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8 Mile Revisited

What is it about 8 Miles?  I hate 8.  I wonder if the 8 mile marker is when normal, sane people usually say, that’s enough running.  The rest of us Forrest Gumps aren’t very smart (but we know what love is). 

My first experience with 8 Miles was bad, so perhaps it’s a mental block.

“The stomach cramping.  The rumblings.  Oh no oh no oh no.  
I walk/stumble the final half mile back around to the bathroom at the park. 
I am cramping and limping. It was all I could do to hold it all in. But I made it…”  

Today, I was scheduled to run 8 miles in low heart-rate Zone 2.

Do you know what low Zone 2 is?  Well, I’ll tell you… it’s a freaking walk.  Like a 120 beats per minute.  Everyone’s different, so to give you a place of reference for this slow Southern gal… when I am running fast (ah-hem, 10 minute mile pace), my heartrate is 165-170. So I was to run about FORTY or FIFTY beats per minute slower. 

Question:  if I already run like a snail?  How slow is “slow”?

Well, this was slow. August last year.  Run and done. Thank goodness Coach M has helped my form.  My form, while still being horrible, holds nothing to this —- which was just plain horrific.

Anyway, I digress.

So this morning….I started off slower than desired with a 4.8 on the treadmill, or a little over a 12:30 pace.  I looked down at Constance, and she said I was beating at 138 beats.  Oh lawd.

Beep beep beep… I slow the treadmill.  4.5 (13:00 minute per mile pace). A few minutes later… my heart rate is at 130. 

Good grief.  Finally, at the record breaking pace of 4.0 (a 15:00 minute mile), my thumper is pounding around 125. I was barely running.  Definitely more like a walk/run.  I felt weird.

As you can imagine… it took me almost an eternity to run 8 miles (a/k/a 2 hours).  I watched an entire boot camp class happen, and two personal training sessions on the gym floor in front of me.

(At least I had good reading waiting for me at home tonight from Amazon. Eat your heart out, Mickey.)

But a few interesting notes about this low Zone training:

  • This is where I started.  When I began to run, Coach M had me do lots of low zone training. And I had to run at a 3.6 or 3.8 on the treadmill to get anywhere near 140 heart-rate.  So that shows me that I have gained a pretty decent amount of cardio base. Yes, much more to go… but still.  I like progress. Progress is good. 
  • If you are just starting out… try the low zone training.  Yes, it’s slow, but you might be surprised at what a relief it is…to give yourself a break, train the HR, and pace. 
  • When I am running in what Coach Monster calls “no man’s land” – the place between endurance training and anaerobic threshold – I don’t feel super strong or in control. Today was a good exercise in patience and form. 
  • Today, I felt good.  Slow, but it felt manageable.  Lately, I’ve been discouraged about my pace… but I realized that if I dial it back a little in training, I’m going to do myself more good.  Good day.
  • Maybe the 8 mile curse is lifting…

Next week, I suppose the run will be 9 or 10 miles.  Then the half-marathon in Savannah.

Then… oh, I can’t think about it.

I haven’t actually run a half-marathon outside of a 70.3 – how weird is that?  So I’m interested to see how it goes.  I’m not as advanced in the training as I’d like to be, but Savannah is one thing:  F-L-A-T.

Happy hump day everyone.  Don’t forget your Tri Kit orders…. we only need 2 more to place the order! Order now, through January 31st!

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  • Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb

    January 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Interesting. Although I've been running since 2007, I want to start using a HRM and try out this type of training. BTW, I'm with you on your normal pace. We may be "slow" per other people, but we're steady. Right?! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    January 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    In 2008, while training for the Disney World Marathon (January 2009), I got plantar fasciitis. Annoyed, I knew it wasn't going to let me finish a marathon if I didn't scale back on the running. So I did. Running the marathon, mile 8 was when my legs thought they should quit. I still managed to finish, but it sure was discouraging to have my legs quit with 18 miles left!!


  • Karen

    January 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    You had your game face on yesterday if you stayed on that tredmill for 2 hours! WOO HOO! I did the HR program Lifetime gave me after they tested my heart rate back in 2009. It really does work. At the end of the program I busted out a 10k PR that I haven't been able to touch since.

  • TX Runner Mom

    January 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I just started HR training. I agree, staying in zone 2 (especially in the bottom part of zone 2) is so freaking hard! Glad I am not the only one who feels like they're walking when doing this!

  • Carolyn

    January 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Just found your blog and I'm so happy to find a fitness nut who is SLOW like me!

    I'm going to start training for my next 1/2 marathon (did the 1st in 2010, then was injured most of last year) and I'm definitely going to try this training. I want to get back to my sub 10min/mi!

  • Donna

    January 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I'm with you completely on Low Zone training. A good pace for me is slower than your snail pace! It seems so counterproductive, but I've improved this year so I'm happy! It does work. 🙂 Looks like a nice course in Savannah… Good luck!


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