Saturday, December 15, 2012

Systems Thinking Via Aerobics

In the last two months, I have focused on lower heart-rate training, mainly within the aerobic zone. The aerobic zone is the intensity of activity placed on your body, which works on the aerobic ('with oxygen') system, as versus the anaerobic ('less oxygen') system. In those two months, I recovered from a full marathon (Berlin) to slash 28 minutes off my time.

What did I do differently?

Firstly, I started to regain my fitness - lost after recuperating from a two-month hiatus from running. Two months is inadequate to earn a PB, let alone run a BQ, however, I enjoyed that return-on-my-investment (ROI).

Secondly, I focused on training at a heart-rate range of less than 150bpm (beats per minute). I applied the contrarian thinking and recommendation of Dr Philip Maffetone, author of 'The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing'. In fact, I violated part of his prescription when I should have spent at least 6-12 months on building my aerobic system at (180 minus my age) of not more than 133bpm. Thus, I was able to hit 4:40-4:50minutes/kilometre for up to 32K of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2012, until I faded. 

Lastly, I alluded my grand performance (up till the 32K mark) to my developing aerobic system, and also for not observing a disciplined race-pace. Interestingly, Maffetone believes that sticking to the aerobic heart-rate zone can boost one's aerobic capacity and system. 

In a nutshell, as I continue to swim, ride or run at 133bpm (up to 138bpm if I were healthy; meaning injury-free or sickness-free) or less, I would be able to run faster, and cover more distance in my aerobic zone. The only paradigm most have is, that you tend to compromise your existing racing/training speed while attempting to enhance your aerobic capacity. Most athletes have a distinct imbalance between the aerobic and anaerobic systems. I intend to address this discrepancy I have, and will keep you posted of my progress.   

No comments: