“If it doesn’t suck, don’t do it.” – Coach A

Out on my run this morning, I ran a one-mile effort as hard as I could. I was absolutely stoked, posting my fastest all-out mile this year, nearly 10-seconds faster than my previous best. That, despite the extra few pounds I’m carrying because of too many holiday cookies and movie popcorn! 🙂 #truth

If you’re thinking it was the typically cool weather that is normal at this time of year here that helps, I’d have to disagree. When I walked out the door, it was 74 degrees with a 74-degree dew point. Not “hot,” but definitely not 50 degrees either.

But hey, the point of this email isn’t to tell you about my training or the weather. Although there is an important reason why I mentioned this. Keep reading.

Aging athletes hate THIS more than anything else

There are SO many things aging runners hate. Or shall I say, dislike. (That’s a more PC word, right?)

You know what I mean. There’s just stuff that we are less inclined to do as we get older. It’s human nature. Some examples? How many of you are routinely jumping, sprinting, bounding, or including regular changes in speed and variation in training? There are just some of the things that come so naturally to us when we’re young but avoid like the plague as we get older.

But…there’s one thing that we hate more than all of these…. and it might be the best anti-aging thing you can possibly do. Of course, it hurts more than any other. What is it?

Acidosis.

Sure, the most diligent among us will sometimes sprint (or run very fast for short distances). And we strength train, we do yoga, we run longer and we certainly run longer, slower. That’s a really popular thing to do as we get older.

Most of these are well-intentioned ways to keep moving and feeling good and performing well. But none of them – NONE OF THEM – are as hard or as uncomfortable as metabolic acidosis. Or I’d argue, as beneficial.

If you’re wondering just what metabolic acidosis is and are interested in learning why lactic acid is your friend, you can learn more by reading this American Journal of Physiology article titled The Biochemistry of Exercise-Induced Metabolic Acidosis. I’d highly recommend it.

Embrace the suck

Running as hard as you can for 1-mile (or about 10 minutes) brings you up close with “your friend,” acidosis. (It also does a lot of other great things for your fitness as I mentioned in my email back

on October 25th on the “MCT1 Blaster.” Did you get that email? If not, hit reply and I’ll send a link to it.) So, why am I referring to acidosis as “your friend?” If you want to stay and feel younger and get maximum bang-for-your-buck from training, there’s nothing you could do that would be as valuable as this.

Now you know why I told you about my run this morning

Two more tidbits:

  • You don’t induce metabolic acidosis effectively or efficiently by doing shorter intervals on the track. Or sprinting for 15 or 20 seconds (that’s too short, no matter how fast you’re running). Or running hard for 20 or 30 minutes or longer (those are just too long to get the intensity of a shorter effort).
  • Training methods such as heart-rate based “MAF” training, which sets a limit on intensity and asks you to go slower in order to get faster, are popular in some endurance circles. This is like death for the aging athlete.

The truth is, we HAVE TO WORK HARD to retain the skills and abilities that don’t come easiest for us – and FIGHT the natural tendency to go slower and longer as we get older.

1 mile all-out. (It has to be all-out!). Make this your goal for 2020. If you do, I guarantee everything else you do as an athlete and human being will feel easier.

And better.