It was a 30 minute run to establish a benchmark and determine my lactate threshold heart rate and establish “zones” to run in. This is especially helpful when doing recovery runs. Sometimes I think we run our recovery pace because we think “x/y/z pace” is what we are supposed to run for recovery. However, your body is going to be different depending on the day. If my workout the previous day was very strenuous, I might need to run a much slower recovery pace than if I had done an easier workout the day before.
We started off warming up for 5 minutes. Every two minutes, my coach asked me my heart rate, pace and “perceived effort level.” For the first 10 minutes, I slowly increased my pace, then the last 20 minutes, she told me to push my pace so that I was “toying with redlining, but not going over the red line.” Basically, pushing hard, but a pace that I can sustain for 20 minutes.
At one point, I backed the pace off a little. Instead of feeling like a failure, my coach was right there telling me that was a smart decision and the right choice. It is so great to have that!
I cooled down for another 10 minutes. She divided distance by time to determine my threshold run pace. Since I was running on a treadmill, she also took the opportunity to film me while I was running. She was able to give me some pointers on my form, and things to be cognizant of when I am getting tired. She said I have a mid-foot to fore-foot stride, and as I started to get tired, she coached me to hold my chest open and keep my shoulders back and relaxed. Not too different from what my horse trainer used to tell me haha!
My biggest takeaway from this exercise is that my heart rate zones are unique to me. I have always compared my heart rate to others, and thought that because mine was higher, it meant I wasn’t truly fit enough to be running the paces I do. However, my coach told me that is not the case. I may naturally have a bit higher heart rate than someone else, and running within MY unique zones is what is most important.
On a side note, another thing that I love about having a coach is that she always includes post run nutrition in my workouts – like it is part of the workout. Because let’s be honest, it absolutely is. She recommends grams per kg of body weight for both protein and carb. I like that she includes that, because it gets me to think ahead about it.