Updated: Mar 15, 2021
Effort as a Feedback System
It's fun to train at fast paces or for long distances. Another great way to train is based on effort. What I mean by this is making sure that you’re running at the same effort level for the duration of the run.
This isn’t easy to track because there isn’t a simple way to monitor your effort level. They’re starting to develop run tech like power meters to track this, but an easier and more accurate way to assess your effort level is by listening to your breathing.
Effort to Modify Your Run
I talked about the different types of breathing in the last post and how your breath is a great way to understand where your body is at today. You may not realize it, but you already use your breath to modify your exercise.
Imagine you’re running up a flight of stairs. The faster you go or the more weight you’re carrying the harder you are going to breathe. If speed is your target, it's ok to go harder for a short period of time and exhaust yourself. However, if you know that you have 6 more stories to climb, you’ll instinctively slow down. You moderate your pace till your breath is at a sustainable rate for the remainder of exercise. Or at least we try to, this is a skill and the more you exercise the better you’ll be at moderating effort for the rest of your exercise.
For sprinting, you may hit the same level of panting you would in climbing stairs. But for most of us who are jogging for longer than 60 seconds, you have to develop the skill of correlating your breath to your effort level.
This comes back to the three basic skills I talked about in the first blog in this series: Listening to your body, Understanding the message and then Adjusting. For effort, you listen to your breathing, understand the effort level that you’re exerting and then adjust by slowing down or speeding up to match your intention.
Other Impacts on Your Effort Level