I normally only do a fitness recap at the bottom of my food posts but lately I’ve gotten so many emails about running, being vegan, inspiration and what in the world am I training for. I thought I would take a moment and answer some questions in a blog post.
Thanks Chelsy for the awesome tank.
I’ve been working with RUNEMZ also known as Emily, for about a year or so. She is not only my IG bestie but my running inspiration without a doubt! Now we haven’t been working on a formal training plan but she serves as one heck of a sounding board and advisor. She also sees things in people that they don’t see in themselves or maybe things we don’t want to see in ourselves. Meaning potential. Let me correct that… meaning CRAZY potential. Okay so I have her in one ear and a local running guru that I just happened to talk to at a swim meet in the beginning of our season in my other ear. So let me start there…
One random Saturday early in June I met up with an old swimming friend/parent. He is an avid runner. I started telling him about my erratic heart rate at the marathon I did in March. He looked me straight in the eyes and said “You need to train your engine.” Wait, what? Then he began to explain. Take my running back to low and slow. Get my heart rate down – like majorly down there. But my normal heart rate running is around 189-210. He almost fell over. He was abrupt in explaining that if I don’t get it down – even adding walking into the mix – I wouldn’t be doing this much longer. Okay. We’ve had three local runners pass away within the past few years (all in their 40’s) and one just last week. I’m listening.
I digested his information. I talked to Emily. I pondered this data. But no speed? What if my pace went to something I didn’t think was good enough? What if I couldn’t get my heart rate down? What if I had to walk? What if… okay so I headed out and figured I would give it a try. What did I have to lose?
I’m a researcher. I figured out ranges I needed to be in and thought I would just try to get it around 150-165 and see if it was possible. And with that I headed out. I ran. I watched only my heart rate and distance paying NO attention to the speed. I slowed down when I had to and stopped when necessary. Each run, I worked on this and it became a game to me. How low could I go? Then I started to notice that my Garmin would give me two things that I really became interested in… one, my TE or training effect and my hours of recovery. Well the training effect chart is below:
My number had always been in the 5’s. Oh crap – clearly this wasn’t good! Now I get what my friend was talking about. Low and slow. So my goal… 3’s if possible and 4’s only. And guess what happened? Every run that concluded ended with really short recovery times. Why? Well, my heart wasn’t beaten down like my old normal runs. And the other benefit… I started to love running. I mean I like running and I need it but I really started to love it. Really LOVE it. So Emily said to slowly add distance and knowing me… that’s just what I did.
Each week I add only a mile onto my long run. So 15, 16, 17 and on. Last weekend I got to run 18 on a trail that I absolutely loved. My weekly mileage has been at 50 consistently for June/July. I knew August I would be doing a bit of a step down in training and then bouncing back up again. But I just finished July with my highest mileage ever!
So my mind had to let go of the “speed thing” completely. I had to run low and slow to build my heart, to love the run and just to do it. I started not to care about how fast I ran… I stopped having those cement leg days. I wasn’t hating the run anymore. And then after my 18 miler on Sunday my recovery was 24 hours. What? Really?! And I felt great. Another bonus… my REM sleep has shot through the roof. I used to get 2 hours of REM and now get 6-7 hours of restful, awesome sleep. Seriously… have I found nirvana or what?
So I run slower but my heart is happier. I’m running long distances and smiling the whole way. Now running 18 miles or more is still hard – don’t get me wrong… but when you get to actually look around and take it in – running is so therapeutic. This training isn’t for everyone. For those who want the coveted 6 minute mile etc. I don’t. I used to and did it but it wasn’t getting me anywhere. Now I’m warming up around mile 8-10 and look forward to how far I can go.
Now what am I training for? Another dose of reality I discussed with Emily. I hate races. Yes. I. Said. That. I just really hate them. So I am training for something but what… stay tuned.
Now onto the fuel? I eat a lot of fruits and veggies. Lots and lots of carbs (hello watermelon, nectarines, peaches, berries and grapes). I still don’t eat prior to a run (yes, I know this is bad) but fuel with Vega Energizer and Recovery. I also live on Vega Sport smoothies with kale and spinach as well as their mint bars, which are heavenly. Beans, rice, jalapeños, hummus… you name it I’m probably eating it right now. Normal practice is not eating after 6pm. I go to bed early and hate feeling overstuffed. And drink lots of water.
— Knead to Cook