When you run your body will clear out the accumulated lactic acid with the fresh oxygen that you are breathing in. When you run at an easy pace – that is a pace where you can have a total and full conversation you may not even notice or hear your breathing, it is probably 3 breaths in and 3 breaths out or inhaling to the count of 3, exhaling to the count of 3. Once you go a little faster, at some point you will hear the rhythm of your breathing change to 2/2 or 1/2. This is your threshold pace. It is the point that your body can just manage to clear the lactic acid and replace with oxygen. We call this aerobic running (with oxygen).
If you speed up farther then your breathing will change again. At this point it is very noticeable. It will be 1 in, 1 out- like a heavy breather! This is will be your 5 k pace. You will not be able to keep this pace up much past 5k. We are running both aerobically and anaerobically.
When we train we look to run ‘easy’ to develop strength in our ligaments and tendons, develop our endurance and stamina. On this run you should be aware to keep the pace slow and the breathing easy.
Often we run neither too slow nor too hard and reside somewhere in the middle which doesn’t develop us effectively. Make your hard runs hard and easy runs easy. It is good to remember that we adapt and get stronger when we rest and recover, so we stress the body in training and then recover to let it adapt.
Within our training we want to include our ‘threshold’ runs and a regular (although not too often) 5k race. Remember as always; do not do too much, too soon. Staying uninjured is key!! Start your threshold journey by adding in Fartlek into your runs ( you will have done this with your leaders on the runs ) then slowly increase the seconds into minutes into a threshold run of 20 minutes, don’t forget to do 1-2 miles warm up and cool down. In our session, we had quite a large group and I wanted everyone to ‘feel ‘ the difference of their own individual pace. We started off at the slowest easy pace and ran laps, at each lap we increased speed so that for each lap we ran we were running at one person’s easy pace, another’s threshold and yet another’s 5k pace. It was a good way to run in a group, encouraging each other but also have an individual benefit for everyone. Try and listen to your breathing when you are running and decide what the purpose of that run is. Better still get a training plan and keep a diary. It will help you realise how much you have progressed.