September 2016 seems like such a long time ago. It was a time of last year I was struggling with some injuries getting towards the end of my 1st year of running 1000 miles in a year. I was at about 800 miles for the year and in my mind I was aerobically quite fit. Looking back and making comparisons with this year shows that wasn’t quite the case.
To give you an example of what I pulled out 2 runs from Sep 2016 & compared them with 2 similar runs now in Sep 2017.
Sep 2016 :
4.6 miles – 8:14 pace – HR 161
3.2 miles – 8:46 pace – HR 164
Sep 2017 :
10 miles – 7:35 pace – HR 158
3 miles – 7:54 pace – HR 140
There are 3 clear as day changes from 2016 to 2017.
A: Im managing to do a lot more mileage & this 10 mile run was part of 3 days of back to back 10 milers.
B: My pace has drastically improved.
C: My HR is way down on average. Even a super fast 10 mile run couldn’t match the HR of a 4 mile run from the previous year.
So why am I telling you this?
A: I love this new platform Strava has provided where we are encouraged to talk about fitness & sports & there is no place for silly hatred & politics.
B: Some of you may of wondered how come Jason is running so far & so much quicker than he was last year?
Im here to shed some light on the topic & hopefully it helps one or two of you achieve YOUR goals.
1: I looked at my diet & found i was eating far to much carbs & sugars. I started slowly changing over to a LCHF ( low carb high fat ) way of living. Its not a diet because diets end. Its a way of life, encouraging your spouse & children to live the same way. Many carbs these days like corn, flour, soy, wheat etc are toxic for the body & should be severely limited. Yes, on occasion i still eat pizza, a burger ( with the bun ) or some yummy home made pasta. You only live once so go on, LIVE.
This change in eating habits has increased my energy levels and concentration. No longer do I have the late afternoon crash & I recover from heavy workouts far far faster. ( eg. I ran 32 miles – 8 hours on Sunday ) & 3 days later I run a sub 8 minute 3 mile easy recovery run…On top of that this year I’ve read about 8 or 9 books. Considering in my adult life ( 20 odd years ) I’ve read a total of 1 book i credit this 100% to my change in diet and increased concentration levels.
2: LSD – Also known as Long Slow Distance. LSD will increase your aerobic abilities. This is where all the big gains are made. Increasing your aerobic base is whats going to allow you to run longer and longer & when you increase your efficiency & form you will be able to run faster as well. LSD comes in a few different forms. The Maffetone system of subtracting your age from 180 will give you a goal HR to run at for your long runs. Jack Daniels marathon training used a measure of V02 Max to give you slower running paces for long runs. These are 2 common methods & will have similar paces for you to run at.
Essentially I spent the entire hot summer running LSD. You may of even seen me doing 3,4 or 5 hour trail runs really really slowly. This allowed my aerobic base to be built nice and solid. I now have a resting HR rate of around 50.
3: Efficiency – To be an efficient runner you need to run with good form. Good form will allow you to run faster with less effort manifesting itself in a lower HR. I spent a lot of the summer doing 1-5 mile runs focussing on foot strike, forward lean etc which all allows me to run just that little bit faster. I also did things like strength work in the gym doing lunges, squats, jump rope & even the occasional social media inspired plank competition.
Efficiency can also be taught / learned at a track. Speed work / speed drills also teach good form. Any time you run faster than normal your body is forced to have good efficiency.
If you struggle to run quickly chances are its your form to blame along with your aerobic fitness.