It’s all about the pace…and I’m not talking salsa
Just thought I’d share a little of what I recently learned about pacing myself vs. going all out.
First off I must confess that I have always worked out for sprints. I wrestled in high school. You give it everything you have every second of the match without any thought of holding back because it will all be over in three minutes anyway. Then I moved onto martial arts, where you spend most of your time at a reasonable pace, but when it comes to training for demos and the like, again you’ve got three minutes to give it all you’ve got. Warrior work? Yep, same thing. Rounds are short and intense. Given this background, the only training I’ve ever really done was short and intense, just like the activity I was training for.
I’ve often marveled at long distance runners. I’ve always sprinted. I get about fifty feet and my lungs seize and my heart does it’s best to break through my ribs. The thought of being able to run miles has been as foreign to me as the thought of flight. So much so that I’ve had it in my head for years that I’m equally likely to be able to run a mile as I am to fly. I just wrote the whole thing off.
A few weeks ago I got one of those polar heart monitor things and read up on what a good heart rate is for training. Previous to this I always thought my heart rate during a workout was like a NASCAR speedometer, the closer to 220 the better you are doing. In my research I found out that given my height, weight, age there is a target heart-rate for me when doing cardio work. Turns out it 149…not 220.
So now when I train I try to keep my heart rate between 149 and 165, and you know what…I can go forever! Seriously! I’ve been training at around 155 bpm and after an hour and a half of cardio on the bike, treadmill, elliptical, or my bicycle I’m just getting warmed up. I don’t need to stop to catch my breath, my heart isn’t trying to climb out my throat, none of the old crippling sensations I’m used to during cardio work are popping up at all.
The weird thing is, to me, it feels like flying. Now I’m not talking about runners high (I still think thats B.S. propaganda by NIKE) but my mindset has been totally blown away. I am now regularly doing something I truly believed myself wholly incapable of for most of my life. Just let that sink in. Think of something that you know in every fiber of your being you cannot do. Now imagine doing it four times a week. Imagine how you would feel if you, all of a sudden, were granted the power to pull off this impossible feat.
Here’s a hint, it’s fucking awesome!