Low HR Training

1

LHR training for 14 months and now have ?s (Read 1107 times)

colleen123


    I am a slow but determined trail runner who lives in Virginia so I spend a lot of time on the Appalachian Trail  and the dirt roads and trails that lead to the AT near my house. I've been trying to find a way to get faster without injury, so I  bought the Mittleman book, figured out my heart rate (180-53=127) and have tried patiently since March 2009  to build up mileage while going slooooooowly.  I am 54 years old now, weigh 148, and am 5’8” and started running in 2000. In the past, I’ve run a 7:59 trail 50K (just made the 8 hour cutoff), a couple of marathons (5:46), many ½ marathons (on trail about 3:45, road 3:10) and tons of 5ks (usually around 34:00).  I love running trails and would like to participate in more trail runs and do another ultra one day, however, at a  pace that allows me to be ahead of the cutoffs without worrying.

     

    I meandered my way to this forum about a year ago after reading about LHR on Steve Pero’s blog and writing to him for some advice which he kindly gave me and then referred me to this forum (thanks, Steve!). I’ve been lurking on this forum since May 2009 while doing LHR training, MAF tests, and reading up on Maffetone and Mittleman etc.

     

    The first mile after a mile warm up for my MAF test (done about every 6 weeks or so at the track at HR137) are:

    17:15

    16:30

    15:08

    14:26

    14:26

    14:11

    13:38

    13:24 (ran this one today)

    (I continue on and do two more miles and then cool down for a mile for a total of 5 miles. The subsequent miles are about 10 seconds more each mile so I think I am doing the MAF test correctly.)

     

     When I started I almost could not walk slow enough to keep my heart rate down below 137. Now I have to be sure to run some to get my heart rate up enough although I can only run about 60 steps and my heart rate shoots up to above 144 which triggers me to walk until my heart rate is 134 and then I start running again. When I first started in March 2009 is when I determined my MAF and I am still not sure if using 137 is correct. My logic a year ago was that 127 was the base, but I added 10 because of my age (over 50) and because I had been running for 10 years. I also tried using the subjective test that Mittleman talks about such as how my vision started narrowing in and I felt like it was work at HR144, meaning that I had crossed over to the sugar burning stage so I’ve tried to always keep below 144 even on steep hills.

     

    As I mentioned, I live in the mountains down some dirt roads so most of the time I am running on dirt, gravel or trails and very little paved roads on lots of hills with very little flat. I therefore try to keep my HR in the range of 134-144 with 137 the goal HR.  I find I have to walk/run the flats I do encounter, hike up the hills with not too much juice or my HR goes way too high, and run the downs.  When I first started, my HR was always way too high on hills but now I can keep it under 144. On the downs, I have to run at least some to get my HR above 134. It takes me about 2 hours to go 7 miles on the rocky, hilly AT.

     

    In general, I run/walk or do the elliptical/treadmill at the gym for an average of about 5 hours a week (some weeks up to 7½ hours, some weeks 3½). I am a pretty diehard outdoor person (trails or dirt roads with Yaktraks or screw shoes in the snow--talk about a workout) and only use the gym during ice storms, downpours or lightning. My long runs are about 2 hours now. I generally work out 4x week with the other runs 45 minutes to 1:30.

     

    So……my questions for you are:

    1. From my MAF tests, it looks like I might be plateauing a bit and I am a year older. Should I lower the MAF from 137 to 134 or so?

    2.  What can I do to improve my rate of gain to my aerobic system? I am happy with my gains but after a year, I have to admit that I am wondering if there might be something I can do to pick up the pace so that this year I can participate in a 50k maybe in the fall.  Should I be doing more hours on my feet? Keep building up the long run?

    3.  Every once in a while, I go through a spasm of thinking I can do better by doing some suggested exercises from Runner’s World to gain strength (older female means muscle loss which is a worry; also, I wonder  if I gain strength will that help me run faster). Invariably I get hurt. I just went through a sore foot problem after doing the classic lunges (pistoning up and down on my big toe was a big mistake apparently). So…is all the hill work I do as part of my regular routine good enough or should I think of some kind of strength training?

    4. Running gives me a social life, but the races that are easily available are road 5ks. Am I sabotaging my LHR training by running the 5ks? I do notice that I am really wiped out afterwards. I can run/walk on trails for 2 hours and have less recovery time than doing a 34 minutes 5k.

    5. One bright note, I've participated in the VHTRC's Women's Trail 1/2 Marathon the last few years coming in at the tail end in anywhere from 3:45 to 4:00. After doing the LHR training last Sept, I improved my time to 3:33, yeah! The race is tough with lots of hills and runs in Sept. I would love to continue to improve.

    Any suggestions/comments are appreciated and thanks to everyone who posts on this forum. I have gotten a lot of great advice already.

    Colleen

    jimmyb


      Colleen,

       

      Congrats on your awesome progress. Improving your tests 4 minutes (23%)

      is nothing to sneeze, cough, or throw toenail clippings at. Nice work.

       

      I see a brief plateau at 14:26, but you resumed progressing

      after that. I don't see a plateau right now.

       

      You've been at it for 14 months, and if you feel like experimenting

      with a little anaerobic work to see if your body needs it for balance, I don't

      see a problem. Your MAF tests will let you know if it's too much load.

      You don't have to overdo it. Perhaps some fartlek (just speed up once in awhile)

      or a brief lactate threshold tempo run.

       

      You can experiment with increasing aerobic volume, adding a little more

      time on your feet on your hard days. But be careful. Best not to do this

      if you are going to start adding anaerobic work.

       

      If you're a racer, then the MAF work that you've done is to prepare you

      for racing. You can do races anytime you want. Just follow good recovery

      rules and keep in touch with your MAF tests. You might find that your tests will

      improve for awhile, then the at some point during your racing season, start to

      plateau and back up. Then it's time to return to base work for awhile.

       

      MAF training can get you feeling really healthy, and one of the mistakes lots

      of us have made is that we start to feel invincible again, and then we start to do crazy things, and

      forget about recovery and training load. Remember to take rest days after races, a few days for

      a 5k, and up to a week for a half, and longer the longer you raced. The races are usually enough

      anaerobic work for us non-elite age-groupers. The rest of the week should be MAF running and/or rest.

       

      To sum it up. You've made a lot of progress. 14 months of aerobic training is a nice block.

      Experimenting with adding some higher HR's that are more anaerobic might be okay. Don't increase volume

      while you are doing this.If you decide to race, that is your anaerobic work. Take ample rest days and recovery runs after each race. Keep doing your MAF tests every 3-4 weeks. If they are progressing, and you feel good, fine. If they aren't, time for rest or aerobic base again. If yoou are feeling injured or exhausted at anytime, rest, recover, and do base work.

       

      I hope this helps. Good luck, Colleen! Thanks for posting. Inspiring.

       

      --Jimmy

      Log    PRs


      Consistently Slow

        colleen: welcome. Nice work. 17:14 to 13:24.

        Run until the trail runs out.

        2014***1500 miles 09/28/14

        50miler 13:26:18

        Race Less Train More

         

        Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

        "The Marble in The Groove"

         

        unsolicited chatter

        http://bkclay.blogspot.com/

        colleen123


          Thanks for the words of encouragement. I feel like I have gotten to a good place by constantly improving but wonder if I need to do something different to improve more, especially when I think about running another 50k.  The good thing is that my primary goal through all of this has been to run uninjured and enjoy myself. I think the LHR training really lends itself to this. It has a very zen feel to it and I come back relaxed with little recovery time. I generally run every other day. Sometimes I double up  and run two days in a row or  other times I just don't run for a couple of days if  I am tired. This is a huge lesson that I've learned--go with how I feel rather than a rigid schedule found in a magazine. I have not had any injuries other than a sore toe from doing lunges--lesson learned on that one. I am thinking at this point, I should keep going as I have been and add time to my long run while keeping the rest the same. I really would like to do an ultra in the fall but don't know if I am ready for that or exactly how to plan for that.

          Colleen

            Thanks for the words of encouragement. I feel like I have gotten to a good place by constantly improving but wonder if I need to do something different to improve more, especially when I think about running another 50k.  The good thing is that my primary goal through all of this has been to run uninjured and enjoy myself. I think the LHR training really lends itself to this. It has a very zen feel to it and I come back relaxed with little recovery time. I generally run every other day. Sometimes I double up  and run two days in a row or  other times I just don't run for a couple of days if  I am tired. This is a huge lesson that I've learned--go with how I feel rather than a rigid schedule found in a magazine. I have not had any injuries other than a sore toe from doing lunges--lesson learned on that one. I am thinking at this point, I should keep going as I have been and add time to my long run while keeping the rest the same. I really would like to do an ultra in the fall but don't know if I am ready for that or exactly how to plan for that.

            Colleen

             

             

            yes your story is really inspiring.

            for the 50K I think this is the best training because what you need for 50K is a strong aerobic capability. but I never ran anything that long so that's just my impression of it Smile

            adding time to the long run sounds good for that.

            colleen123


              Everything I read and my little bit of experience with 1 50k or from talking to ultrarunners seems to indicate that it is all about the long run. I think I'll start adding 15 minutes to my long run and work up to 3 hours and then stay there for a bit. I am at a point where I feel like I have accomplished a goal of sticking with the LHR training for a year+ and seeing results but wonder if I should just keep on going with what I have done or if there's something else I should be doing and what my next major goal should be. Probably best not to tinker too much with success!


              Consistently Slow

                I am contemplating a 50k. It has been 5 years since my last marathon. Wow! Canceled last attempt.Knees did not hold up to the training. After 15 miles pain and swelling became the norm. I am wondering if running on trails will make a difference?

                Run until the trail runs out.

                2014***1500 miles 09/28/14

                50miler 13:26:18

                Race Less Train More

                 

                Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

                "The Marble in The Groove"

                 

                unsolicited chatter

                http://bkclay.blogspot.com/

                Anne47


                  runnerclay, I can tell you my experience with running on trails vs roads. I always run trails and cross country and have never had a problem with my knees. I have tried running on the road a couple times but finished both times with mild soreness in my knees. I can only imagine what it would have felt like had I been capable of going further. Keep in mind though that my longest run has been just over 7 miles so this advice may not apply to someone with your capabilities.

                  I think you should give the trails a try if only because it's much nicer listening to birds sing as you go by rather than car engines.

                   

                  colleen, I am so impressed with your running and your MAF success. i started MAF last fall and can only dream of covering the miles you do.

                   

                  Anne

                  colleen123


                    I agree with Anne re: the trails. I pretty much can choose which surface to run on when I am at home and pretty much stay off of the roads whenever possible. Dirt roads are great because you don't have to think about the roots and rocks on trails but there's still some traffic. Trails are fantastic because you can zone out on birds and trees. You do have to watch your footing but I like the rhythm that I can get into when I am on the trails. It really helps to get into the flow of the trail especially going downhill. It's also alot easier I think to not push yourself (a requirement of LHR training) than it is on roads. The trail itself makes you slow down so it's easier to do the LHR training. From the one time that I did a 50k on trails and then did a marathon on roads and road and trail 1/2 marathons, the recovery time is very different. The last road 1/2 marathon, it took forever to recover because I damaged my knee due to the large amount of concrete I ran on at the Tulsa 1/2. On trails I take a lot longer to complete the 1/2 due to the hills and looking out for roots and rocks (also more time at aid stations which have good things to eat not just gels!) but I was back running in days without pain.  Trails do make a difference, physically and mentally.

                    Colleen