With my new foray into Ironman training, I’ve been learning about heart rate training, and just started incorporating it into my workouts.  And MAN is it frustrating!

I normally run at a 9:30/mile average pace.  It’s comfortable, but fast enough that I feel like I’m pushing myself a little.  If I really want to push, I can go sub-9, but that’s reserved for speed workouts and races.

With heart rate training, the idea is to find your lactate threshold heart rate – the point at which you switch from exercising aerobically to anaerobically.  You then determine your heart rate zones (recovery, aerobic endurance, and anaerobic/power, etc.)  The point of heart rate training is to spend most of your time in zone 2, which is just beneath your lactate threshold, and is the aerobic endurance zone.  When you train in this zone, you are conditioning your body to become more efficient and to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs.  So you can go longer without fatiguing.  Over time, you are able to run/bike/whatever at faster paces while still staying in this aerobic endurance zone.

Well, today I did my first HR-guided run and it was good, but SO SLOW.  Like, PAINFULLY SLOW.  I had a hard time settling into a good pace at first – I kept wanting to go faster and my garmin heart rate alarms (which I set before I started running) kept beeping angrily at me.  But after a few minutes I found my pace and just shuffled (or so it felt) along for my 8 miler.

Overall, my pace for this run… 13:16/mile.

Ouch.

I know that’s normal, and totally okay.  But it’s very discouraging to go from consistent 9:30s or so to a 13:16/mile.  I need to keep reminding myself that this will be really good in the long run, and that I will speed up over the course of the next several weeks/months.

Now I’m very curious to see how quickly that happens.

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