, today, I think I saw molasses moving faster than me.) It is almost impossible. At least, that’s what today felt like.
Yesterday, I did a fabulous hill run with the flats in Zone 2 and the hills in Zone 3. I felt on top of the world and amazing and everything you could ever hope from a run all at once.
Then I did my long run with a Zone 2 target. It really came down to controlling my breathing and speed to keep my heart rate down. However, this meant I was going super, duper slow. You cannot even imagine it. After hitting just over three miles at 40 minutes, I was close to tears. As an already slow runner, making myself go even slower was really upsetting. I felt embarassed. I was frustrated.
However, I kept thinking about the long term benefits of training my body to try to run better at lower heart rates. This will help my endurance, my speed, everything about running. I have been pushing myself too hard in runs, and I think that this will help with recovery along with all the other benefits.
I recommend reading this Runner’s World article: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/how-use-heart-rate-monitor?page=single
I am going to give it a try for a month and see how it goes. Hopefully this frustrating part passes soon!