Endurance Saturday – Testing out New Gear and Training Methods

Saturday is for long runs on the trail. I am officially half way through training for the Gnaw Bone 50K in May 2018. If you have ever trained for a race before you will have heard that training runs are the time to try out new gear, nutrition practices, hydration strategies, etc. . . . .not on race day.  In the spirit of trying new things out during training runs I thought I would talk a little about some experiments I did today on my 11-mile trail run.

Experiment One – Clothing

Specifically, the “Gotta Go” skirt by skirtsports.com. Going to the bathroom outside is definitely one of the top ten advantages men have over women. Add sweaty tights to the mix and you are basically adding insult to injury. When I heard about the Gotta Go skirt by Skirt Sports I was like, I GOTTA try that. When ordering the skirt, they mentioned that the fit was purposefully snug. Compressed compression. The video demonstrating how to put it on also mentioned that you want the fit to be very snug.  I ordered a small so if you are my size or a little smaller that would be a good size for you BUT if you are even five pounds heavier than me and you carry your weight in your thighs or booty you might want to order up a size. There is no wiggle room for me in size small.  I admit I was worried about chaffing because of the “escape hatch” as I call it you have a lot of extra seams and places to chafe in that area.  I did apply my homemade chaffing balm (recipe in a blog from last year) and luckily did not experience any chaffing.  I usually don’t have chaffing in that area until mile 15 – I will need to retest on a longer run day.  Because I was running on a trail with a bathroom, I did not try the skirt out on the trail but I did “practice” a total of five times between the bathroom and porta potties.  Everything worked as expected. Overall, I consider the first outing a success and will definitely upgrade to a longer and hotter day to see if I have better results with this skirt compared to my running shorts with regard to chaffing.

Experiment Two – Primal Endurance Heart Rate Training.

For many years I have known that I should do my training runs using Maffetone’s formula of 180-age. For me, that is a MAX of only 136. I have had days here and there I would try it but I always find an excuse as to why I can’t stick to that. First off it is hard as hell to keep your heart rate below 136 when running. I am not an elite athlete. Elite athletes have Tesla engines and since I don’t know my car analogies I cannot even tell you what kind of engine a normal mom like me has. I listen to podcast after podcast of complaining athletes that have to run “slow” at 10 minutes a mile to stick to their MAF heart rate numbers. Let me tell you, they can stuff it! My average pace was 17:58 out on the hilly trails AND that was with my heart rate ABOVE the max quite often. I would be jogging along at 135 and then all of a sudden with what felt like no change in exertion, my heart rate would spike to 160 and I would need to walk until it leveled out under 136, I would start jogging again and BAM, 155! Very frustrating. I am assuming it is the nature of running on hills that makes it hard to maintain a heart rate that low and I have submitted the question to the Primal Endurance Training group on Facebook. Could be that I need to modify for hilly terrain; although I am certain that is not what the intent of the program would suggest.  I will research this more thoroughly and decide how to proceed for my specific training and to attain my long-term health and race goals.

The good news is that on race day you can put the pedal to the metal and just see what happens. I will report back to you all with progress. For now, check out the picture from today’s beautiful run with my sweet friend Stacie who happily stayed with me today at my slow pace even though I repeatedly tried to let her off the hook. I hadn’t seen her in many weeks and was very happy to have her company and be able to catch up with her!

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Why Would Anyone Want to Train at a MAX HR of 180-Age and be subjected to such slow pace?

Without going into too much detail in this post below are a few benefits noted by Phil Maffetone:

1.       Training at a lower heart rate is better for improving the aerobic system and slow twitch muscle fibers used in endurance activities.

2.       When you train at a higher heart rate you are entering the Anaerobic system. Time in this system lowers your endurance muscle fibers, produces lactic acid, and may inhibit aerobic muscle enzymes.

3.       At the lower heart rate, you burn primarily fat as opposed to sugar for fuel (I barely need to fuel for an 11-mile run).

4.       Increased heart rate increases stress and specifically the stress hormone cortisol which can decrease immune function, decrease fat burning, increase fat storage, increase potential for injury.

To read more and find the advanced MAF calculator visit this site: https://philmaffetone.com/want-speed-slow-down/

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Isabelle and I matched unintentionally today. I am so happy she is back out on the trails!!

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