Eric has been my coach for many years.  In the beginning, I was not a big fan of HR monitors.  It took some getting used to.  Now, it has become a great tool and gives me information about myself during my runs.  It has just been in the last few years that I have begun to appreciate my zone 2 runs.  

At first, I didn't pay much attention to them, they were just slow easy runs. I was eager to get through them.  Now, I take advantage of them and I am learning more about my running through them. They are a viable part of my training.

Not all runs have to be about pace or distance.   During these runs I focus on my form .  I go through a mental check list ; how is my posture, am a clenching my fists, are my feet landing underneath me, is my cadence high, what does my breathing pattern sound like....  It is also a good time to practice drinking and fueling, depending on the length of the run.  Basically, I use these runs to help me become a more efficient runner.  

The longer the run the more focus it takes because as my mind wonders my pace will either pick up or slow down.  Having good form in this zone takes practice and patients.  I notice that as I get better on these runs, my running as a whole improves.  

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Comment by Margot W on March 24, 2014 at 4:23pm

Paul, stay positive and PATIENT .  Keep me posted on your recovery.

Comment by Paul Weeks on March 24, 2014 at 2:44pm

Hi Margot,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. That's really interesting and encouraging. I think the most difficult thing about being injured is the uncertainty, not knowing when/if you'll be running again, so focusing on all the other things in life that are worthwhile is a great philosophy. I'm enjoying your posts - looking forward to racing again myself, but staying cheerful and upbeat in the interim (my wife can't believe it! - I normally get really grumpy when I can't run).

Comment by Margot W on March 23, 2014 at 8:37am

Hi Paul.  I really struggled at first not knowing if I was going to run again.  Eric gave me great advice.  He kept reminding me that I do not "need" to run.  I run because it is something I love to do but it is NOT something I need.  Once I got this through my thick head I was able to slowly let go and it became a lot easier.  I also focused on the things that I could do.  Eat healthy, strength train, cross train ....I did other things that I enjoyed like reading, gardening, cooking.  It took about 8 months before I was able to test it in a race.  

Comment by Paul Weeks on March 23, 2014 at 4:52am

Hi Margot,

You're quite an inspiration! The thing that impressed me most in Eric's book is his description of your rehabilitation from ankle ligament injury. That must have felt pretty permanent. I was wondering how long it took you to recover, and how you coped with the frustration of not being able to run. I'm off running for 6 weeks with knee problems, and while the physiotherapy seems to be working, it seems painfully slow!


Comment by Jay Mijares on March 14, 2014 at 7:44pm

I'm glad you mentioned heart rate monitor training.  I have one and used it diligently for several years, but earlier this year I just forgot about heart rate because I was obsessed with speed and distance.  Then I started to suffer from fatigue and restless sleep.  I realized that I had been training in the higher zones for almost four weeks straight.  Just this past week I started looking at the heart rate readings again and slowing down…

Comment by Margot W on March 14, 2014 at 2:19pm

I was thinking about that on our run the other day.  10 years! Time flies when you're having fun.

Comment by Eric Orton on March 14, 2014 at 12:58pm

Thanks Margot.  FYI everyone, Margot is the Star of Chapter 9 of The Cool Impossible.  She has a lot of training advice to offer, as she has endured my coaching for almost 10 years now, wow!  Hit her up with questions and you might even ask her what snake she plans to encounter while sleep on her epic stage race she has planned for this year.

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