Day #19: Slow Down to Speed Up

endurance training and racing

I have been researching the current running podcasts in the last few weeks – in light of the launch of my own new podcast “A Runner’s Podcast.” The most informative and scientific podcast show I have come across to date was the January 23rd episode of TrailRunner Nation. Dr. Phil Maffetone – author of “The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing” – was featured and gave great insights into many areas of distance running including diet, shoes, weight training and – most interesting of all to me – the great effectiveness of running in your target heart rate zone.

Dr. Phil – no, not that one! – argues scientifically that we runners need to seriously slow down our training pace in order to most effectively train our aerobic systems to go faster. He cites the example of his renowned endurance athlete Marc Allen (6-time Ironman Hawaii champion) who came to Dr. Phil with roughly a 8 minute training threshold at his target heart rate and who – by adhering the principle of slowing down in his aerobic training – dropped his speed to 5:10 mile pace with the same heart rate. In other words, running slow to acclimate the heart to the stress will enable you to make speed gains much more effectively than doing a bunch of intervals – and what really amounts to anaerobic efforts. If you want to find out more about your target heart rate and about Dr. Phil Maffetone’s training princilples head over to his webpage detailing his “180 Formula.”

In addition to this transformative information, the doctor delves into our choices of running shoes – what he really thinks of sugar and carbohydrates — and lots more. I encourage you to head over to to listen to the entire interview. And who knows, maybe one day soon, Dr. Phil will visit us here at to size up our philosophy.

Get out there — and SLOW DOWN!

~Coach Reed