Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Aerobic miles

Today was a great day to work on base building miles, particularly because I was finally able to get off of the treadmill and back onto the roads! Rochester was a wonderful 41 degrees today with the sun shining down. I was antsy all morning at work trying to get things done so I could sneak out for an early afternoon run. Therefore the moment I had a free second, I was gone...I probably left tread marks on the floor running out to my car to get out of the office and home to run.

I went into this run with no time or speed goal (insert shocked face here....we all know I love to push myself). My goal for this run was to get 9 aerobic miles in, focus on form and just enjoy the weather we had for the day. I rushed home from work ( I was luckily able to get out early today), change and got my stuff ready (I put my Garmin and I.Pod on charge this morning just in case I had this chance), and headed outside.

 My +Saucony Hat was perfect for this sunny spring-like run, also added some more miles to the purple Kinvara's, I'm trying to work them into the rotation about once a week, get the most out of my other pair of Kinvara's before switching to these ones full time.

This run felt good, focused on keeping my arms relaxed and keeping a steady pace. My splits were just about even through the whole thing, I never really got into a good groove, but I think that's because I wanted to go faster (I fought the urge, because I know I need the aerobic miles).

I actually would have liked this to be a little slower for aerobic miles, but I'll take it. This was effortless for the most part, a few big gusts of wind and a few bobs and weaves around ice patches gave me a little more work but nothing I couldn't handle. (I most likely looked like an idiot the entire time I was going down Park avenue where most of the sidewalk was still covered in ice and where there wasn't ice, there were puddles the size of a crater left by a meteor. (I'm not afraid of puddles or water, but come on...no one likes cold wet feet.)

I really need to work on getting some more aerobic base miles in each week. While training for Marshall Marathon in the fall, one of the things that helped me the most was building up my base of aerobic miles, it is great for the mind and the body to back off a little bit. Aerobic miles do wonderful things for your level of fitness.  I have just never been really good at getting them in by myself, it's a lot easier when running with someone when you can slow down, relax and talk while you run. But of course I am trying to learn to do it on my own too. Here's a little hint though, I like to do things my way and I like to do things fast and efficient and patience is most definitely not my middle name. So we will see how much I actually try and slow myself down.

A little about Aerobic Exercise/ Aerobic running
Aerobic exercise is generally lower intensity activity that relies on the use of oxygen to meet the energy demands of the body (Aerobic Metabolism).  You're not going to spike your heart rate or win any races, the goal is to maintain steady pace and steady breathing to allow the body to maximize it's energy through oxygen. Basically your 'easy' runs should be aerobic, where your tempo runs, intervals, and progressive runs are going to be more anaerobic (screw keeping your heart rate down for these, it's going to get jacked up). Progressive runs are my favorite (mainly because it works well for me), I love finishing run stronger and faster than I started.

Benefits of Aerobic Running
There are so many benefits, but I will highlight a few for you......
  1. Prevents Health Problems : Running in general does this. I mean seriously, if you're taking the time to get off the couch to go run, chances are you're going to start making other smarter decisions to go along with it.
  2. Strengthens the Respiratory System: Makes your lungs more efficient. your body can deliver oxygen quicker to the rest of the body. Oxygen=good. (duh.)
  3. Reduces Body Fat: Aerobic exercise burns calories, just like other activities do, the only difference is that aerobic activity burns FAT calories (erm, those are those little creatures that sew your clothes smaller at night to make you mad)
  4. Strengthening the Heart: Makes the heart muscles stronger and can pump blood more efficiently. 
  5. Improved Mental Health: Again, running in general does this, but sometimes backing it off and taking it easy and just focusing on time on your feet rather than the speed can be a stress relief. Not every run needs to be your fastest, the sooner you learn this, the less likely you will end up disappointed when you do have an off run.
  6. Improves Oxygen Supply to Muscles: You're muscles need Oxygen, you need your muscles to run. Do I need to say more?
  7. Increased Efficiency of Muscles Oxygen Usage: Continuing with number 6, muscles need oxygen but if they are more efficient with their usage of said oxygen, the less likely they are to be fatigued. And we all hate tired muscles.
Look, I am not an expert.....not by any means. But I do know what has worked for me in the past, take it easy and relax. Not every run will be your fastest, nor should it be. Your body needs to experience all types of running to develop into the best runner it can be. You need easy aerobic runs, you also need those intervals to boost your speed, and tempo runs to push your threshold, longer runs to help build endurance, and recovery runs to allow your body to heal. Don't be stupid, if you plan o running every run as fast as you can, call your doctor now and schedule an appointment for some injury, because you'll be needing it before too long.

One last addition to that.... I will be the first to admit I did not used to understand the concept that every run shouldn't be your fastest. I was horrible about it to be honest, and I used to wonder why I wasn't improving and why I was always fighting fatigued and injured muscles. Finally I started being smarter and asking more experienced people questions, I started reading about running and I started trying to train smarter and not harder. It wasn't easy at first, and there are still days I have to really fight the urge to go all out, but you have to remember the long term goals and not just focus on the here and now. It's a process, and it's also a puzzle, there are so many pieces to becoming a stronger runner, but every puzzle is different, you need to find the perfect way for your pieces to fit together. (okay, lame I know...but true!)


  1. that was a great overview of why these runs are so important!! I really love a great long run that I can just settle in to an enjoy!

  2. Great job on your run! You're so right about not running every run at a fast pace, and how important it is to vary training.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...