Training Recap: Lessons from Week 1 of Heart Rate Training

Training Recap: Lessons from Week 1 of Heart Rate Training

This week’s training recap is a little different. Instead of the usual day-by-day byplay, I’m going to focus on what I learnt from it all. Mainly because my entire week was dedicated to runs. 7 days, 5 runs – a 5k race, 1 recovery run, 2 base building runs and 1 ‘long’ run.

Some slow miles in there, but consistency is the focus.

Some slow miles in there, but consistency is the focus.

This was also week 1 of training with a run focus (even though it is technically week 3 of the 28 week Dopey training), with CrossFit, Swim, etc, etc all viewed as cross training instead of the main activity.

Another first is heart rate based training. I’ve worn a heart rate monitor on and off, mostly to wonder at how my HR could possibly shoot up as high at 170 and I could still easily talk while everyone else around me is in the 140s. But this time, HR training is here to stay! Even if it hasn’t exactly made me a fan of it yet.

1. If you think you were slow before, think again.

I was slow at 13:00ish for a long run pace. I couldn’t possibly be any slower, right?

But I was!! My Z2 pace was at 15:30ish. It was all I could do to not pull out my hair in frustration.

Now, I’m told that that is the way with HR training. And that there is a certain method to this madness. So I’ll start taking bets on how slow is really slow :)

(This is just *my* pace and what I feel about it, I’m not putting down anyone with a pace slower or faster than me.)

2. 45 minutes of Z1 & Z2 running makes me more hungry than 2 hours of moderate effort running.

Just this one week has undone all the good work I’d done with my nutrition and food for the past 1 month. I’m hungry all the time.

Runger caused by a 45 minute run is far worse than runger caused by a 16 mile run! There is absolutely nothing in those 45minutes/3 miles that would justify eating everything in sight. In fact, I’d think it would be the opposite – not being tired all day should give me power to stay strong!

3. Trust

I don’t know where this HR training is going and obviously with just one week in, I can’t see how this is helping. To be going at 15:30 pace on flat when my earlier easy pace on flat was 13:00ish!! But it is a leap of faith I decided to take.

I trust, I trust, I trust … maybe if I say it enough times, I will begin to completely trust without doubting.
(For the record – I DO trust. I wouldn’t go through with everything if I didn’t believe. It is just that sliver of doubt that I need to get rid of.)

And a confession. I’m not a control freak or a type A++ person, but I do a lot of things the way I’m used to. And sometimes my way is impulsive (a trait I must’ve developed of late, because I’ve always been a very methodical person). To let go of the impulsiveness, to find the discipline to stick to the higher goal and to trust it all – that will be a true journey for me.

4. Patience

And I lack patience.

I want to be a strong and fast Kenyan FauxRunner. NOW.

Two years ago when I was training for that (still elusive) marathon time, someone told me. “Patience, young Grasshopper”. I worked and waited patiently, but then things derailed. Since then, I’ve been chasing unicorns and rainbows without a proper plan, and without the patience to see through whatever hodgepodge plan I’ve had.

4. The world is awesome

Running slow made me smell the flowers.


I could smell the gardenias and hydrangeas.
I heard the birds chirping and heard how the chirping changed from 6:30am to 7:30am.
I listened to the water in the Chattahoochee river gurgling, probably a first even though I run there all the time.

The world around us is beautiful, if only we stop for a minute to appreciate the beauty.

What a soothing and beautiful sound the water makes! I was kinda-sorta emotional at the end of 45 min. All because of what the gentle water sounds were saying to me.

What a soothing and beautiful sound the water makes! I was kinda-sorta emotional at the end of 45 min. All because of what the gentle water sounds were saying to me.

Have you trained with HR Zones? How did you make the transition from “just run” to HR zone running? How was your training week? Leave a link for us to read your journey and progress.


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Thumbnail image for Recipe: Cauliflower 65

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