In this space, we will share the key or favorite workouts of our running friends and provide all the Runivores out there some training tips. Run with a smile, of course, but be ready to take on some pain!! This one comes to us from our Triathlon / Ultra ambassador Mitch Vanhille.
While riding on my indoor bike trainer in my “pain cave”, I ponder what to write for this post. What’s the one piece of advice I could give to you? What is that one inspiration?
Out of the hundreds of things I’d like to share, I’d first like to start some “back to basics”. This applies for both the advanced athletes as well as the beginner/novice athletes who wonders “how do I get faster?”
My advice is simple. There are many types of workouts that can get you faster, including hill repeats and intervals. Yet the key of getting faster lies in “going slow to go fast”.
… “Going slow to go Fast”… Hearing this, I used to believe that was merely a tag line. I was one of those people, A type personality flaw I guess, who thought that I had to kill it at every single workout. Even when I first started to work with my coach, I believed I had to go out and smash it, despite Colin giving me easy runs and rides. On most occasions, I failed to see the importance of these easy runs and rides. I experienced a ‘click’ when I started to respect the “slowness” in my training, much thanks to my coaches “persuasion”.
Let me go back to a bit to the theory of what happens during slow workouts in zone 1-2. First, you begin focussing on training your cardio vascular system and respiratory system. You are strengthening your cartilage and allowing your muscles to recover or slowly strengthen. This is also critical for staying injury free. For those that are looking either at pushing their endurance limits or who simply want to lose weight, it is important note that this is the zone where your body relies quite significantly on fats as a fuel source, versus your carbohydrates storages. Simply put, you are teaching or enabling your body to burn fat.
Aside from the theory, below is my personal experience. As strange as it might sound, my average muscles felt fresher after my slow runs versus before starting them. Even after a 2 hour easy run, I found that my muscles were not put to the test. In fact, this enabled me to fire up my muscles during my next workout. My slow pace went from slow (pace 5:30) to a faster pace (4:50) without my heart rate going up. My heart rate hovered between 118-125bmp when I did my runs indoor and I found that I started losing weight! This was great! I was beginning to start using fats as fuel. However, the bad thing was that I didn’t restore them… yet that is another story for another time.
This approach to training showed best in my race results. I was able to improve my marathon time at the end of an Ironman race by 40 minutes, and ended up with a time of 3h 9minutes, despite being on tired legs.
I am a firm believer in the fast, interval and hill trainings, yet I am also convinced that equally important is to respect the fundamentals of “going slow to go fast”. Believe me, this is more than just a tagline.
I hope this post brings you some inspiration. Happiness happens when you Run/Tri
Good luck to everyone out there!
Mitch aka Triathlonbeast