Get in the zone?

Date: 2/10/22
Training Day: 67
Miles: 3.7 (intervals, treadmill)
Time: 45 min
Shoes: Xero HFS

How It Felt: Pretty darn good! I didn’t push myself as hard as I have been, so I didn’t feel like I was going to die at the end of the 0.75-mile interval. And my legs are feeling great, which is plus. More importantly, I got great kitty snuggles afterwards.

Commentary: I didn’t get home from my tattoo appointment until 8:30pm, which the time I’m normally about to fall asleep when I workout in the morning. So, I pushed off my interval run to today.

I saw a post on a running-related Foosebook page about Zone 2 training. The OP said she knows she didn’t do enough of it because she struggled during her 50k and 50-mile races, as well as her long runs. This got me thinking.

Zone 2 training, also known as low heart rate training, is good for building aerobic capacity. A lot of runners, including myself, struggle with this type of training because it typically means running sloooooooow. Like painfully slow, especially in the beginning. But over time you should be able to run faster with a lower heart rate.

Then I thought back to 2011 when I was training for a marathon. I know I was younger, and at sea level, so that probably had something to do with me being faster. But what if my aerobic capacity was way better because of all the cycling I did?

For a while now I’ve thought all the cycling I did back then helped my running. I mean, cycling is good cross training, right? Now, I’m also thinking maybe it helped my aerobic capacity. Back then I didn’t ever pay attention to my heart rate when I ran, so odds are I never did Zone 2 training during runs. But I’ll bet that during my rides I spent some time in Zone 2.

I know cycling and running are completely different. Even the heart rate zones for each activity are different, so I could have no idea what I’m talking about. This is actually pretty likely…

Then I thought back to last year and how it’s been different from this year. Last year I was doing a lot of snowshoeing during the winter, and as soon as it was warm enough to hike I was doing that too. During both I probably spend a decent amount of time in Zone 2. And as far as ultras go, you can spend just as much time hiking as you do running.

As far as I know, hiking doesn’t have heart rate zones. So, again, I might not be on to anything. Still likely…

Not sure how accurate this is since I wasn’t wearing a HRM, just my Garmin, but my heart rate was definitely more in the “easy” zone during our Devil’s Garden hike this past weekend.

Do I plan to run in Zone 2 more often? Probably not. At that point I’d likely be walking, not running. I’m not sure how much faster one gets at running when they spend most of their time walking. But I do plan to try to stay in Zone 3 for my easy runs. And I also want to actually get more time in on the spin bike instead of just thinking about it like I have been. And here soon I also want to get out and snowshoe/hike more.

Will this actually help me get faster? Only time will tell.

Training Journal

Christina View All →

Endlessly seeking adventure.

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