My friend Sally Edwards makes an excellent point here that applies equally to any endurance athlete and affirms our discussion from Podcast 368 – Does Intensity Trump Duration?.
It turns out that very fast runs are good for you—and that moderately fast runs (those just above threshold, in the Black Hole) are not. That’s because Black Hole runs are too slow to cause enough stress to make your body want to strengthen itself, and too fast to allow you to go long enough to improve your endurance. Studies of top runners find that they (by design or not) minimize their time in the Black Hole.
How fast is the Black Hole? In terms of pace, heart rate, and the Heart Zones chart, the Black Hole is actually a very narrow band. It starts at threshold, right as you enter Zone 5, and goes about 5 percent higher. So, if your threshold heart rate is 150 bpm, your Black Hole would extend from 150 to 157 bpm. That means if you really want to improve, your fast runs should roughly start at a second threshold: 158 bpm.
**This post is one of several in an excerpt series from the book, Be a Better Runner by Sally Edwards & Carl Foster**
But don't discount fun exercise = running/cycling that you enjoy just for how it makes you feel. Many people have no interest in structured “training”, they exercise because they find it fun.
Why There’s No Such Thing as Junk Miles
Whether you’re in training or not, every ride has a purpose—and just about every one is legit
Fun, however, is a legitimate purpose. Stress relief is a legitimate purpose. The fact that you can finally ride outside after being trapped inside by a wall of snow and ice for six weeks, structure be damned, is a legitimate purpose. The only non-legitimate purpose I can think of is if you’re out there joylessly slogging through some self imposed workout because you feel like you need more miles when those miles are not a) making you happy b) making you faster or c) building your reserves, but rather a) making you miserable, b) making you slower and c) breaking you down.
As an A type male, it was difficult to understand the whole “fun exercise” concept. What's the point of taking this class, if you're going to talk through it?
Once I understood that for some folks, Keeping It Fun is the objective, it became a lot easier to accept the appeal of SoulCycle type classes… and their wild success 🙂
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.
Latest posts by John (see all)
- New TRIO™ and TRIO QR™ Pedals from Spinning® Quick Review - August 25, 2019
- Doing the Spotify Shuffle – but only when you want it - August 25, 2019
- Spotify Issues? - August 24, 2019