What I Learned About Running on the Runner’s Reset

“You can’t outrun a bad diet.” I know you’ve heard that phrase. When I began the 21-day Runner’s Reset, hosted by Laura, she talked about the program being about 70% nutrition, 30% running and working out. It was designed that way so we could tackle our eating habits, work on instilling some positive nutritional changes to our lifestyle and see how that impacted our running.

But the time spent on the running and working out was not simply a suggestion to go run, or do strength training today. The workouts were specific and surprising

What I Learned About Running on the Runner's Reset: I tried some surprising training methods, which seemed counterintuitive, but are well-researched for long-distance running. Find out my experience with incorporating running and strength training into a nutrition plan during the 21-day reset for runners.

(We also did strength training workouts, but since those are already something I incorporate regularly and perform in a functional, sports-specific way, I was focused more on learning from the running techniques Laura offered.)

First up, Laura had us try out the Maffetone method running, which is basically incorporating very low heart rate runs while training. I remember years ago marking an article on Maffetone in a copy of Running Times, thinking I should try it because it was a fascinating concept. (Here’s an explanation of what the Maffetone method is). Of course I was curious to try it. And what did I learn?

It is so bloody hard to run slow.

Upside? You get to enjoy beautiful views and every moment of your surroundings, with absolutely no physical depletion. It’s like getting a runner’s high without the effort level.

What I Learned About Running on the Runner's Reset: I tried some surprising training methods, which seemed counterintuitive, but are well-researched for long-distance running. Find out my experience with incorporating running and strength training into a nutrition plan during the 21-day reset for runners.

Take your ‘easy’ pace. Now add a couple of minutes to it. That’s what I mean when I say slow.  The idea is to keep your heart rate in the aerobic, fat-burning state and get your body used to running while it’s utilizing fat stores rather than relying on the easy fix of glycogen. Now, I have consistently told weight loss clients to do HIIT training during cardio, lift heavy, do circuit training and keep the heart rate elevated in order to get the most caloric expenditure from their workout. But this method of training isn’t about using fat stores for weight loss, it’s about training your body to use the stores effectively. The idea is, if you get to the point in an endurance event when you’re glycogen depleted (aka hitting the wall, or bonking), your body will know what to do.

It’s a tough one to swallow. When I was training to take a BIG chunk of time off my half marathon PR two years ago, I ran my long runs faster than I had in the past, with some marathon pace and half marathon pace miles sprinkled in. I did have easy runs as well (and to be fair, my coach would often tell me I ran them a little too fast), but I kind of lived by this credo:

What I Learned About Running on the Runner's Reset: I tried some surprising training methods, which seemed counterintuitive, but are well-researched for long-distance running. Find out my experience with incorporating running and strength training into a nutrition plan during the 21-day reset for runners.

But is that true? It kind of makes sense from a sport specific philosophy of training, but it’s more of a made-you-think sound bite than realistic training advice.

If you remember me mentioning it, the nutrition component of the reset made me re-evaluate my habit of grazing on healthy food (you can read all about my nutrition lessons from the reset here), instead consciously giving myself longer periods of time without food so my body could have a chance to use stored energy for fuel. This method of low heart rate training, as well as fasted runs (running on an empty stomach) which we also tried, is designed to do the same thing with energy expenditure.

What I Learned About Running on the Runner's Reset: I tried some surprising training methods, which seemed counterintuitive, but are well-researched for long-distance running. Find out my experience with incorporating running and strength training into a nutrition plan during the 21-day reset for runners.

Honestly, I felt uncomfortable with the running workouts. I am used to a very regimented training plan and that was not what this was. Laura’s method of coaching is intuitive and holistic, about listening to your body and its limits while pushing yourself hard to get results when you need it. But you know what? Uncomfortable is good for you. I was out of my comfort zone running super slow on purpose. I was out of my comfort zone running without even a snack beforehand (and turns out fasted runs are no big deal – I felt the same energy as ever, although I did eat breakfast in approximately 7.6 seconds when I got home!). And I was out of my comfort zone trying a hill repeat HIIT workout after a couple of days of very slow, easy running. I thought I’d crash and burn, but I felt strong. I attacked those hills.

Uncomfortable means change. Uncomfortable means results.

The Runner’s Reset definitely gave me a lot to think about. With my marathon training just beginning, I’m planning on incorporating some of the workouts and methods Laura had us try into my program.

How much slower is your easy run pace than a regular, moderate run for you?

Do you think running slow only makes you a slower runner?

What workout have you done that made you feel uncomfortable, or out of your element?

Comments

  1. Really really interesting. I adore Laura and my sister is a runner. I kept trying to get her to try the reset. I’m sending her your post 🙂
    Carla recently posted…I’ve stopped shaving and you should too.My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Oh yay!! Yes, Laura is great! I learned so much from her. I hope your sister tries one of Laura’s reset sessions, I think she’ll get a lot out of it!

  2. Running slow for me would be around 10:30/mile I guess. I ‘ve been doing a steady 9:05/mile for my last two long runs and feels good and I think I could go a little faster. The only time I run slow (i mean like really slow) is during a RI in my track workouts (have i mentioned how I really dont like them 🙁 … ).
    As for slow runners, no i dont believe that. Each and every one of us is a work in progress – our own progress and effort. For me the moment you get out the door and take the first step (which is the hardest part) you are a runner no matter if you go slow or fast I ‘ d give every one the same respect and supporting smile in an “encounter” during a run 🙂
    I have been out of my confort zone lately by trying to do yoga sessions in the morning. It does feel good but i am so stiff and trying not to fall on my face is quite the task…
    ellen recently posted…Being Greek…My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I am so more than happy to go as slow as humanly possible between speed repeats!! Ha ha. If I could just stand still and gasp that would work for me, but I force myself to shuffle. I have a love/hate relationship with speedwork – I find it hard and scary but as soon as it’s over I feel like superwoman.

  3. It took me a long time to start incorporating these concepts- harder hard days and easier easy days, but it really does make a difference! I’m glad you were brave enough to give it a go. 🙂 and I’m excited for you with your marathon training cycle!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Runner’s Reset Results + a New Nutrition/Running ComboMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I’m definitely going to use it for my recovery/easy run days during training! I learned so much from this reset, Laura, thank you so much!

  4. If I went any slower, I would be walking. lol! I am so slow that I run @ a tortoise’s pace. Let me get faster & then, train to run slow once in a while. Haha!

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I don’t think I was far off from walking!! It’s actually perfect for a recovery run.

      • Your walk is probably my run. My coach had to walk last Tuesday due to IT band issues and she walked faster than I ran. Boo! This 🐢🐢🐢 keeps on trekking. I joined a new running club & the coach told me that he wanted me to run up to 9 miles. I gave him a funny look & thought, “Baby steps, baby steps…” I want to do a 1/2 marathon one day. We’ll see. Lol!

        • Carly Pizzani says:

          Baby steps will get you far! And as long as you’re enjoying it, right? 🙂

          • Thanks for the encouragement. It’s weird b/c sometimes, I like it & other days, not so much. They say that you won’t stay with something if you don’t love it. Well, it’s been more than 2 years since I picked up running again & so far, I am sticking with it. Hey, I gotta work up to do a 10k & then, a half marathon. Then, I can talk about whether I will continue with this sport or not. At this rate, it may take another 5-10 years to reach my goal. Lol! This 🐢🐢🐢 keeps on trekking. I have to say, though: I love the running community so that may be why I have not given up, either. They’re very encouraging and I love that – even if I am the slowest kid (haha) on the block.

  5. I haven’t been running for long, but had heard something about the reset. I think it is something that I also want to try out. Thanks a lot for the share.

    Cindy

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I got a lot out of it, Cindy and I think it’s really reasonably priced for the information and value!

  6. I have been running for almost 1.5 yrs now and have lost 60 pounds… Woot!! I did my first 1/2 and full marathon and also do lots of 5and 10k races ….. My race pace is usually 8:15-8:30 per mile… Not super fast, but it seems like I have trouble slowing it down during my normal running days.. Does that mean I am just pushing it to hard? Or should I still slow down to a 9 or 10 min mile pace? I love running, but it seems like i have gotten stressed out lately about it and lost the “joy”… I want that back.

    • Congrats, Jeanette! That is so amazing! When I was first running, my pace for nearly every regular run was the same and about 15 – 20 seconds faster than my race time. It wasn’t until I started training differently that I took big chunks of time off my PRs in every difference. My recovery runs definitely slowed down a LOT and I focused on upping my speed when I was doing speed workouts. I’d suggest doing exactly what I did – Just go out somewhere pretty that you love to run and either forget your watch, or set it so you can only see elapsed time. Forget your pace and just enjoy your surroundings. It seems so counterintutitive, but running slowly when you’re doing a recovery run can actually make a big difference in your speed when you’re trying to push yourself.

  7. I like your statement that “uncomfortable means results.” I feel like slowing down anything you’re comfortable doing quickly is uncomfortable. We’re so used to getting things done and moving onto the next thing, but that’s not necessarily the best thing to do for our bodies. Dropping the pace of your exercise, whether it’s running or weight lifting, can help you focus on form and really feel every movement you make. Thanks for the article.

Trackbacks

  1. Link Love says:

    […] out this great post on doing a Runner’s Reset and why you might need […]

  2. […] (which I learned about on Laura’s Runner’s Reset – you can read more about that here) and the other was 6 miles on muddy trails, which was such a fabulous run. I felt amazing […]