Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Low Heart-Rate Training: An Update (Part 2)

I spent about eight months on developing my aerobic base, mostly on a diet of long-duration riding and running. It has been challenging to slow down. My, naturally, high heart-rate makes it harder to keep within my 'aerobic zone'. In my case, my Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is based on Philip Maffetone's prescription of (180-Age+5). Maffetone advised Ironman-legend Mark Allen to develop his aerobic base, and that was one reason how he stood out on 'Iron Wars' (1989), when he went mano a mano with Dave Scott throughout the race in Kona.

Be patient when developing your aerobic base; it may take 9-12 months to fully develop it. The emphasis is 'within your aerobic zone'. Whether you use (180-Age) or (220-Age) as your higher limits, stick to it. Be consistent, and be disciplined as you are teaching your body to become more efficient in creating energy in the presence of adequate oxygen. Certainly, do at least one session of anaerobic/speed work/race to jog your other part of your energy system. 

The Kreb's Cycle is worth appreciating and applying. It describes how our mitochondria ('powerhouse of our cells') produce energy molecules called Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) from each molecule of carbohydrate, protein or fat. Oxygen is the catalyst that combusts the living cells into action. When you factor pacing into the equation of creating a continual flow of energy to sustain your muscles for endurance activities, then staying in the aerobic zone promotes energy and wards off fatigue. ATP + Oxygen + Fuel = Energy. 

Working in the aerobic zone reduces the occurrence of injuries, fatigue and muscle imbalances. In fact, it can buoy your anaerobic/racing efforts by relying less on stored sugars and nutritional assistance. It takes a while to educate our body to become aerobically-efficient, but it is worth it. 

Good luck, and better patience!

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