Written by Christina Schultz
Much of your development as a runner is not done during flashy speed workouts, or tempo days. As much as I love for runners to strength train, that’s not the key piece I’m talking about either.
It’s during “easy” runs.
Consistent, relaxed runs at an aerobic pace are where you should live roughly 80% of the time.
Boring, I know. But keeping your runs at this lower level is the best way to build a solid base and improve over time.
There are 2 reasons this is the case.
1. We are developing aerobic efficiency here.
The more efficient we are at utilizing aerobic energy systems, the longer we can depend on them before switching over to more limited fast burning anaerobic sources.
Once your body begins to depend on anaerobic sources, it’s only a matter of time until you bonk.
The more time you spend in this zone you’ll soon see the FASTER you can run in this zone.
Depending on aerobic energy sources at a higher velocity means that you are at a higher velocity when you begin switching to anaerobic source…
AKA you can run faster without bonking.
2. “Easy” runs more often allow you to be better rested and prepare you for harder workout days.
This means you have more in the well to pull from and can have more successful workouts leading to better adaptations.
This also means you can pull from the well with less risk of injury because your acute-to-chronic workload ratio has decreased.
Be patient because building an aerobic base takes time but if you stay in that zone 2 range 80% of the time you will see it pay off.
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About the Author: Christina Schultz
Christina Schultz graduated with a degree in exercise science from Florida Atlantic University. She was a captain for the cross country and track teams at the University. She went on to earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine. While at St. Augustine, she was a head high school cross country coach and distance track coach at a local high school. During this time she became a certified strength and conditioning specialist in order to enhance her abilities to treat athletes and improve their performance.
Christina moved from Jacksonville, FL to Greenville, SC with her dog Rosie to help keep our community active. She continues to run in her spare time and is enjoying exploring the city and hiking.