Got a question about heart rate zones and the effect of training below an aerobic zone.
For some reason I got the impression that running slowly was the way to go to build up a better base. The last 13+ week I have been running at about 124 bpm with a heart rate monitor. Long runs, short runs, outdoor and on a treadmill. Once a week I would do a 'hill' workout on my treadmill and raise my heart rate to 160 plus for 4 minutes and cool down inbetween. My long run on the weekend would be at the same 124bpm rate.
I got into a dicussion over the holiday with my brother who told me that I was crazy and that the body would not acheive gains unless burning in the aerobic zone. I was a little ticked off because I was speeding up my pace over this period of time and started to run six times a week with several second runs thrown in. I also have been doing Erics strength curciut for the past six weeks. I latter cooled my irritation to go back on the net and see if there was any information about training below the aerobic threshold, I couldn't find any.
I know that I had gains and was probably changing my body to use more of the lattic acid to fuel my excercise. I was running for 1 hr at a time. I am going to step up my training anyway, but was wondering if there is any benifit to continue to run in this low zone to hold on to any benifits that I did get by running in the zone.

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Hey Paul - WOW, loaded question. Books are written about this! Your body will adapt to any type of training you do, which is why you are acheiving gains. Running slow serves a variety of purposes, but if this is all you do ONCE you have established a good base, your body will adapt to this and your running will not continue to improve. Doing hills, threshold runs, aerobic capacity and economy intervals all go into developing a good run base and build run strength.

So I feel a more important question at this point is what is your run goal? I feel the most important aspect of training is having a goal, which dictates your training, so then every run has a purpose.

My goal is to be a more effeicient runner. I am looking at a long term goal of being a healthy runner. No injuries. I have a marathon on my radar for April. I have a 50 miler on the radar for Sept. If I can run faster, now, I will be able to train for the 50 better. If that makes sense. I ran on the treadmill today at the 180 - age plus 5 (144) to see where I was at and held a 7:30 pace at an .5 incline @ 144bpm for eight miles. From what I understand is I trained my body to switch to the lactic system after I burned the glycose at the lower heart rate 30 to 40 minutes into my run. I usually eat within the hour before I run. Today I actually felt the point where my body switched from one system to another and then another, to fuel. I felt muscle fatigue at the 20 to 35min than felt ok til 50min(felt like the end of an hour at the low hr run) and than the relax as it switched into the fat system. I quess my real question is how do I hang on to the three systems of glucose, fat and latic acid burn, best. I have a goal of a Boston Qualifyer 3:20 in April. Not because I want to go to Boston, but because it is a good goal.
I plan on training twice a day five days (60m/45m) and long run on weekend with a midweek hill or tempo run. I really can't beleive my 7:30 pace, 13 weeks ago I was running 10minute miles at 134 to 140. I did changed my running candence and stride while running at that low heart rate. Have viewed the videos several times to make sure I am not missing anything.
So, for now(next month or so), the purpose of my runs is to burn fat to lower my bmi, (I have maintained my weight) so as to carry less of a load and to maintain the speed gains. But, I still want to maintain the lactic system to help me through the end of a marathon and the 50. If, indead that is what is happening.
Hi Paul - First off, your body is producing lactate ALL the time, not just at certain intensity levels. What changes as the intensity increases is your body's ability, or lack of ability to clear the lactate from your body. Once the body can no longer clear lactate as fast as it is producing it, you will slow down. The great thing is that this is very trainable, as you can improve your ability to run at this effort and create more tolerance. Lactate is very very important for energy transport.
From a coaching standpoint, it is very important to understand the different energy systems (aerobic, threshold, vVo2, aerobic capacity, neuromuscular) that are needed to train appropriately to improve as a runner, based on chosen race distances. A very balanced runner would train all of these systems at some point. So I would really recommend you not use the age formula and research other, more proven field tests to establish your HR training zones. I am not a big salesman, but all my training programs start with a HR test and walk you through designing 7 HR training zones that correspond to each workout - just FYI.
Lastly, you mentioned your goal to burn fat to lower your bmi. Keep in mind there is a big difference in burning fat and training in a fat burning zone to train your body to utilize fat more efficiently for fuel during long runs. The best and most efficient way to burn fat is to burn calories, not by running long and slow in a fat burning effort.
You may enjoy reading my blog post on the Myth of a Long Run.
Hope this helps - E
Finally got around to reading Myth of a Long Run. After two weeks of cranking up the HR and speed. I see what you mean. My legs did get srong during that first build phase of running below aerobic, with threshold hill climbs once a week, at that slower speed.
Two week into a different zone (I have been surging tempo miles on my runs, and doing low end aerobic HR zone recovery runs) My legs are strong for the runs and my cardio is fit for the runs, but boy do I feel it in my legs. I guess I will have to build strenght for faster running from here. I was thinking about the long runs and how they would play into a marathon train. Went on a hilly 11 miler for a base test at my new target HR pace, raced down the hills and slow up hills. My HR and pace didn't transfer to the road from all the treadmill work. Was a minute below target pace. Thus, I need to build strength at my new speed?.
On a side note I was seriously wondering if you have anything published for purchase, or online(other than here) for reading.
Hey Eric !- Is it possible to set 2 different goal at the same time??? My goal for the summer is an ultra (56K trail) Is it reasonnable to set a goal for a very fast 5k race in the spring? or will it be a bit too much and compromise my training for the long race? I think It can be ok and i could just see the 5K as a very good speed training, but i want to be shure cuz I know the 56k will be kind of hard on me! Can you ligth me with that one?
Sure, but instead of viewing this as 2 goals, view it as one, as they are not independent of each other! Many ultra runners make the mistake of just running long, slow miles, neglecting other energy systems. Running long is very important for doing well at a 50k+, but if that is all you do, it will make you slower. I have a feeling you know this and do quite a bit of good, short hard stuff. So, I think doing some early season 5k training would be a great way to improve your speed, which could then be carried over to your specific 56k training, improving your strength endurance for that race. This is a big part of my training philosophy, building strength first and applying it to race specific long runs.

So have at it and keep us informed on how your training is going - E
I have read up a little bit on the zones. BTR turned me on to this site. The only thing that I was disappointed in was that CM did not get into the nuts and bolts of your training with him. I have previewed your plans, but at this time I think I would be a terrible train. I stay at home with 2 kids under 4, have one in school and, as of yesterday, have a new baby! My wife works irregular hours and is on call with a pager. (Can't leave to run for days sometimes) So my first goal I set has been met. I wanted to have the energy to get up with my new little and work out.
180-age pace was for a benchmark. I did three runs at the pace and have sore hamstrings. I will very my workouts a little more. And build from the base. My lungs don't feel tired when I run like before. I can feel my heart rate changes in my muscles. At some point I will have to take that thing off. Thanks for clearing up the lactate system for me. With the new addition to the family I will have to sneak in some runs when my wife doens't need me to help recover from her section.
I did some tempo surges today and will do ladder paced work out in the future. Thanks for posting the strenght blogs and emphasizing form. I feel the runs in my medius, hams and quads...not my lower back, hip and knee.
The testiments from the people on this site is salemanship enough and training CM was probably better!
>The only thing that I was disappointed in was that CM did not get into the
>nuts and bolts of your training with him.

I have the same curiosity about the training plan CM had followed, as I could not find the details anywhere, as CM never wrote training-log-level details anywhere that I know of.
Maybe E could write a suplemental book.....'The training of Christopher"
I would buy it. Paperbook with two columns on each page. One side has what CM did and the other space for your own training log!
Maybe Eric does not do this because he is selling training programs for a price much higher than that for a book?
A personalized training program is more valueable than a book.
It was more of a ha-ha. People would start to train off of it, and that would be a disaster.
Spent the last month varying my training with different HR, hills and paces.
Legs are as sore as when I first started back, but now are starting to recover faster. Ran a 'tempo' workout on the treadmill today (Monday) 6 mi.
I have pimped my treadmill with 25 # weights, so I can run downhill. This is after a 16 miler in the snow that took 2 and 1/2 hrs on saturday. My cadence has increased to 176-180. 10 weeks to Marathon. My treadmill pace time is not tranfering to the road. It is what it is. Will work on getting cadence endurence this month. Is there such a term?


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