The Truth About My Cardio

This year I found myself getting injured way more often than usual. In the Fall, I got a calf injury that put my running on pause for 2 months. Then I got another leg injury in January. And 3 weeks ago, I got a minor calf strain playing volleyball.

I recently watched a Nick Bare Youtube video where he shared that he had gotten injured. He attributed at least part of that to running too hard too often and mentioned shifting to adopt The Maffetone Method.

I recently started reading The Maffetone Method and I bought a heart rate chest strap to measure my heart rate while I’m running.

I always thought my cardio was pretty strong. I am used to running a ~8km hilly route most days of the week at a comfortable pace. I’ve done half-marathon races. A couple summers ago, I was doing the Grouse Grind multiple times a day.

Learning about heart rate zone training from Nick Bare, The Maffetone Method, and my heart rate strap really opened my eyes.

Whereas The Maffetone Method suggests doing a majority of your cardio/aerobic traing in heart rate zone 2, I found out my daily runs were actually in an anaerobic zone 3 and zone 4. No wonder I was getting injured so often.

Because most of my training had been anaerobic, I learned that my cardio has broken down significantly.

Right now, running uphill while staying in zone 2 requires me to jog slower than I walk. (I can’t simply walk because that drops me into zone 1 instead of zone 2.) This is painful (not physically) for me because I’m used to going at a much faster pace which I thought was comfortable. Unfortunately, I live on a mountain, so almost every running route option I have is hilly. It also makes maintaining zone 2 difficult as I have to alternate between walking and painfully slow jogging for the uphill portions of the route.

Yesterday, I decided to try using a treadmill to more easily maintain zone 2. It was much easier to maintain zone 2 on the treadmill. But whereas I used to do my cardio at 7.5 km/hr (also, 4.5 km/hr for walking, 6 km/hr for recovery, 12 km/hr for HIIT), maintaining zone 2 this morning required me to jog at 4.5 km/hr.

Sigh.

Anywho, it looks like I found something to work on. I’m glad I learned about heart rate zone training and that the heart rate monitor revealed the truth to me. Hopefully once I get my cardio back (or for the first time, maybe?) I’ll be able to stay active without getting injured so often.

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