Less Is More

I’m an anaerobic junkie.

There it is, in black and white…

For the world to see!

Now don’t get me wrong…intervals, sprints, and hill repeats are not my style at all. I am more of the steady, hard effort kind of girl.

I loathe recovery periods. Throwing my heart rate all around like a bouncing ball is pure torture and downright painful. No siree, just get me to that steady state of hell and leave me there for the long haul.

There’s just one problem: My body HATES it and rebels worse than BoyGenius during exam week.

“It” starts.

The fatigue, moodiness, reduced performances, then God forbid, a pain or twinge creeps up….yup all the signs. Signs not to be taken lightly and definitely not to be ignored.

Some call it overtraining…I prefer “repeated overexertion” 🙂 .

In the past, I brushed off these subtle hints until things got so bad that it couldn’t be ignored. By that time I was usually inured and the only “fix” was months of rest and rehab.

If you’ve had such an injury, lived with someone who has had one, helped a friend through one, or happened to be in line at Wal-mart behind someone who has had one then you know how truly ugly the healing process can be.

These past few weeks, I was noticing some familiar “signs” and decided to take note. I went back to my training logs and reviewed the data from the past year and there it was:


So it’s back to square 1 and to using Garmin for its intent and purpose…monitor heart rate and not just pace/speed. Yes, quite boring I know, but necessary. I even set the alerts to go off so I would be notified when I exited the aerobic zone.

To determine this most sacred area, I personally use the Maffetone method. It’s a 180-age formula (google it) and while I find it to be a great concept, not everyone buys into the program. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to do so because it forces you trade speed for efficiency.

I first tried it for my 1/2 marathon and I ran in my aerobic zone the entire duration of the race. I COULD have run faster, but since it was my first 1/2, I was overly careful. My legs fatigued at the end, but my cardiovascular system could have gone another 13.1 to finish the full marathon. I felt great. On the other hand, when I ran the local 10k last week I was anaerobic the ENTIRE time. My pace was about the same, but I haven’t been training properly. I’ve neglected the aerobic system in favor of the anaerobic one (ie speed) and it showed. I was inefficient and miserable from about mile 2 to the end.

This is the take home message:

High Intensity training is like having money in the bank. We are only allowed so many withdrawals per month. If you visit the ATM daily, come race day there’s nothing left in your account. Speed is a valuable commodity…like gold. It has to be treated as such.

Sometimes I forget. My body is kind enough to remind me.

It’s my job to listen and this time I’m doing just that.

 Train Happy, My Friends!

4 thoughts on “Less Is More

  1. “you know how truly ugly the healing process can be” — seriously, THANK you for putting it that way. I always feel really bad about how I’ve acted through my injury, but it’s the truth, the process is just ugly.
    I like your analogy about the ATM and withdrawals, that’s very true!
    Get some rest, hope you’re feeling better soon.

    • oooooo, you have no idea how ugly things get when I’m on “IR”….Everyone around here started warning me to take down my mileage this week b/c they didn’t want a repeat…The dogs were even hiding my shoes! A little bit of time back in the aerobic zone and things seem to be settling out. Its so HARD to remember that we are suppose to end a session feeling like we could go on, NOT like we are about to collapse!! Once/Twice a week (during peak training) a good, hard suffer-fest is definitly in order …gotta remember to save that coin though…It’s money in the bank for when its needed most 🙂

  2. Absolutely horrible about going over that edge. Ignoring the first signs always produces the same results. Type A folks have a hard time with those signs. Age has helped. Also the lessons learned on the sidelines of seasons lost.

    Rest up. You’ll come back better than before. Amazing what the human body can do 🙂

    • So true…hopefully we learns through experience! Things are already improving…Yes, the body is remarkable if you simply work WITH it and not against it!

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