Sure, there are some schools of thought that emphasize increasing mileage in order to run faster, but my lifestyle can’t support those school colors. This blog was created on the premiss that as a busy mom you don't have time to spare. Therefore, running a lot of miles for the sake of running miles can't be part of the equation. (Add to that, new studies show runners with excessive mileage don't score any better on heart disease risk than do sedentary people.)
Whatever training I do has to fit into my reality. My reality is three runs a week. So long as I don’t go out to sniff flowers and chase butterflies this works; I'm getting faster on low mileage. My runs often look like this:
One factor I consider for all of these runs is my heart rate. Last fall I did some heart rate testing at Life Time Fitness. Learning my max heart rate, and especially my VO2 max, is the data that guides my training. Usually I'm not so good with data and I've prided myself on training by feel for the last 20 years. I often lose track of what to do with the MHR, VO2, LTHR, PE. All of it makes me want to have a BM
Still I try to head out wearing a Garmin Forerunner 310 strapped to my wrist. Remembering to charge it can still be problematic, but the downloading of the data happens automatically with a USB drive. Andrew, the trainer who tested me, worked real hard to dumb things down into Kindergarten level analogies so I could understand what the numbers mean and why they're important. I'm not even going to entertain the idea of explaining what he said, I will screw that up, for sure.
However, what I know is that I am working to raise my anaerobic threshold so I can go faster longer (as it is, if 5Ks were two miles instead of 3.1 miles I would run the race of my life and have already accomplished my goal). During those training runs it's important for me to not only run at a certain pace, but also run that pace within a certain heart rate. If you don't have a heart rate monitor then use the "talk test." On your harder intervals you'll want to be breathing heavily, but allow yourself to recover in between. Tempo runs won't get you quite as breathless because you'll want to last longer. And for those longer runs, you want to be able to talk the whole time (so bring a friend along!)
My Garmin has become a great training partner. For once, I'm embracing technology! It's entertaining during the run (What's my pace? How far have I gone?) and definitely pushes me to stay focused on my goal for that particular run. However, beware the time suck of analyzing the data after a run or race. Highly entertaining.
When my 5K goal is accomplished, I'm sure I'll take off my Garmin every now and then. I'm still a big proponent of sniffing flowers and chasing butterflies.
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