The great restraint

I read somewhere this weekend that it’s good not to train at your max capacity (in terms of effort or heart rate), and I wondered if I could take an easy run and keep within a certain heart rate (HR) zone. I’ve measured my max heart rate around 205, and most of my runs are done in the 180-190 range on average, which is very high. Anything from 170-180 feels “good,” and anything below that feels easy. I decided I might try a longer run today and peg my HR between 160 and 170 for the entire duration of the run. While it absolutely drove me nuts to restrain, it allowed me to go 14.25 miles at an 8:54 pace.

This is in contrast to my 3.5 miler yesterday, in which each split was faster than the one before it, by about 10 seconds per mile. Overall I averaged 7:35 min/mi, which isn’t breaking any land speed record but isn’t too shabby for me, either.

I certainly could not have sustained the 14 miles at this pace, but I read that one can actually get faster if you continue to train at a certain HR, which seems unintuitive to me. Here’s to the great experiment of human physiology, I suppose.

The run today could not have been more perfect, as the weather was about 15 degrees F cooler than it had been in previous days, holding steady from around 50 to 55 F for two hours. I went down from the Allston/Brookline border to Jamaica Pond and looped around and went up Huntington to the Boston Commons. From there, I went out to the harbor and made my way West via the river. I crossed the Mass Ave bridge and then continued on the Cambridge side for awhile, before crossing the BU bridge and ending up at the gym. Here’s the route:

another kind of fourteener


One thought on “The great restraint

  1. Felicia

    I love reading about your running! You’re such a pro now!! Chris and I were just talking about how you helped us pick running shoes about a year ago. 🙂

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