Time to Reassess

Every three to four months I have what is called a Cardio Point test done at my gym. It is an assessment of my aerobic and anaerobic zones. It measures my oxygen rate of utilization, how much I burn in fat and how much I burn in carbohydrates, my heart rate ranges for the five zones, and when I go from aerobic to anaerobic – the point my body stops burning fat and only burns carbohydrates. This morning I had my assessment.

In September I discovered that I had trained my body to work in zone 4 well – burning only carbs and no fat. This is a classic mistake most runner make. Running hard every time and not slowing down for the “easy” runs – which is about two minutes per mile slower than the hard runs. Since then I have been working hard at pushing out my zone 1 as well as extending my anaerobic threshold (AT), the point I move into zone 4. Accomplishing both is challenging because to push out zone 1 requires a rest day and more slow work. Increasing my AT requires speed work. Doing both and training for triathlon with two more sports can be a difficult balance. What I learned today is I am improving my zone 1 but everything else stayed consistent. I didn’t lose any of my aerobic base or reduce my AT, but I didn’t push it out either. I did improve on my fat burn – a little. I don’t have much fat to burn, but I don’t want to be a saver either…

Next up is more intense speed work. The person I did the test with really knows her stuff and she is a wicked fast runner. Humble too, I only learned this when I asked what pace she ran for a half marathon. She told me her most recent PR at the half marathon was a 1:21. That would be 58 minutes faster than my PR. She is an elite runner able to run 6:10 minute miles – 13.1 times over. And not brag a bit about it. What was even more encouraging was she did not have any attitude toward me at all as a “slow” runner. She knows my experience, seen my ability and told me she knows I can get faster. I will be working much more with her in the future I do believe.

There are several ways, I learned today, to improve my metabolism. Proper training is a huge part but so is diet. I just started reading a book about eating to boost metabolism for athletes. More to come as I learn about it. Today was a very good day to learn. I learned more about myself, I learned more about my potential, and about training and diet. I also learned that if I manage my training well and listen to my body, I can train every day – just not intense every day. The trainer also told me that listening to my body trumps any schedule. Like last week – I was tired and worn out at 5 in the morning, a light workout would have been more appropriate than the speed work I actually did…. So reassessing every so often is a good thing. I am a work in progress – and happy to be progressing.

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