Yep, thats right. Go slow and avoid injury. Go slow and burn fat. Go slow and recover. Go slow and avoid burn out. Go slow to go fast.
This concept of going slow seemed so foreign to me at first but it has been one of the main differences and revelations of my own training and that of my runners. I now know that ‘easy’ means swimming, biking and running at an easy pace or intensity, not moderate (which is where we spent most of our time) and certainly not hard. Even better, I can see some of my runners learning to recognise when they have pushed too hard and developing a confidence to back off when needed.
For me, this approach meant that my ego initially took a bit of a beating, with me not racing where I could have placed, getting passed by commuter cyclists and going in the slow lane at the pool. However, this approach comes with a recognition that we are actually playing a longer term, patient game here and we need to prioritise injury prevention and training consistency in order to be successful.
I am writing this after listening to a podcast as part of the Triathlon World Summit, which emphasised the importance of going slow and base training at a lower intensity. The argument from Dr Phil Maffetone was that lower intensity training changes the structures of the body over a long period of time in such a way that endurance athletes will see increased efficiency, lower injury rates, higher fat burning efficiency and ultimately better results.
Athletes and runners in particular, can be an impatient bunch, so the main challenges of the approach are a lack of patience and the risk of a bruised ego. This also means that the approach might not be for everyone. However, the number of endurance athletes I have listened to who have achieved personal best results with this methodology is growing by the week. It has definitely taught me valuable lessons, and given me a new degree of calm, trust, patience and confidence in my training, that I have never experienced before.
Easy 35 mins run tomorrow morning…..
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