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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pacing (Heart Rate Zones)

Since I can't do too much when it comes to physically training my body to be able to run the 12 hour race, I did a lot of studying.  Our heart rate can be divided up into zones.  Our maximum heart rate (MHR) is 220 minus your age.  Once you figure out you MHR, you can divide it up into different zones. Our resting heart rate (RHR) is your pulse when you are resting. The simple formula that I use is ((MHR-RHR)*%)+RHR.  60%-70% is the Efficiency Zone, 70%-80% is the Aerobic Zone, 80%-90% is the Anaerobic Zone, and 90%-100% is your Red Line Zone, where you run your heart out.  Looking at it, it's obvious that the higher the heart rate, the more calories you ought to be burning while running.  If you do a very fast pace, you can only hold out for a short period of time.  If you run at an efficient rate, you can last a long time.  In the 12 hour race, most of it will come from the Efficiency and Aerobic Zone.

Now the cool thing about this whole ordeal is how everything works.  When you're at home doing a lot of work, you're overwhelmed because of the amount you have to do.  You put so much effort into it, and you can only make a small difference.  If you go and do your work bit by bit, you can get a lot more done.  The same goes for running... but there's more of a scientific matter in this.  When you are running in the Efficiency Zone, you're burning more fat calories than carbohydrates.  However, when you are running in the Aerobic Zone, you're body is burning the same amount of fat and carbohydrate calories.  I've researched different sources online that seems to agree that for extreme distances, you need to make sure you train yourself so that your efficiency zone is high.  If I was to run too fast, I would need to intake enough calories to support myself because my body can only conserve a certain amount of calories (1200 to 1500 kcal) and for a 12 hour run, it could possibly use up 12000 kcal.  I need to be at a state where I would be able to run efficiently and for a long time.

I spent hours figuring out how exactly I would do this.  It's important to me that I would be able to balance my calorie intake and usage so that I would be able to maximize my distance in that 12 hours.  If I am able to run in the efficiency zone, I would only need 25 kcal every thirty minutes in order to finish the race with barely enough energy.  As a pound of fat can have about 3500 kcal, and since my body carries more than just a pound of fat, it's obvious that I would have more than enough energy from fat.  However, since my carbohydrate storage supply is limited, I need to be able to replenish that enough so that my body can last the whole race.  I can't just up and run a 12 hour race... it's important that I know what I'm getting myself into, and know what I need to do in order to not just survive, but do well.

Whenever you have a goal, you need to know what you have to do in order to achieve it... but at the same time, you need to know what you're capable of doing.  Pacing is important because it allows you to perform at your best.  It gives you the pace your body can handle, and at the same time, it allows you to recover during the time you need to.  If we could go all out 100% of the time, we wouldn't be humans, but robots.  We aren't capable of going 100% forever.  We need to pace ourselves to be able to finish at 100%.  My race is divided into 5k loops.  It's important that I use that to pace myself.  Although I would like to run til my legs fall off... if I want to do my best, I need to be able to run at a pace where I don't need too much calories from outside sources and instead, run at an efficient pace.

Whether it be running or life... pacing is important.

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