Tuesday, June 8, 2010

is it working?

In the past few months, I have been implementing a "run slower to run faster" element into my training. Instead of beating up my body with a challenging pace run after run, I have slowed it down during the vast majority of my miles. This has allowed me to recovery quicker (less strain on my muscles and joints after each run) and to build my weekly mileage base from 22-25 miles to 38-40 miles. And I.AM.LOVING.IT. (the pride that comes with saying I run 40 miles a week is payoff enough for me ...)

But, I am often asked if the slower pace and added miles are "working." If it's really worth the effort. And until yesterday, I always answered, "Yes. It builds your endurance. And building your endurance will make you a better and stronger runner." And that is true. But, now I have the data to show that this method is having an effect on me - a lower heart rate.

For example, in early May, I was averaging a heart rate between 144-147 for runs of 3-4 miles at 10:00 pace. And now, just about a month later, my average heart rate is 139 on those same runs. Simply put, I do not need to work as hard as I used to in order to hold the same pace. I am gaining cardiovascular strength and endurance. And all those extra miles at a slower pace ARE paying off ...

41 comments:

Colleen said...

That makes me feel much better about my 8 mile run yesterday at a 10 minute pace. It felt really slow, but also really easy, so I'm glad to know it's good for me too :)

Marlene said...

Awesome that this is working for you. Thanks for sharing your experience/stats.

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

You are educating loads of runners about how to allow their bodies to be able to run for years to come and still "race" when they want to. Kudos for doing it and proving it!

Kitzzy said...

That's awesome. Out of curiosity, how slow are your slower runs vs your faster runs?

LauraElaine said...

That is excellent! It must feel great to have the data to back up your hard work!

P said...

So cool that you have numbers to back it up. I've heard of this sort of training and have been considering giving it a try.

Kim said...

That's great news! In my opinion, the slower runs also keep you injury-free. Great job!

Janet said...

Thanks for sharing that info. It is always up for debate on quality/pace vs quanity. I am a slower runner so your argument makes me smile! In fact, I tossed my watch for the past month or so in an effort to focus on the run itself and not the pace. It is amazing how much self-induced pressure that has taken off!

Emz said...

awesome!

I bet you'll stay injury free this way too!?! What can be better than that?!?! :)

Katie A. said...

Nice! I am also, for the first time, not pushing myself on the long runs. I am really attempting to slow down and you're right, recovery is so much easier!

Congrats on the big mileage weeks lady, you are a super woman!!!!

trifitmom said...

i think i want to know more about this run slow to run fast

saundra said...

Thanks for sharing this. Even after your last post on the subject, I have been skeptical. Do you using heart-rate training method and striving for specific zones or just running relaxed?

Sarah said...

Nice work! I think I may try this. Helps with the shin splints and if it eventually leads to better pace and more miles, I'm in! :)

Robyn said...

Interesting about the heart rate improvement. Do you use the monitor sticky thing that came with the garmin or something else?

jamie @ sweatyhugs said...

I'm so intrigued by this update TMB! Very interesting news. I don't know much at all about heart rate/training. I'm glad to know that your new slower pace is really helping you!

bobbie said...

So GLAD to see it is working as I have started trying the same concept. I had the greatest 4mi run ever last night!! Thanks for the advice on running slower to improve!!

Steel Springs said...

This is excellent! Thanks for the update.

Kerrie T. said...

That is awesome. :)

Laurie said...

Very cool! Glad to know it is working. It's hard to slow down but since you posted about it previously I've been trying to on my longer runs. Thanks for the info. :)

Carly said...

Wow, that's really neat. I like that you had the stats to prove that it's working. :-)

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

NICE!! Want to race?? LOL!

Sooo I have noticed you talking about Marathons here and there. Are you hiding something??

FYI you are putting in more miles than I did in Marathon prep for my BQ at Eugene... Hmmmmm!!

Courtney said...

This is really interesting! I've just started running with my HRM and I don't really understand heart rate training, so that's an interesting observation about how yours has dropped.

Kelly said...

Great work on the run slower to run faster method...I'm a firm believer in that as well, although I pretty much always run slow!!

Thanks so much for your kind words on my blog...so glad to have found your's as well!!

aron said...

awesome! i love hearing what works for people... i totally agree that when you are increasing your mileage you really have to watch the speed and get some slower/easier runs in there.

Michelle said...

That's great to know that it is working! I learn so much from your blog -- thanks!!

Cynthia O'H said...

It is hard to run slow but the payoffs are great. Mixing up fast, slow, long and short - they are all important for success.

Thanks for sharing your experience with this. It's a good reminder to all of us.

Tricia said...

very cool, thanks for sharing

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Woohoo! I'm starting my marathon training and I'm also trying to do the whole "run slower" thing. It is soooo hard, but I know it's the best thing! So, I'm glad to hear that it's going well for you! :)

Kovas Palubinskas said...

So great to have concrete evidence of improvement. I'm looking forward to nne day using a HR monitor to track my training.

fitandfortysomething.com said...

wow it is working! how awesome.......

Char said...

I've had to learn how to slow down this year. It's really hard to start off with but the runs I do that are slower and easier leave me feeling better for the rest of the day instead of being trashed.

Karen said...

That's so great! Yay Congrats!!!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i'm not even sure I can tell you how happy it made me to read this!! I used to be slow and steady on most runs and averaged 50 miles a week.. then I freaked out that I wasn't running fast enough and suddenly couldn't get in the mileage and didn't even feel as strong.

now I feel better about slowing down, thanks

Candice @ I Have Run said...

It is nice to know it is worth the change. One of these days I will start wearing my heart rate monitor and running more than 30 miles/week. One of these days...

I keep meaning to ask you about P90X. Do you do it every day like the program tells you to or have you modified it to fit with your running?

Jill said...

Thank YOU for sharing this and the post "Run Slower to run faster". I couldn't agree with you more. I am not the fastes runner and have always enjoyed running at a nice paces that allows me to enjoy the run. I have BEEN SHOCKED to see what Endurance has done to my speed without even working on it. I really didn't even know what ENDURANCE really was until I started training for my marathon.

I love all the training posts you are having. They are right up my ally. THANK YOU.

You hear rate is amazing...I have seen mine lower but not that much. Hopeing over time it will.

Amy said...

Way to go! Congrats.

Anne said...

Thanks for the update...I'm really glad to know that you're seeing some objective improvement...how cool!

Great mileage too :)

Holly said...

Very interesting. Do you find you find you have to commit more time each week to running though?

The appeal, to me, of increasing my speed would be to be able to do my long runs in much less time -- thus freeing up my day more.

runningwithsass.com said...

thats awesome good job. I have no idea what my average heart rate is!

MCM Mama said...

Very cool! Thanks for the info - I really need to start working on getting my mileage back up. Summer heat and no school are not likely to help me with that though.

Shannon said...

That's awesome! I love my heart rate monitor for just this reason...I can see when I am improving :)