Slow Down to Get Faster & Burn Fat

Slow Down to Get Faster & Burn Fat

So many athletes spend way too much time going fast and hard. Many coaches call this the “Black Hole” of training. Just google it and read the many articles describing the moderately hard effort that makes you feel like you did something but keeps you stuck in the middle.

Training hard and fast has its place, but if you don’t have any fitness at all you will likely get injured and if you have some fitness and always train fast and hard, you are likely training in this so called black hole of fitness.

Yes, you can get a certain amount of fitness here at 75-85% effort, on the journey to get in shape and I do recommend a training blocks here.

But you actually will be able to get faster and have higher performance potential if you train the two ends of the training spectrum: very slow, aerobic and very short and fast.

Today’s Ill be talking about what the long and slow benefits are, because you really can’t do the short and very fast training without a good base of long and slow.

What this looks like in terms of training is keeping your heart rate, power and effort level low for a minimum of 1 swim, 1 bike and 1 run session each week.

If you are just getting into shape, all your training should be here for about 4-8 weeks. At this low intensity you can really work on form and skills to become better swimmers, better bikers and better runners which is a win win.

Low heart rate does not have to mean boring.

How low is low? You can perform a Metabolic Efficiency Test with my colleague Connie Sol to find out your Aerobic Threshold. Or, you can take 180 – your age to calculate your Aerobic Threshold heart rate. (180 – 50 = 130, so aim to keep heart rate average around 130 for your long slow swims, bikes and runs). When you know what heart rate you switch over from burning fat to carbohydrate you want to aim to train in in this range for your low heart rate training.

As humans, we are always burning a ratio of carbohydrate, fat and protein. At rest ,you burn a higher percentage of fat. At very high intensities you switch to a higher percentage of carbs. 

An added benefit of the slow aerobic training is you stay burning fat for longer periods of time and eventually at higher intensities. There is a nutritional component to this as well. But that will have to be for another blog.

Why would we want to do that as endurance athletes?
1 gram of fat gives you 9 calories of energy and 1 gram of carbohydrate gives your 4 calories.

If you can train your body to burn fat for longer and eventually higher intensities it’s a great thing. You get leaner, you need less fuel to train and race, so there is less chance of gastric distress by eating all those gels.

Every person has between 40,000 to 80,000 calories of fat stored in the body and at maximum we have about 2000- 2500 calories of carbohydrates stored in the body. So as a fuel source we want to teach our bodies to become more efficient at burning fat. However, most people eat so much carbohydrate, that is the fuel source your body chooses first.
So especially as endurance athletes being able to tap into fat for training and racing is only a good thing.

Happy Slow Training!

Special Announcements:
1. Join us for the Swim Essentials Series, a three-part, nine hour series of focused swim techniques that will have you gliding through the water. Registration and details here.

2. The Bahamas Triathlon Retreat, a 5 day/6 night event of cruise, training and hotel stay that culminates with a picturesque triathlon in Freeport, Lucaya. Get all the details here!


Wishing you well,
Coach Erinne Guthrie

If you are interested in learning more about Full Circle Coaching, call us at 786-586-6057 today or click this link to schedule a complimentary triathlon strategy call:

Erinne Guthrie is a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach since 1999 and Chief Motivating Officer at Full Circle Coaching, LLC since 2010. She has been training, racing and coaching triathletes since 1997.  She is also a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3, USMS Master’s Swim Coach, Motivational Speaker, Metabolic Efficiency Specialist, Mom and much much more.

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