Hit the brakes!

I've recently been instructed by a running coach to slow my running waaay down. I've been competing in 5k's for over a year now but was disappointed that in a year's time I only improved my pr by about 10 seconds. I've noticed that after the first mile I'm having to push myself to maintain a certain pace which is actually about 30 seconds slower per mile than I was running at last year. I started wearing a heart monitor at all of my races and was concerned to find out that my heart rate shot up to the high 180 bpm and by the time I hit the 2nd mile I was into the 190's. I figured I could run faster if I could find a way to reduce my heart rate and keep it low. After discussing this with my running coach he said that I needed to create a base and improve from there. So for now I can only run at a 13:20 pace and have to slow down as my heart rate increases. I'm not sure how long it will take to get back too where I was last year. This news is very disappointing but I'm hoping to improve and come back stroger next year.


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12 Replies

  • Doing one of your weekly runs as a slow long run will improve your performance when you try and do a speedy 5k. It's always good to mix things up a bit.

  • I think you're right. I've used a training pace calculator from Runners World and was astonished at how SLOW I should be running on my slow runs.

    Mix up your runs, speed, intervals, hills, etc and that will all help improve your speed eventually.

    I am so jealous you have a running coach!

  • Speed isn't much of a problem. It's mostly cardio. I've done intervals, hills, trails, long, short and tempo runs. I just can't keep the heart rate down. I'm going to try the heart rate zone training for a few months. My coach said that I may be able to work on speed again by July. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Oh I see what you mean. Yes that would be hard! Good luck and keep us posted.

  • I just googled it and found it...what a helpful little tool!

  • Really interesting stuff. So did your coach say that by doing long slow runs on a low HR you will then be able to do faster fast runs? I now have a Garmin 225 with a HR monitor on the wrist and I have become just a little obsessed with looking at my HR stats!!!!

  • Over time, yes. The way he explained it to me after watching my heart rate while running on a treadmill is that right now I can maintain a constant speed of 4.5 mph and keep my heart rate below 150 bpm. Over time, I'll be able to run at the same pace for 20 minutes, 25 minutes etc and keep the hear rate below 150 bpm. Then I'll be able to bring the speed up a bit at a time and still be able to keep my heart rate in control.

  • Fascinating! Thanks for this.

    Incidentally, what are your typical 5 and 10k paces? Or PBs for that matter?

  • My best 5k time was 22:10 and 10k time was 48:48.

  • Very interesting. My 5k is 23:31 and 10k is 49:00.

    But I've only been running for a year and I'm 47 - you look much younger!

    My 5k has come down from an initial 26:30 and my ultimate goal is to go sub 20; ambitious I know. And I'm sure I'm going to plateau sometime this year, so your coach's advice is really interesting, thanks again.


  • Thanks for the compliment. I've spent a lot of time in the gym and have noticed that others who live this sort of lifestyle tend to look younger than their actual age. Don't look for a plateau...you never know what you're capable of doing. I know of one guy in particular in his 50's that runs 5k's in low 18's. Just keep a variety in your training and don't give up.

  • That's good advice re: the variety - which is what I'm doing at the moment to be fair.

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