After reading all about Miss Zippy (who I am obsessed with) and her running plan for her up-coming marathons, I have started to dive head first into internet articles regarding the best and most efficient way to train to not only see ‘time’ results at the finish, but also body results in the form of a leaner, toner you.
Here is a quick run down of the 2 main schools of thought-
1. Run hard and intense (take some rest days…) for most of your runs, with lots of good speed work, tempos, fartleks, etc.
2. Train slowly. Run slowly. Make lots of your runs loooong and slow…. aka MAF training (Maximum Aerobic Function)
***Basically it is this question: Can running slower make us faster?
This guy definitely thinks so after trying it out first hand!!!
When we run slower, supposedly our body will burn fat rather than glycogen. We have much more fat stored, so come marathon day, at mile 20 our body will still be using our ample supply of fat to keep us going and not burnt-out carb/sugar storage.
“In other words, long, slow running teaches the body to burn more fat. The wall a feeling of lightheadedness and overall fatigue that hits around 20 miles is the body’s reaction to running desperately low on glycogen. But a body that has learned to burn fat manages to “spare” glycogen, leaving more for those crucial miles from 20 to 26.”
(from Active online and Runners World author Dave Kuehls)
“How slow is slow? According to Watson, the appropriate pace for slow running is the equivalent of a comfortable warm-up pace. In heart rate terms, it’s zone 1, or about 25 beats per minute below your threshold heart rate.”
Anyways… as I try to get a handle on my health, weight, period, fitness, etc, I have become even more interested and curious as to the best ways to train.
I am awful at slow/recovery runs. I always push myself, which i think is exacerbated by the fact that I do almost all my runs by myself. A partner helps slow you down….
I am most definitely a runner that trains in the Theory 1 school of thought… But that is for no other reason than I feel like I get less of a workout when I run slower and I am so competitive that I just can’t stand to run slow and have people passing me.
If we accept Theory 2, it is definitely not an easy path to take. Heart rate monitors are required in order to practice running at a low heart rate (and becoming efficient, over time, at that heart rate). This means on hills, you most likely will have to WALK (for the time being) in order to keep your heart rate down. Walk?!?! But we are runners!!! Yes, everything about this training plan is a very humbling experience, as Miss Zippy points out on her every update.
It is a slow process of improvement… and the question for us is, are we willing to sacrifice our “normal” training of tempo runs, fartleks, intervals, hard days (with some easy) to run slow?? Do we have the patience? Do we have confidence in the theory?
Can running slower help us run faster??
I would love to hear your thoughts!!!!
Which theory are you? Would you try training slower (much slower) than your normal runs?