Vail column: Check intensity level of your run
Vail, CO Colorado
Recently I discovered the wisdom of running for time instead of mileage and gauged my exertion level according to my workouts.
Previously, I had always run my workouts based on mileage and classified my intensity by easy, medium, or hard. Over time, my workouts became stagnant.
Eight-mile easy runs would evolve into a faster-than-intended run and hard workouts would become difficult to finish. While I knew what workout I wanted to do that day, I had left my intensity level out of the equation. Examining your intensity level and running by time can add much needed variety to your training program.
Intensity level is based on a scale of 1-10 with an easy recovery run being around a 2 or 3 and a hard, full-effort race being a 10 in those last couple of miles. Rather than thinking about what pace you would like to run, consider your intensity level.
Most weekly runs will be your maintenance runs which will be around a 4 or 5. Once a week, you will want to elevate your intensity level by doing track speed or hill intervals, and this intensity will be around a 7 or 8.
Separate hard intensity workouts with an easy recovery run at a low intensity level of 2. This variation of intensity will make your running more focused and allow your body and mind to better understand the intentions of your workouts. Monitoring intensity is important, but running for time is a close second.
Challenge yourself to run for a predetermined amount of time rather than for mileage. Having to run 8 miles may seem a little daunting. However, if you know you only have to run for an hour, your mood may suddenly change.
If you run for an hour, you will have time to meet the kids at the bus stop, or workout before your business call. I have discovered that when I run for time instead of mileage, the time flies by and before I realize it, my hour is almost over. I also find that if I had intended to run 8 miles that I run near that goal and sometimes a little farther.
Running for time is a more enjoyable and focused form of workout that alters the perceived endless boredom of running repeatedly mile after mile.
Variety is essential to a wel-rounded running program. The next time you plan your workouts for the week, add intensity level and time into the equation.
Greg Decent writes a weekly running column for the Vail Daily.
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