Why Base Training Sucks (But Still Works)

Back in January, I began my “quest” to slow down in order to speed up. In a nutshell, for two months I've kept my heart rate at or below 140 for all training.

To say it’s been a challenge is an understatement. The incessant beeping of my heart rate monitor watch as it climbs to 141 and above has been my constant companion. As has my liberal use of the F-bomb. (Note to self: Base training and vowing to curse less are incompatible goals.)

I’ve got a week or two of training left. Here are the highs and lows.

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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. 

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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. 

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