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Running between easy and hard efforts (Read 205 times)

hectortrojan


    I like to go running with this particular friend. He doesn't like to slow down. Physically I do not have issues in running at his pace. When I run with him my heart rate is little higher than what I would like to be in. I feel fine when I run with him, but sometimes think that I run in the gray zone and am not going to go anywhere in my fitness level if I keep running in the gray zone. By gray zone I feel like I am not pushing too hard to work on my speed and I am not running slow enough to stay in aerobic zone and I am not teaching my body to burn fat effectively and work on my aerobic conditions so that I can effectively run for longer. We sometime run together for an hour on weekend and than I run for an hour by myself. Is there anything like gray zone or is it only in mind?

      I'm curious what kind of responses you get to this post.

       

      I think that no matter what, if you are out there running, you are getting some benefit from it.  I think the reason some folks say what you are describing isn't ideal, is because you are at an increased risk of injury over your normal easy pace and you are probably getting about the same amount of benefit from it.

       

      The Hansons Plans have you run your long run at a moderate pace so I'm thinking they see a benefit to it.

      Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

      Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27


      day after day sameness

        How about creating an workout type in your log and call it..."Medium".  Then you have something between Easy and Hard for the workouts which are harder than easy and easier than hard.

         

        I do question some of your comments on fat burning and aerobic only happening at easy efforts....I'm not sure that's a correct assessment.

        I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...

          I think really hard workouts all the time that cross you over into over training are likely the only thing that we need to watch out for. There is a place for tempo runs of different duration in every plan are the longer tempos then get into the grey zone?

           

          And as someone explained in another post, fat burning probably only matters if you are planning on Ultras.  We are always burning a mix of fat and carbs all the time, the proportion of which varies according to the pace (effort).  If we pace our self well, distances up to a marathon could be raced without worrying about fat/carb ratio for fuel (with some in race fuel of course).

            I believe Jack Daniels' original book had all runs at easy effort or LT or above, except for MP. All other books and plans I've looked at  have benefits across the range of efforts. I'm sure there's exceptions. Joe Friel has a lot of training for things like ultras and IM in this in-between zone. I think Pfitz's general aerobic runs are between easy and hard. So, yes, there are benefits, including some that you won't get as much of at a real easy effort. Whether it detracts from your other runs is another matter.

             

            BUT, be sure you know where the run fits in *your* grand scheme of things. I occasionally put in "explore" as a type of run - mental break and a way to learn new trails, but it usually ends up being easy to a bit above easy.

            "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

              Running in this "gray zone" is one of the best ways to get fitter, especially in the base season, so long as you listen to your body and don't overdo it.


              Fat butt on couch

                There is no such thing as a "fat burning zone", in terms of pace anyways.  You can work on that through very long efforts or deliberate glyco-depletion, but simply running at some pace is not going to do it.  Pace just determines what ratio of carb:fat you burn.

                 

                There is a bit of a gray zone where it's not your easy pace, in fact it's too easy to really recover well at, but too slow to get the benefits of training at LT or higher (and that benefit can differ depending on which speed you choose above that level).  As an example for a number of years my marathon pace was in the low-5:40s.  I did easy runs at 6:20-7:00, tempos at 5:15-5:30, speedwork 5:10-sub-5.  I did very, very little volume in the 5:40-6:20 area because it was too slow to really use in workouts but too fast to use in recovering between workouts.

                 

                Not to say there can't be a benefit to it....say, in an extended distance run to build strength for a marathon.  But it's not a pace range I would use very frequently.

                 

                MTA:  The other time to use it that comes to mind is progression runs, which are good training options as well.

                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                 

                hectortrojan


                  Npaden – good to know that there are some plans including in these in between effort running.

                   

                  MilkTruck – creating new workout to include these sorts of runs isn’t the issue.  I would like to know what exactly I am doing when I am running in these ‘grey’ zones.

                  I don’t think that fat burning and aerobic happens only in easy efforts. But I think optimal fat burning and aerobic happen in easy efforts. What are your thoughts on this?

                   

                  Happyfeet – I don’t think that longer tempos get into the grey zone. But my question is for a workout when effort is random. What happens in workout like this: 

                   

                  AKTrail – as you mentioned in your post, I am writing this post to know exactly what happens when I run these sorts of runs

                    I don't believe in the gray zone. You wouldn't want to do ALL of your running at a "medium" effort, but some running at a moderate effort is goodness and it's certainly not doing any harm--especially when taken in context with the fact that sometimes it's just nice to run with a friend.

                    Runners run.

                    hectortrojan


                      mikeymike - I agree that it is fun to run with others sometimes.

                        ....

                         

                        Happyfeet – I don’t think that longer tempos get into the grey zone. But my question is for a workout when effort is random. What happens in workout like this: 

                         

                        AKTrail – as you mentioned in your post, I am writing this post to know exactly what happens when I run these sorts of runs

                        It would depend on where your LT HR zone is. Assuming it's somewhere about 180bpm, I'd call that an aerobic effort with some higher effort surges and maybe a trip over a root that stopped you, potty break, or adjusting pack. (hey, I can make up stories)  I'm not sure I'd attribute that seeming randomness to a friend or more likely to unevenness in terrain (footing, hills). Or it could be some random hills then a bigger hill with a more sustained effort.

                         

                        If you dropped it about 20-30bpm, so it's within the realm of possibilities for me (HRmax 180), that might look like one of my exploration runs, which is about the only time I'm that uneven in effort. It's good aerobic training.

                         

                        It may also depend on how frequently you're recording your HR - 1 sec vs 10 sec. If doing 10-sec intervals and recording every 10 sec, it's hard to see much on a graph.

                         

                        My point is that a HR graph can be meaningless without knowing your LT HR zone and recording frequency and maybe what the intention was. I've got 10 yr of HR data. I can make up lots of stories. But I also know what they should look like when I'm doing certain workouts.

                         

                        A 40bpm spread between top and bottom HR is unusual unless you're doing intervals or fartleks or something where you're alternating hard and full recoveries or running ahead of a friend and waiting for them to catchup or whatever.

                         

                        But it's all good.

                        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


                        Fat butt on couch

                          But I think optimal fat burning and aerobic happen in easy efforts.

                           

                          Why do you think this?

                           

                          Define "optimal".  If you mean "I burn more fat calories per minute at this pace", you are incorrect.  Your body has a max rate at which it can burn fat and this is exceeded by most people at their daily easy run pace.  If you mean "I burn more fat calories per mile at this pace" then yes, because the slower you run the larger the percentage of calories are coming from fat.  But you will have to run longer to cover the distance.

                           

                          For many people, running slower is better for burning fat simply because they can run further, and therefore burn more overall calories, a percentage of them coming from fat.

                           

                          These medium-paced efforts can certainly serve some purpose, but the problem is that a lot of people end up doing them too often and thinking they are "easy runs" and also stacking workouts around them.  Then they wonder why they bomb their workouts or are tired all the time.

                          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                           

                          hectortrojan


                            It would depend on where your LT HR zone is. Assuming it's somewhere about 180bpm, I'd call that an aerobic effort with some higher effort surges and maybe a trip over a root that stopped you, potty break, or adjusting pack. (hey, I can make up stories)  I'm not sure I'd attribute that seeming randomness to a friend or more likely to unevenness in terrain (footing, hills). Or it could be some random hills then a bigger hill with a more sustained effort.

                             

                            If you dropped it about 20-30bpm, so it's within the realm of possibilities for me (HRmax 180), that might look like one of my exploration runs, which is about the only time I'm that uneven in effort. It's good aerobic training.

                             

                            It may also depend on how frequently you're recording your HR - 1 sec vs 10 sec. If doing 10-sec intervals and recording every 10 sec, it's hard to see much on a graph.

                             

                            My point is that a HR graph can be meaningless without knowing your LT HR zone and recording frequency and maybe what the intention was. I've got 10 yr of HR data. I can make up lots of stories. But I also know what they should look like when I'm doing certain workouts.

                             

                            A 40bpm spread between top and bottom HR is unusual unless you're doing intervals or fartleks or something where you're alternating hard and full recoveries or running ahead of a friend and waiting for them to catchup or whatever.

                             

                            But it's all good.

                             

                             

                            You are correct about my LT HR. Per McMillans’s tables’ it starts from 183 bpm. He also defines a huge Aerobic zone. Mine is 147-170 per his tables. Based on what I saw my maxHR is 210 bpm. I have no idea about recording frequency. It is whatever the default settings is for Garmin.

                            Generally when I run with this friend, I let him decide the pace. Its fun for me to let him decide the pace knowing I can run at whichever pace he wants to run as long as I am not running with him after running for an hour already. He generally runs for an hour and wanted to run for longer for this particular day.  As you can see from the graph, he crashed after an hour and had to stop.

                            We generally run on uneven terrain with good elevation. When I run by myself, I run around same range or run gradual increase like these:

                            hectortrojan


                               For many people, running slower is better for burning fat simply because they can run further, and therefore burn more overall calories, a percentage of them coming from fat.

                               

                              That’s what I think too. For me optimal is I keep training my body in such a way that I can increase duration gradually.

                                ok, those last two graphs look a bit more normal. Hills are why I overlay elevation graphs on my HR curve. But the first one with your friend looks like it's mostly aerobic based on what you think are your zones (not sure if tested somewhere or how you arrived at them). That's fine.

                                 

                                There's things besides cardio that result from any run, and changes in muscle stimulus as you go up/down hills or adapt to your friend's pace are also benefits.

                                 

                                While I log HR data, I treat the zones as being very fuzzy and don't worry about the details most of the time - except when near 1-hr race effort, since I go from comfortably hard to almost hyperventilating very quickly unless I catch it. Recovery runs are the other ones where I'm fairly specific as to what I do.

                                "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
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