Training Update 29/03/2019

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A lot of the underlying principals surrounding Phil Maffetone’s teaching on low heart rate training has to do with listening to your body. Pain is your body’s way of communicating with you. I’m used to ignoring it, but I’m slowly learning how listening to those early gripes can lead to success down the track. So, this week was a down week from a training perspective. Instead of my usual 5 runs, I’ve traded two of those for two bike rides. My hope is that the cycling has less impact on my body, but I’m still getting some aerobic benefit. I gotta say it’s hard to not be ‘doing something’.

I’ve also looked over my training plan and made sure I am having scheduled lower volume weeks every 4 or so weeks to give my body a chance to have a rest.

I have my MAF test next week, which is cool, but after getting some advice from the Maffetone Facebook Group, I’ve decided to use a lower heart rate in my training. I’ll be training at 139 from now until the ‘over fat’ issue is resolved. It feels a little like failure, but I have to accept the fact that my size affects my ability to train and until I’ve got that under control, I’ll have to wear the lower heart rate. Ultimately, I think it’ll do me good and I’ll still make progress at the lower rate, it’s just a bit of a hard reality to accept at times.

In other news, I got a pair of Xero Prio runners! I know it sounds like I’ve ‘totally drunk the Maffetone coolaid’ but I’ve always suspected that there’s not something fundamentally flawed with our bodies that we have to wear specially designed pillows so we don’t fall apart by our 30’s. We are a far more robust species than that. So when someone comes along and says, ‘Hey you can burn fat for fuel, train without injury and by the way, you’re not fundamentally broken, just poorly trained…’ then it’s going to be someone I pay attention to.

I have looked around for internet HowTo’s on how to ‘use my feet’… or something to that effect. Since I have heard horror stories of individuals getting their fancy new barefoot/minimal shoes, and ending up nearly crippled for three days afterwards, I decided to look around for some advice. The advice that made the most sense to me was, ‘you don’t have to take 2 years to transition to a zero drop shoe, but you do need to work your way up to longer efforts’. So I strapped them on eagerly fresh from the packaging and did a short walk then a bit of a job. Boy oh Boy! they feel different and really jacked up my calves.

The next day I did a similar thing and I think I am still feeling it a couple days later. I have a long way to go before I’m doing full training runs in these bad boys, but I’m excited at the prospect of training my feet so I don’t get the pain in my ankles, knees and hips.

So my training was 4:59 of running, 3 x 1 hour runs and 1 x 1:30 run all at MAF of 144 and 32.6 km. Yesterday I went for a 1:10 bike ride and covered about 26 km. I’ll be riding again tomorrow instead of my long run.

Training Update 22/03/2019

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Ok, so 6 weeks in I’m and I’ll admit that I’m struggling with this whole patience thing. I’d read online of people’s stories with significant improvements after a few steady weeks and I guess I’m not seeing the improvements I was hoping for. I’ve given it some thought and I’ll put it down to a couple of things.

Firstly, I’m a good 40-50kg over fat. At 124 kg and holding and close enough to 6′, I should probably be somewhere around the 78-82 kg mark, depending on the benchmark. To address my overweight issue, I’m using the carnivore way of eating to ensure my nutrient density is high, along with a good amount of fat intake and zero carbs. From all reports, athletic prowess in the first few months of carnivore adaptation ranges from limited to poor. There are exceptions out there, apparently I am not one of them.

Secondly, and perhaps a compounding factor to my over fat and carnivore adaptation, it’s been pretty hot for this time of the year (just starting Autumn here in Oz). Running most days at 28-31 degrees Celsius (about 87 degrees in Freedom Units) and between 70-80% humidity. Perhaps one the most interesting things I’ve learned in this process is watching just how much the heat affects the body’s ability to recover. My heart rate stays elevated for much longer on a hot day. This is super useful information on race day, if it is hot. Heart rate management is key.

Training wise, my stats are: 6:00 hours of running total, same breakdown as last week (3 x 1:00 hr runs and 2 x 1:30 runs) for a total of 38.7 km. I ran slightly farther than last week. A small win but I’ll take it for now.

A couple of other observations.

  • The running itself is getting easier. The fatigue in my feet and legs has reduced and at the end of my hour runs I’m not as fatigued. The 1:30 runs are still tough though.
  • My resting heart rate has dropped to around 50-53 bpm in the morning.
  • When I walk my heart rate doesn’t climb as quickly and sometimes it’s barely noticeable if I walk in the cooler weather
  • I feel calmer. There’s a good chance it’s a combination of the running and zero carb but I’m happy with that.

Concerns

  • My feet do ache sometimes and I’ve been working on some foot exercises to strengthen them. That seems to be helping but it’s taking time… that pesky patience thing coming back to haunt me.
  • My weight hasn’t shifted in the past week. Plateaus are pretty common and I’m not afraid of them, I guess I was hoping to go a little longer before hitting one. I’d love to be under 120 doing this amount of running.

Training Update 15/03/19

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I’m about 5 weeks into MAF training after finishing a C25K program and 3 weeks into eating Carnivore style. To summarise MAF is a training methodology that focuses solely on ensuring the aerobic base is solid and all training is performed at or below that heart rate, which for me, is about 144. I say ‘about 144’ because given his new method to determine Maximum Aerobic Function, I should probably be 134. Let’s keep that between you and me for now.

Since my focus is on time spent training the key metric is in hours. If the MAF process works for me, or if I apply it diligently enough, the resulting km’s should improve over time. The past week I’ve done about 6:00 all up, 3 x 1 hr walk/runs and 2 x 1 hr 30 walk/runs for a total of 38.4 km.

Energy levels are pretty good, certainly better than last week and I have improved mental clarity. I’m putting that down to hitting week 3 of carnivorous eating. Which, for the uninitiated, is eating only animal products, meat (mostly beef), cheese and water.

The only concern is some blistering in my pinky toe and some pain occurring in my heel and foot. Probably early stages of plantar fasciitis. At the moment I’m just taking it easy during runs and being sure to monitor it if it gets worse. If it does get worse, I may have to reduce my MAF HR to compensate.