Training to Run with Heart Rate Zones

I have run since being a child with only one real purpose and one intervention in how I do that until now, the second intervention of training with heart rate zones!

Purpose: My purpose was speed, to complete a certain distance in a certain time. And hopefully a better time that I had ever done.

Intervention 1: Nose Breathing: The intervention that I had many years ago was deciding to breathe only through my nose. Since reading a book on the tribe that live in the Barrios Valley between New Mexico and Mexico, a people who run everyday of their lives. That made enough sense for me to change and it had a very positive effect.

  • Nose Breathing Impact: It may sound simple and yes it is BUT it is NOT EASY to breathe only through your nose hen you run. When I started first, I could not run as fast with only nose breathing as I could when using also my mouth. It reduced my pace. I was slower. It was frustrating but it was only TEMPORARY. With time and training I slowly increased my pace while nose breathing until I got back up to and beyond my original pace and I have never looked back.
  • Interesting Nose Breathing Event: At the beginning of nose breathing, I would often go beyond my capacity to breathe through my mouth with my legs and my arms and then would on occasion engage mouth breathing to give myself relief. There was a clear threshold beyond which I wanted to engage my mouth to breathe. With the runs, I had a choice to go beyond that limit and engage my mouth or stay below that limit, or so I thought! I remember the first occasion when I went above my nose breathing capacity but kept my mouth closed. What happened next shocked me and thrilled me. As I pulled breath in through my nose everything was normal even though I felt that this was as much as the airways through my nose could handle. And then as I when to breathe our, I could feel the pressure of the air as it was going through my nose airways. It was too much! And then I felt a new set of airways that I was unaware of until that moment in my life, the airways through my ears opened up. There were air values in my ears that I was completely oblivious to until that point. These ear airways released the extra air that my nose did not have the capacity to giving me the relief that my nose airways wanted and excited the hell out of me! I felt like a race horse!

Intervention 2: Heart Rate Zone Training: So what do I expect? I expect to have a similar downgrade in my speed and pace by monitoring my heart during my runs in the short term. And the idea was that it would take some time to build up my fitness from the bottom up. How long it will take I do not know. How frustrated I will be will be the hardest thing to deal with unless I begin to understand how it all works and building a picture of what I may expect.

My first “Easy” run (~Zone 2: 60–70% OF Maximum Heart Rate): It was planned to be a simple 5 minute warm up, 30 minutes at Easy Pace and 5 minutes cool down. But I did not really know what “Easy” meant.

As you will see from the graph below, I thought I was going easy but was up in Zone 3 (Aerobic) and Zone 4 (Threshold) almost straight away. I thought I was going easy but I did not understand firstly that Zone 2 was the Easy Zone. After a few minutes I thought I better check if Zone 2 is called “Easy”.

When I got down to Zone 2, it was called “Easy”. I found it!

But how slowly am I going, practically a walk. The closest thing to a walk that was a jog! A little extra effort put me in Zone 3 Aerobic. This feels ridiculous!!!

But let’s go with it! I kept it up for the remainder of the 30 minutes. Then was the cool down, I guessed that I should walk and felt that I walked faster than the training session! These will be new Easy Runs!

For the first time in ages, I got home without being drenched in sweat! I had just a light sweat from this ‘Easy’ Run. After my shower, I had the feeling of having just done a Yoga class or something of that nature. So maybe I did something??? Maybe this is a good thing??? Maybe I have been training too hard for nearly every session??? Quite a bit to think about.

So I will invest the next few months to investigate the Heart Rate Zone Training and check if it really works like I have heard! Love to hear from anyone who has gone through the transition that I am just starting!

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