You have no doubt heard of long slow distance runs or LSD for short. I prefer to call these types of runs, running slow to run fast. This weekly long run is the cornerstone of all distance running programs. By adding the use of heart rate monitors a runner can improve the effectiveness of long runs significantly.
A simple formula is needed to calculate the effort level of these runs. The formula 180bpm minus the user’s age was popularized by the great triathlete Mark Allen. Using this formula Mark Allen went onto to build his enormous aerobic capacity.
Example: 180bpm (180-your age = heart rate limit)
- 35 years old
145 bpm heart rate limit
After your heart rate limit for your long run is calculated you are ready to run. Always keep your heart rate under your limit. If your heart rate will not stay below this number either slow down your pace or terminate the workout. Going above the heart rate limit will not increase your aerobic capacity.
Many athletes think that running at a slower pace will make them slow runners. In fact running too hard every day will cause over training. The body needs time to get stronger and adapt to the new stresses. Running at this lower heart rate three times a week and adding some faster runs will improve your conditioning dramatically.
An added benefit using this formula is mental toughness. Many runners who aspire to run marathons can use this formula on their marathon training runs. By staying in the aerobic zone training runs will last longer before exhaustion occurs. And the mental toughness required running marathons will also happen.
As the aerobic system improves your ability to run harder paces will also improve. This is why I call this type of running, running slow to run fast. The body’s ability to use oxygen is a limiting factor of running pace.
By running one longer distance run each week of over 90 minutes. Adding a couple easy running days at your target heart rate, plus different types of speed work you will become faster guaranteed.
author of Run2Fast