General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Aerobic running, hills, V-dot score, oh my!!! Rss Feed  
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2013-10-31 11:37 AM


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Subject: Aerobic running, hills, V-dot score, oh my!!!
So I'm hoping for a little helpful insight here, beyond "run more."

I'm trying to use the off season to improve my run, which is my biggest limiter. I performed a field test for my LTHR, and came up with 191. I warmed up for 10 minutes, then went all out for 30 minutes. Wanted to die. And 191 was my average for the final 20 minutes.

As to the V-Dot score, I used that field test to determine the V-Dot. Which gave me a score of 40 (I did 5.1 miles in the 40 minutes, rounded to 5 miles at 39:20). According to that it said my Easy pace should be 10:11. While I can run that pace at what feels easy, my HR would indicate otherwise. I used the Joe Friel HR zones to determine my zone 2 and have my watch set to blow up when I go over it. It has the top end of my zone 2 at 167.
As an example yesterday I ran 6 miles and pretty much had to walk every mile to keep my HR in Z2, and that was running at a pace of 11 min/mile. Forget trying to run my "easy" pace of 10:11. So that's flat ground. What are the suggestions here? Run slower so I don't have to walk or is walking fine?

Hills are whole nother story. If i want to save time and run out of my house I can't avoid hills. Forget keeping my HR in z2, not going to happen, no matter how slowly I run up them. So the question I have here is, does walking with an HR of 165 still help build my aerobic base or is having to walk a lot hurting my fitness? Its not an ego thing for me, I just want to make sure I'm not wasting any training time. Should I just really avoid hills if I'm trying to build an aerobic base?

Thanks for the inevitable great advice I'm about to receive!!!


2013-10-31 11:55 AM
in reply to: TriDadinAsheville

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Subject: RE: Aerobic running, hills, V-dot score, oh my!!!
If you train with constant pace you will adapt and be fine, but you will be popping in and out of zones, some people don't care and it can work. But if you choose to run and train based on zones (which I do), your pace will vary a lot. And yes, sometimes in the early days you have to walk a little, especially up hills.

As an example, I had to walk up a nearby hill the first week or so, to keep my heart rate in Z2, and I run a 18:30 5K. Well at the time I was able to run a 19 min 5K. After a few weeks, I was running constantly, and in a coupe of months I was running up that hill in Z2 at a pace faster than last years "easy" run.

Remember that goal here is to build your aerobic engine and that means staying in Z2 for easy runs as your body adapts. You will eventually find that the increases in easy pace start to plateau, at which point you do another field test and reset your zones.

That 10:11 pace is a good indicator, but with zone training, shouldn't be an absolute.
2013-10-31 12:19 PM
in reply to: tkos

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Subject: RE: Aerobic running, hills, V-dot score, oh my!!!

Originally posted by tkos

Remember that goal here is to build your aerobic engine and that means staying in Z2 for easy runs as your body adapts.

Well, not really.  The goal is correct, but you don't need to stay 100% in Z2 in order to do that.  If your HR spikes a little bit on the hills, just roll with it as long as you don't have to waste all your energy to get up it (and don't try to maintain the same pace up the hill either).  Hills are good.  Embrace them.

OP, it is impossible to say exactly since we don't know how valid your test and results are.  I would choose HR or pace and stick with that to start.  Let the other fall where it may (feel free to note the data, as eventually you should be able to use either).  Then, as you run, take an assessment about how you feel.  Are you comfortable?  Can you hold a conversation?  Can you maintain the pace/effort for the duration of your run?  Answering those questions should let you know if the effort/HR/pace are working for you or not.  The main goal is run at a level that creates some stress but, on most days, leaves you feeling like you could do more at the same effort/pace.  And leaves you able to come back and do tomorrow's workout (and the next day, etc.).

2013-10-31 1:15 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Aerobic running, hills, V-dot score, oh my!!!

Originally posted by JohnnyKay

Originally posted by tkos

Remember that goal here is to build your aerobic engine and that means staying in Z2 for easy runs as your body adapts.

Well, not really.  The goal is correct, but you don't need to stay 100% in Z2 in order to do that.  If your HR spikes a little bit on the hills, just roll with it as long as you don't have to waste all your energy to get up it (and don't try to maintain the same pace up the hill either).  Hills are good.  Embrace them.

OP, it is impossible to say exactly since we don't know how valid your test and results are.  I would choose HR or pace and stick with that to start.  Let the other fall where it may (feel free to note the data, as eventually you should be able to use either).  Then, as you run, take an assessment about how you feel.  Are you comfortable?  Can you hold a conversation?  Can you maintain the pace/effort for the duration of your run?  Answering those questions should let you know if the effort/HR/pace are working for you or not.  The main goal is run at a level that creates some stress but, on most days, leaves you feeling like you could do more at the same effort/pace.  And leaves you able to come back and do tomorrow's workout (and the next day, etc.).

I think this is really the key and for a lot of people (including myself) is more difficult than one would think.  It has been my observation (right or wrong) that many if not most people pace their easy runs too fast.  The cumulative effect of running too hard too often can lead to injury and builtup fatigue that prevents or delays you from attaining your long term goals.  I have been so guilty of racing the clock or being too fixated on it.  What really helped me was a challenge where we had to state the purpose of our run before doing it.  By stating and understanding the purpose of the workout you realize that you do not need to necessarily run fast to accomplish the phsyiological adaptation you seek for the session.   Whether you use HR, RPE, or other, it still boils down to what Johnny said.

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