Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Low Heart-Rate Training: An Update (Part 1)

For the past 9 months, I have focused my attention and efforts on building a strong aerobic base. Having consumed thoroughly the performance of Ironman Hall-of-Famer, Mark Allen and his work with Phil Maffetone I have developed a fair degree of aerobic fitness to launch me into a higher level of performance.

The notion is this: the discrepancy between our aerobic system and anaerobic system may be unnaturally narrow. This is the cumulative effect of too much, poorly monitored, anaerobic efforts during training and racing. Anaerobic workouts deplete our muscle glycogen (fuel for our cell). By fully tapping on our aerobic system, we can spare glycogen and utilise more fats instead.

I kept my heart-rate to within this training limit: 180-Age (plus 5 bpm more, for no illness within the year). In effect, I I worked my maximum heart-rate from 143-148. However, at least one or twice a week, I worked at a higher heart-rate from racing or a higher-intensity tempo run. My base aerobic training comprised running and cycling; both sports are linear in direction and motion.

My recent timings attest to the fact that this disciplined approach towards aerobic/endurance training has worked for me. It was tough sustaining it, for I had to develop a strong belief that my apparent loss of speed (in the short-term) would lead to immense gains down the road. Plus, I became leaner and lighter than ever before. My pacing improved from a 5 min/km to 4:40 min/km for a full marathon. My half-marathon pace is slightly below 4:30min/km.

Some of these recent data include: Berlin Marathon (post-injury, 4:00) in September 2012; Singapore Marathon (3:38) in December; marathon in Ironman NZ (4:27 - PB); Ironman NZ (12:57, course PB); 21km run in March (1:41); 21km in May (1:34); Gold Coast Airport Marathon (3:16:49 - PB/BQ). My last BQ was 3:29:59 in 2011. So, from December till July, I scratched off almost 22 minutes - a fair deduction from an investment of nine months of committed training. 

I am not a pure runner, nor do I enjoy long-distance running however my times have been improving. Other factors need to be computed such as dietary adjustments, more sleep, core strength/stability and cross-training. But, for now, I can ascertain that my base fitness has buoyed my racing (anaerobic) fitness. In the next few weeks, I will test my fitness over a few more races including a half-Ironman triathlon, one 10km run, and another half-marathon. I hope to improve on my PBs. (to be continued)

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