Runners’ Zone || What’s your Zone?

Let me guess, when you are going for your run. you think of the distance, how far you want to go. Then next you think of the time, is it not? Hey come on, it’s what most runners’ will think about. But what about intensity? 

Welcome to the advanced endurance coaching blog. What do we do here? Come on, if you are a first time reader. You might first want to listen to a few of the previous shows, because it takes a while to grow on you lol and you, the regular readers: thank you, for your support. readersers in no, not 30 nope nor 35 40 countries. Whow, really thanks for your support. Honestly how does this internet thing work ?

Is it the fact that there are no ads? No “a quick note from my sponsors?” maybe because there’s no swearing and useless rambling? 

You know, on a longer run, I might enjoy reading a blog. But so much out there is just not not interesting. A lot of it is about me me me. Or lining up to some or other comparison which leads a lot of runners to suffer from the comparison trap. Yu should check out the blog blog 15 run your way to contentment I did a whole show on that comparison trap, how it will suck the living daylight out of you.

Hey, so that’s why if you want high quality advice, and get some inspiration to ensure you stay on track. .. That’s what it is all about staying on track, isn’t it? 

That is a different summary for perseverance.  

Here at the advanced endurance blog, it is about that most important part of your whole being as a runner. That most important muscle, that most priced tool you have 

Your brain. 

New readers do stay tuned, even if you are disappointed that I didn’t mention a new pair of runner’s socks, runners shoes, or runners gel. Wouldn’t it be great if those things really made you faster? 

What makes you faster? Other than obviously training according to a plan, adhering to it with diligence? How about training your brain you should visit our site the only training guide that is made by runners’ for runners’ as it says in the   better stronger smarter 

BUT Nor the show nor the course for that matter will lead you to become a master runner if you haven’t been running and training, improving and competing the past few years, reading to the show won’t make any difference. Nothing.

Well JUST reading won’t make a difference anyway, you need to use what you learn, apply it. And if you haven’t invested a lot in the last few years, how do you expect to suddenly do a sub 50 10K (if up to now you never ran faster than say 70 minutes) Where is that improvement supposed to come from? Why do I get such emails?

What’s up I thought this was supposed to be motivational? LOL, hey if you want to waste your time, and money, you need to go somewhere else. Somewhere they promise you that all you need to do is dream and visualize it. 

Hey, of course visualization is an important technique, in a certain given context. Yes at hypno run we use it too but part of a training module.  But as a standalone, fueling hopes and dreams that cannot come true because you have beensay. lazy for too long, or you have been a “full of excuses runner” for too long.

Sometimes it is what it is. The best time to start improving was yesterday. That best ever 5K that was last year That sub 3:00 hour marathon, too many missed training cycles. Too many missed strength training workouts. It is not going to happen.

If that is you, your current situation. Here are some steps forward. 

First things first, face it. Accept your share of the blame. Don’t dwell on it, don’t write a book or blog about it, enough sad news out there . Start again, set a new goal. One that will be achievable with the time and resources you have available. If you know running is only possible 3 times a week. I mean like, you don’t need to check your calendar. You know right now, that YES three times a week is doable. And that is your starting point. 

Once this becomes your foundation, or base is established you are going to look at how to use that time as efficiently and effectively as possible. You are going to make sure that each training session is exactly that.

A training session. Not just “I went running, yeah”. Nope, 3 times per week you will really excel during that allocated time.

Oh no, he is going to suggest training sessions on the track.  

No, I did a blog about making the track your friend some time ago. Well, yes hang on I will recommend that you go the track but no serious back to the topic there are so many different variations. I remember doing my coaching certificate, and I really set out to really dive into the depths of the various types of training one of my favorites was or still is Matt Fritzgeralds book 20/80, He really describes it . well.

But let me just give some contexts here Aim to do at least 80 per cent of all running at an easy or aerobic (conversational) pace and no more than 20 per cent at a moderate-to-high intensity. Taking this approach, you’ll likely feel better and stronger going into your high-intensity sessions and can also increase your mileage safely and effectively as well.

we always talk about 5 major points doesn’t matter what training book you look at  

Where did I excel during your training? So how do you do that? How do you ensure that looking back at the end of the week, your training times don’t just show 3 long slow runs. Or even worse, only 2 runs and the times are even worse than slow. No I am not saying you need to run fast every time, this is for those runners that when asked how do you train, just answer I just run as I feel like it. Ok,that is the part where you will end up regretting  or you will look back in frustration one day, unsatisfied with your run time, for a certain race, and not understanding why or how this could have happened. 

How do you ensure that after one month of training you actually have a sense that yes my legs feel stronger, I feel more powerful. 

Pace – if you race on the clock why not train on the clock.. I copied that from somewhere, and liked it. 

Heart rate – that is to ensure you don’t go over the top to ensure you at least know what a zone 1 and zone 2 heart rate feels like. It is just an indicator of how your body is performing,

Power.. There are some nice new toys clip them onto your running shoes as I said, a toy.

RPE – Rate of perceived effort. This is basically how hard you are running. 

Lactate threshold readers this is a once in 4 year test I like to do, Matt Fritzgerald, uses this approach for testing  exercise intensity at which lactate, an intermediate product of glucose metabolism, begins to accumulate in the blood. In practical terms, it’s the highest exercise intensity that can be sustained for up to 60 minutes. 

Then there is the The Talk Test

A popular way to determine if you are running at the proper PE level is to perform some type of talk test. Koop provides a talking scale you can use with his PE levels. Here’s the scale:

4 to 5: You can tell a story.

5 to 6: You can have a comfortable conversation.

7: You can speak 2 to 3 sentences.

8 to 9: You can speak a 5 to 7-word sentence.

10: You can speak a single, monosyllabic word.

The Borg Scale

Most PE guides are based on a scale called the Borg Scale, named for the scientist who published this scale in 1982, Gunnar Borg, an exercise scientist. The Borg Scale is a numeric scale that is numbered from 6 to 20, with 6 being the lightest possible exertion — sitting on the couch watching television, to 20 being the heaviest exertion — such as the kick you might push yourself into to finish a race.

Here is a better breakdown of the Borg Scale:

6: No exertion.

7–8: Very, very light exertion.

9–10: Very light exertion.

11–12: Fairly light exertion.

13–14: Somewhat hard exertion.

15–16: Hard exertion.

17–18: Very hard exertion.

19–20: Very, very hard exertion.

You may wonder why Borg chose the numbers 6 through 20 for his scale. As Jason Koop points out in Training Essentials for Ultrarunning, these numbers correspond well to an athlete’s heart rate at that level of exertion. In other words, if you are doing a tempo run and you feel your exertion is about 15 to 16 on the Borg Scale, then your heart rate is going to be somewhere close to 150 to 160 beats per minute (BPM).

Most coaches and trainers find the Borg Scale is a bit unrealistic for most situations outside an exercise laboratory. Instead, they modify the Borg Scale to a 1 to 10 scale.

Tiredness should never just creep up on you. Like in uuups, I am exhausted. Or hey hey hey here I am tired. LoL if this happens it is more likely that you didn’t fuel properly. You don’t need a scale for that. 

Ok, but now to decide which one of all these zones, and exertion levels is the right one tadaaa, here it comes. The right one is the one which you are doing. Clever. Yes, I am serious, a bit of a Debbie downer moment for some of you. I know let me guess you are going to buy those running socks after all lol ok hang on  there is more. I will get there, let me savor the moment of disappointment of my readersers ha!

See you need to master a balancing act. Talk to anyone who really achieved an impressive time on any given distance. I once had a runner in my group who did a 2:25 marathon yikess and those runners will all tell you the same thing: they trained incredibly hard. I mean ass really put in serious effort. 

Of course they also had a plan, and did follow a certain training scheme. But just getting caught up in zones, and moving from one philosophy, or training chart to another. That’s not going to make you a better runner. 

The balancing act is, in putting in the effort and getting intensity. And for those of you that struggle with this, here is what I want you to do. Not maybe, or yes I might give it a try. Nope. Go for the following intensifier, or compact course in getting tension in your running. 

You forget everything that you ever heard of various sets, reps, exertion levels, hard, very hard, etc .You first make sure you have TIME allocated. OK. 

Then , yes sorry, I do suggest a track or a distance you know well where you know the intermediate distances, or have marked your route. Then, you just divide your runs into 4. 

One will be the short intervals. That sounds like fun, isn’t it? Yeah short runs.  sorry to burst your bubble, these are going to be mean and ugly. It is there to build your VO2max. That’s Just three minutes long, at full power. When did you do that ? When was the last time?

Like when you finally decide to clean out that basement. That type of attitude. You planned to do something else this Saturday, but your better half told you it’s now or never, and you are roaring, you’re ready to go!!! That’s what short and intense means. You should feel a different sweat pouring out of your body, and actually feel your lungs burning. Short and sweet.

Then the second group is your tempo runs. Focus on them come on it is only 8 – 20 minutes. Do that x 4 with a 4 minute break in between excellent. Keep that concentration level up. Really stay focused. If you feel your brain is getting tired.. you are doing it right. 

Now here it gets better, because you shouldn’t do this for more than 60 minutes. 

So now you already have a plan for two of those runs. Next one is your steady state run. Here you will remain under your lactate threshold. So it is slower than the tempo runs, and you want to try and do this for a longer period. A tough one, but do it on a flat course where you have your markers and constantly remind yourself of your pace. 

And now if and only IF you have completed the above mentioned three runs, will you do your best to stop me now. Your forever runs. Means basically your long slow runs. 

Now look, I know this is not a full scale training plan. Never said so what it is is an approach to get out of your head and get going. But not just running gets going with quality. By using your time to the maximum. And thereby getting maximum results. Hey you are investing the run time anyway, stop getting distracted by apparel, gear, or plans, or intensity levels. 

Just follow these 4 steps. Each one with focus and determination. The blocks are short, and sweet (except your forever run) so it will ensure your concentration level remains high. You will be fully present and engaged in your current activity. 

Which will in turn do what is easy, once you look back you will see improvement. Why? Because you trained and used your brain to stay focused, and this leads to a higher intensity.

Hey, come on really if this is you I am talking to you, if I am reaching you stop kidding yourself Mr and Mrs I just run to relax life is too short, you have some great races some great trails, some exciting runs ahead of you. 

Don’t run short of your potential.

Yup, clever isn’t it? Make 365 days run, one whole year of running Why who or what would you want to do that? And if your first thought is “I couldn’t do that” then definitely you should get the book. The link to the video you know what.. just go to youtube, enter “heiko stribl” and concentrate or you will get sidetracked and end up somewhere you don’t want to be.

Life is too short for that.  

If you want to learn more brain training related tools especially designed for runners, have a look at, you can go back to your cell phone addiction and scroll scroll scroll ha.. Just kidding. No, not about the part. 

  • Ecclesiastes 2:26

“To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

The Good News: A person that trusts in God and believes in Him will always be in God’s good grace, unlike the person who doesn’t and goes against His teachings.

Making you a better, stronger and smarter runner. 

God bless my name is Heiko, and remember to take it easy.


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