As most of you know, I have a pretty full schedule of races this year and the training is going well. My first big event is St. George 70.3 Ironman on May 4th and I’ve decided to make a few changes to my run plan after some interesting evaluation and experimenting last month.
As a reference, last year I noticed during most of my longer events that I ran “out of gas” at the 10-11 mile mark. I tried a variety of different tactics from fueling changes to better hydration all with negligible results.
After listening to an interview with Mark Allen on “The Fit, Fat, Fast” Podcast I tried going for my long run with a little change that made a big difference. I had one of the best runs of my life by slowing down just a bit by limiting my max heart rate. Of course I was running at a slower pace but my energy at the end was dramatically better. Since then I’ve done 3 more long runs with the same result.
My theory is that “saving” more energy in the early part of the run will allow me to push it more during the last 3 miles of the race and finish strong. Overall this year I’m going to try and keep the rate down with the intent of eventually get back to my old pace per mile. If I can achieve these outcomes I feel I can really set myself up for much better long term (5 year) racing plans that will be achievable and more importantly FUN.
My first chance to test this new approach will be in 2 weeks at the Salt Lake ½ Marathon. Instead of going for a PR on time, my goal will be to keep my heart rate down below a specific number and then try and pick the speed up for the last 2 miles. The next test will be the 70.3 race in May where I’m really looking forward to the new plan.
Here’s wishing you a great start to your season.
Dr. Michael Cerami is a local Utah sports chiropractor and triathlete who has been treating patients for over 25 years. He writes a weekly patient blog and monthly athlete article for community education on a wide variety of topics including treating sports injuries, nutrition, exercise, motivation and wellness.