I was informed that my strategy for running all out, feel the pain plan is not a good one for endurance sports. Part of the Team Z education has been that I need to work on heart rate training.
What it is and how it works:
Heart rate training is supposed to increase your performance at a given level of effort/heart rate zone.
There are about five zones:
Zone 0- You're dead, asleep, passed out with a bag of potato chips next to you.
Zone 1- You're sitting, typing your blog, etc.
Zone 2- Lower level effort, you can say about 6-8 words between breaths, you are mostly burning fat for fuel.
Zone 3- Working a bit harder, jogging/running, burning about 50/50 fat and carbs.
Zone 4- Pushing it, running hard, 1-3 words between breaths, mostly burning carbs.
Zone 5- Working it like the rent is due. Full on running as hard as you can. A bonk or heart attack is imminent. At your anerobic threshold and beyond.
Why this matters:
If you are like me, you have a much more plentiful stock of fat to burn for fuel, and a limited supply of carbs stored in your system. You could probably run a 5k in Zone 4 and not run out of fuel, but you can't run a marathon or other long race in Zone 4. Attempting to do that results in the dreaded bonk.
You got caught up in the adrenaline, you weren't paying attention, or you just felt good. Either way, you ran in too high a zone too early in your race and ran out of fuel. You burned through all your carbs like an Escalade doing 90 with the AC on. Sure, you could try to drop it to Zone 2, but it's too late. Even in Zone 2, you're still burning some carbs, they're the kindling for the fat fire. And now you're out. You feel like you can't go another step. All you want to do is find and eat sugar.
Since my ultimate goal is long course, I'm attempting to do some Zone 2 training. It is painfully boring. I'm at Zone 2 just walking on the treadmill. I'm in Zone 4 jogging at a 4.8. Boring, boring, boring.
Don't even get me started about the complete lack of pride in that work out. I get distracted because I don't want the people on the treadmills around me to think I'm a sissy. It has sucked the joy out of running.
Patience is not my greatest virtue.