Slowing Down to Speed Up - Part I

Slow down. That's the motto for 2016. At least when it comes to my training. 

Over the holidays, I devoured the new Mark Sisson/Brad Kearns book, PRIMAL ENDURANCE. As an endurance athlete, I've always felt the Primal lifestyle with its emphasis on avoiding what they refer to as "chronic cardio" (and what I refer to as "daily life") eluded me. I train hard and I train often. I like working up a sweat. I like pushing myself in workouts to go a little faster, a little further. And I LOVE a regimented training schedule. Not to mention--no surprise here--I thrive on the ego boost that comes from being "that girl" at the gym or the race who's always crushing it. 

Turns out I'm doing it all wrong. I've always known I overtrain but this book was like a personal message directed to me. Everything--everything I do is contributing to early aging, injury, reduced speed and chronic mental/physical stress. 

Party poopers.

But the science is there and I'm willing to experiment. Without giving away the farm, the basis of this book is that the body requires, and will thrive on, periods of rest and periods of hard workouts. That to in fact get faster and stronger, the secret isn't to go out and crush every workout. Rather, success comes from restraint and transforming the body from a sugar-burning machine into a fat-burning machine. 

To do this, I need to SLOW DOWN. I bought a heart rate monitor and, starting January 4, for 8 to 10 weeks, I will not exceed a 140 max heart rate. This means longer, slow runs, no group bike rides with friends where we push the pace, dialing it way back in spin class (or skipping spin class), no heavy weight lifting and checking my ego at the door. 

It's fair to say I'm somewhat dreading this. The saving grace is that it's a challenge and we all know I love a challenge. Plus, I believe this will work. I'll be testing along the way. On Monday, I'll run 45 minutes at the 140 heart rate and record my distance. Two to three weeks from now when I test again, I should be able to go farther and faster while maintaining the same heart rate. 

Slowing down is not my style, but I've got my eye on a 2017 Ironman. I believe this plan will help get me there, stronger, faster and injury free. 

Fingers crossed, people. Fingers crossed.