tokyo running days

A marathoner / newbie triathlete's training blog.

Sunday, October 15

Sweet spot of heart rate.

I don't use heart rate monitor, so I can't tell specific number, but there must be a sweet spot of heart rate when you run. For me, I have just discovered that I feel really good and confortable when I run faster than aerobic but slower than tempo pace, feel much better than just jogging.

This week when I have to do aerobic recovery jogs, I actually did this "sweet spot" pace. Still slower than my target marathon pace, unfortunately.

Today I went to the Palace to do a long run while everyone else was doing Tour de Yamanote. Since I had to miss this festive event of the club, I felt I have to make my long run meaningful. The coach Brett ran with me.

After the 4.5k jog to Chidorigafuchi park, we started the pace run. The planned pace was 4:45/k but I actually ran 4:36 to 4:30 pace for 4 laps and 3 quaters which I'm really happy about. At Hirakawa mon, we got off the Palace course and headed to the National Stadium. This was the whole point of today's training, running the real course of Tokyo Women's last hilly part with tired legs. It was actually hard, and I slowed down a lot, but did the best I could do anyway. Including a very slow jog back home, I ran aproximately 38k today. Worn out, but happy.

◎This week's training (9-16 Oct.)
Mon: Instead of running, did 12 hour drinking marathon at Mami & Gary's wedding parties. Fun!!!
Tue: 15k very slow
Wed: 10k at 4:10 pace and jog, 17.4k total.
Thu: 19.5k slow.
Fri: 2min fast 1min slow x 5 fartlek at Gosho, 10.4k total.
Sat: 16k at "sweet spot" pace.
Sun: Long run at the Palace with 4:36 to 4:30 pace, then running to the National Stadium. 38k total.

Week total: 116.3km


At October 16, 2006, Blogger Stephen Lacey said...

Mika, otsukaresamadeshita! What a great long run. Very hard work and a job well done. You are definitely seeing the results of your training now.

I know exactly what you mean about that heart rate "sweet spot". I would not call it "higher than aerobic" though. Basically aerobic is everything up until you start accumulating lactate in the muscles at a faster rate than you can clear it. That's the aerobic limit. The more aerobically trained you become, the faster the pace you can run before you reach the aerobic limit.

Aerobic limit and lactate threshold (tempo pace) are basically about the same level, or even the same thing. The pace that is quite challenging and tricky to find, and which is about target marathon pace, is the upper aerobic range, i.e., staying just below lactate threshold. It is fast and pretty hard, but still aerobic, at least until late in the marathon. The "sweet spot" you are talking about is probably 5-8 heart beats per minute slower than that. It feels like you are moving along at a good, strong pace, but leaves you feeling invigorated and not tired -- you could run like this all day (almost), yet its a pretty healthy pace.

I guess my main reason for picking up on your comment is that by saying "between aerobic and tempo" it sounds like you are thinking of "aerobic" as meaning to run fairly slow and easy. It is not. You can be running quite hard but still aerobic. Your marathon pace should still be aerobic. The elite marathoners push their aerobic limit up to 90% of their maximum heart rate, and esentially that is the object of the long mileage training -- to push the aerobic limit as high as possible.

Sorry if I misunderstood your thinking and I hope this makes some sense.

At October 16, 2006, Blogger mika t. said...

Thanks Steve. Now I understand that I have improved my aerobic pace itself. Makes sense. I will concentrate on improving it, and its limit pace whatever it is.

At October 17, 2006, Blogger Stephen Lacey said...

Yes, that's exactly what you've done and is exactly the purpose of long "slow" training. I think the mistake a lot of people make when they hear about this "slow" heart-rate type training is that they think it just means really slow. But the word slow seems to be used more to mean that there is no need for any all-out speed workouts like intervals to raise that all-important upper aerobic limit. They come later in the sharpening up period. My training has been coming together the last couple of weeks (cooler weather helps too), and now I am running pretty fast at my aerobic limit; even my "sweet spot" pace is about 4:30 min/km. Feels nice.


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