MAHR training. I went on a "trek" yesterday that I wasn't totally sure what it would look like. I told myself I was just going to hike. I told Chris that. I wasn't even sure I'd track it with my GPS/HR watch, or what I would even do -- would I use it as a "Me time," would I meditate, would I contemplate my life and how I felt about things? Truth be told, I was a little put off from the beginning of the day because Chris kept giving me unenthusiastic answers to everything and our time spent together felt a little forced and blah. Thankfully when we each got back from our adventures, our minds had cleared and we were glued at the hip again.
But let's talk about my adventure. I finally left the house with my HR belt on, watch ready, and clothes prepared for a warm day but should a rain cloud move in and no intense exercise, I would be fine in the decreased temperatures stuck on an exposed part of the hills. I didn't decide on my first real day of MAHR training until about two steps into my hike. My mind was all over the place as I "mmhmm"ed Chris telling me 'see you when I see you' as we departed unsure of how long each of us would be out or who would get back first.
The problem with that is, most people don't build up that aerobic state, so we just learn to keep a high heart rate for longer and just eat a lot while running long distances. And that's because the MAHR is about 75% ish of your max -- which sounds pretty high, but us fat behind-evolution human bodies spike our HRs considerably doing any sort of physical activity. So we have to go pretty darn slow to keep it at or below 75% -- not exactly race pace, and therefore, who wants to train that?
Hence, this long, arduous, unfun, stupid training that I have to buck up and just do. It means, maybe no races for a few years (most people take 2ish years to train this way) and therefore no ultra planned as soon as I hoped.
However, it could also mean: less chance for injury (significantly less!), eventually faster running because I'll be training more properly, possibly putting my ego away and therefore leading the way to cure my burnout (can't get frustrated with myself when I'm expected to walk a lot), burning fat means I don't need to eat with long runs which almost eliminates my cramping problems, going slow enough that I have the potential to learn better foot placement mechanics and breathing techniques to also reduce cramping.
So benefits definitely outweigh the cons. But it does differ with everyone. There are complaints from a percentage of people where "this doesn't work." Yet it's hard to say why for them. I can easily see it being due to a lack of dedication. But who knows? Aerobic training sucks because it seems like my pace will never go above 18 min/mile. And what about all the little details that are confusing: how do I really know what my threshold is? How often should I train for maximum benefit and improvement? What about riding my bike to work -- I go HARD and I'm sure my HR is capping above that 75% -- will that fuck up my MAHR training? CAN I race once in a while, pushing my HR max? And when I trail run up mountains, what does that mean? Sometimes even walking throws my HR past the MA limit.
There's a lot of back and forth I've been going through about hoping this is the right thing for me to do, my burnout, what all that means, should I give up, should I just do something new, will I get fat because I don't have a consistent regime, maybe I should full time weightlift instead, if I get a raise this come August (or January?) maybe I can afford to start crossfit in Park Hill. etc etc etc.
While the run felt boring and I felt like a loser, it actually wasn't unenjoyable. I was out in nature doing what I always did running: connecting with myself, with the world, thinking about things I never have time to think about otherwise, dealing with my daily stress, and getting a workout. So maybe I'll stick with it a while. I was even looking forward to the next time, just in my city park. And then maybe by the time we can afford to live in Golden, I'll be ready to speed run mountains again? One can only hope.