Learning to do an easy run.

Bluebells have arrived!

Bluebells have arrived!

As a novice runner I read a lot of advice about how most beginners push themselves too hard. I struggled to understand the difference between an easy run, a tempo run and a threshold run. Various definitions tell you about being able to run and talk – I was only ever able to gasp a few words. I think that I even commented in my blog that as a beginner, every run, ie that fact that you were running not walking, was by definition a tempo run.

today I went out for a planned low intensity run guided by my heart rate monitor. I reset the HR zones to what they should be, having knocked 10 yrs off may age previously as the zones set as they were ‘didn’t seem right’ ie I could achieve zone 2 with a brisk walk and I felt that it was holding me back from running as much as I could. Apparently a low intensity run is supposed to feel like you are holding something back.

having primed the alarm to vibrate at the top and bottom of HR zone 2 I set off. It was frustrating at first, I only seemed to run a few steps then it was telling me to slow down. I had to walk. It seemed daft to be walking when I could run. A man on the street even commented to me, why wasn’t I running properly. (Here in the north of England it’s quite acceptable for complete strangers to speak to you  and give unsolicited advice) ‘I’m using a heat rate monitor’ I explained. ‘No pain no gain!’ He replied, grinning and taking another pull on his cigarette.  Mmm. I smiled benignly and walked on.

It was a bit annoying to be constantly reminded to slow down to a walk, so ever the scientist I decided to amuse myself by counting how many steps it took to get me from one end of the heart rate zone to the other. On a slight incline, 100 running steps up, 80 walking steps down. On a steep incline 70 steps up, 100 down. Steady slight decline, 200 steps up, 70 down. In the future I will be able to count this again and see if there is any ‘improvement’.

I did 5 miles, and by the end of it I was getting tuned into the feeling of when it was still easy and when I was going into the next zone. When I got home, I felt absolutely fine and actually like I could go out and do it all again. I think that’s the point! If I can get another couple of hours in at low intensity over the week, I can really push myself at Parkrun on Saturday as my 20% ‘high intensity’ session.


About mawil1

Hi my name is julie and I took up running at the age of 46! Hence 'mawil' Middle Aged Woman In Lycra. I did it at first because someone asked me to do a charity run with them. I couldn't run at all, but pride wouldn't let me be seen to be unable to run so I started a walk run programme. I stuck with it and to my surprise I found that I liked it- after a couple of weeks of progress I was hooked! My blog is about my progress in running and how I fit it in with the rest of my life.
This entry was posted in heartrate, low intensity, middle aged women, novice, parkrun, running, slow run. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Learning to do an easy run.

  1. I admire your patience and I’m sure it will all pay off. All those running terms are enough to do the head in when first starting running. I never got it right and seldom do now. All the best with it. Love the photos of the blue bells.

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