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Running As An Optimization Problem

Posted Nov 13 2012 10:03pm

Over the summer, I experimented with walk breaks to keep the heart rate low while running.  The problem was, my periods of running never got beyond a minute or two at the low heart rate.

I think the issue with that type of training is that you never force the body to adapt.  It’s only when you run continuously for a while that the you really have an incentive to lower the heart rate.

If humans evolved as endurance running then the primary objective of a run is to endure.  The problem then becomes “how do I keep running”, rather than “how do I run faster”.  It is an optimization problem where the goal is to keep running and things like keeping the heart rate low are a means to that end.

Now I run continuously in training, but I make it a “game” and try to do things that lower the heart rate while running.  For example, I might relax the shoulders, shorten the stride, etc.

I believe John Douillard wrote about similar things when he set up the goal of training sessions as who could run the fastest but also at the lowest heart rate.

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