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Monday, April 23

Garbage Miles

The ABCs and running
series: Today's topic: Garbage Miles.
When I first started running, none of my miles were garbage miles. My heart rate was always in Zone 3.

  • Zone 1: Light intensity--average heart rate below 140 bpm

  • Zone 2: Moderate intensity--average heart rate between 140 and 171 bpm

  • Zone 3: High intensity--average heart rate above 171 bpm
I was over training and suffered from the usual symptoms of increased morning heart rate, fatigue, and muscle pain. Hard continuous training can actually set you back. Your body loses the ability to regenerate on rest days. [See Overtraining Syndrome]
So why do some folks think slow (Zone 1) is a waste of time - calling them garbage miles?
Probably comes from the same ideology > No pain No gain.
[This is a mistake]
Long slow runs increase endurance and in the end result speed. Your body is able to perform for longer periods of time. (Consider negative splits.)
"The body becomes more efficient at feeding the working muscles, and learns to metabolize fat as a source of fuel."
In the past 4 months that I've included long slow runs into my routine, my max heart rate has dropped to around 170 bpm from a pounding 200 bpm!
This interesting study by Ed Eyestone showed that the runners who had logged 71% of their training in Zone 1 faired the best.
So don't think of those nice relaxed runs as garbage miles they are an important part of your training.
And don't forget - Garbage miles are great for burning calories!