At the end of the Thanksgiving Day 5K in Lawrence, KS this year, my wife and her good friend crossed the finish line and her friend had a revelation. It was as if a deep secret had been revealed. By slowing down and letting go of any inclination that you have to go fast, she was able to enjoy running a 5K with a desire to do the next one.
As I talked to a jiu-jitsu teammate about my running, he admitted he didn’t like running because it was so exhausting. I told him that he just needs to slow down, and he could run so much more. To my surprise, this mentality is not easy for him and for a lot of competitive people.
There are a few points that may help you check your ego and slow down.
In Mark Sisson’s book, Primal Endurance, he describes the science and the huge benefits of heart rate training. He will help squash the myth that you have to push yourself to an anaerobic level on every workout to make gains. Indeed, by pushing yourself that hard all the time, you can do some long term damage to your body. By forcing yourself to slow down and maintain an aerobic heart rate you reap the benefits of
- Burning a higher percentage of fat calories
- Having increased energy levels following the workout rather than deep fatigue
- A desire to workout more since it is no longer a strain to do so
- An ability to have longer workouts
- Getting faster (Yes! By slowing down, you can actually get faster!)
Of course, this doesn’t mean all the time. You definitely want to let your inner beast loose and get those anaerobic workouts in. The idea you should takeaway is that less of this type of training and more aerobic workouts will lead to better results.
Bring out your inner stoic. Stop being judgmental of yourself for not going as fast or as hard as you can go each time. Understand that 1) It doesn’t matter, and 2) It is better for you to go at an aerobic pace most the time anyway. Finally, practice checking your ego at the door.
Now get out there and slow down!