My first marathon has taught me many lessons, most importantly, patience. In training for the first, I selected a fairly challenging training plan and ran almost every run at a strong pace. Never really thinking much about recovery. If you run fast in training, you are bound to run fast in a race right? Right….to a point. Being a master’s runner (40+ yrs of age) changes the game a bit. I have to be a little gentler on the body whether I like it or not. I am still learning about running and researching what will be my next marathon training plan. If Fargo is my race, then I have until February to select the right plan for me. Until then I have been experimenting with aerobic base training and heart rate training.
It’s not glamorous, trust me, I used to check my resting heart rate and what it was right after a run, but never gave it much thought beyond that. My opinion was that it really did’t matter and that if you run harder your heart will get stronger. I was wrong. Using a heart rate monitor helps you gauge your effort and keep that effort within the optimal zone for what you are trying to accomplish on each particular run. This type of training is supposed to build up your aerobic capacity and improve your overall running abilities for all distance running. This training encourages you to listen closely to your body and not push yourself to the limit for each run but allow for recovery after every run. It is actually much more detailed than what I touch on here but I can tell you that it has made my runs definitely more enjoyable. I now closely monitor my heart rate during my runs and do not worry about how long it will take me to finish. In fact I enjoy my runs much more at this slower pace because instead of running at the top end of my abilities, I am running in a comfortable heart rate zone.
It has been a relief, training myself not to run by pace on the watch, but by effort. Forcing myself to slow down when the heart rate gets too high and making myself speed up if I take it too easy going downhill. Since my marathon I have been working to safely increase my mileage. In fact I just finished October with 173 miles, my highest month ever, and the week ending November 1st, I logged over 53 miles. If you want to learn more, below are some links with some explanation. I am also open to any thoughts or recommendations from anyone with experience with this type of training.
H.I.T – the book that started it all for me (this is an advanced running book but still has some good tips for an amateur like me)
Aerobic Base Training
Heart Rate Training