Slowing Down to Speed Up - Part II

I kicked off 2016 with a post about how I was taking the next 8-10 weeks to slow down my training, building an aerobic base where I never exceed a 140 max heart rate. This requires running slow, walking hills and sitting on my bum in spin class when everyone else is popping up and down for intervals.

In short, it sucks. 

I was near tears on a treadmill run on Thursday. Not only could I not maintain a consistent heart rate--jumping from 128 to 162 back down to 118 (seriously?)--I couldn't run much above a 9:40/minute pace. I ended my "workout" feeling extremely frustrated and low. Having to step off the treadmill every two minutes to get your heart rate down makes for a disjointed and highly unsatisfying workout. 

Two things happened to pull me out of my funk. 

1. My friend Melanie (Runner Girl In A Rocking World) sent me not only words of encouragement, but hard data from her experiment with baseline training. Having followed this training for over a year, she's dropped approximately two minutes off her pace while keeping her heart rate in the low, fat-burning zone. Translation: the girl has become an endurance, fat-burning running beast. Her exact words to me: "I wanted to share this with ya so on days when you think why the hell am I doing this?! You have some proof that this works!!" God bless, Mel. You are a lifesaver.

2. This morning I ran with BSS Christie. I got there early to walk and warm-up so we had some chance at making the 9-minute miles I told her I hoped my heart rate would allow me to do. Having come off Thursday's miserable workout, however, I was doubtful. So I was thrilled when she and I averaged an 8:43 pace for 11 miles! 

It's funny writing that, as it's a full minute or so slower than what my normal average pace might be. But the fact that I held that pace and kept my heartrate low is huge. The goal is to get to that 7:30 pace while maintaining a 140 max. That might not happen until near the end of the 8-week period, but coming off a good run has left me mentally and emotionally energized. 

I'm also working on getting the diet aligned to a primal diet. I did well this week with the exception of a chocolate-frosted cake donut that found its way into my mouth Saturday night. No idea how that happened. 

Today's run was outside in the cool temps. I'm curious to see how the heart rate does tomorrow morning at 5 am, back in the gym. On Thursday, when my heart rate was jacking up to 165 for no reason I could discern, I thought maybe I was picking up the heart rate of the older gentleman running next to me. I'm thinking, "Dude is about to have a heart attack." 

He was probably thinking the same about me.