How to Train Like an Elite Runner to Get Fast & Improve Your Health (It’s Easier Than You Think)
Jakob Ingebrigtsen is a running beast.
At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he won the gold medal in the 1,500M while setting an Olympic record.
We should learn from Jakob.
Here’s why you should slow down & how the power of Zone 2 training will unleash your health & performance: 🧵👇
Are You Running Too Fast?
Jakob runs 5km in 13 mins.
You, likely, do not.
If he does his easy runs at a 5:10 min/km pace, ~50% of his race pace, should you be doing your runs in the 4–5min/km zone?
Heres how to embrace zone 2 training for your health & performance
#1: What Are Zones?
Z1 = Very Easy, Speak Full Sentences
Z2 = Longer Runs, Still Chitchat a Little
Z3 = Talk is Reduced to Single Words
Z4 = No Talking, Working Under Max
Z5 = Maximum Speed Zone
Z2 = 65–75% Max Heart Rate
Z5 = 90% Max Heart Rate
#2: Why Z2?
On average, people run too fast — thinking “no pain, no gain.”
So they run in Z3–4 to feel the burn.
In each zone, your body uses different chemistry to keep you moving.
Because of its unique chemistry, Z2 improves all zones above it!
Run slow to get fast.
#3: Z2 For Health
Most chronic diseases:
- Metabolic Syndrome
Have a common root cause — poor metabolic health due to poor Mitochondrial function.
Z1–2 improves mitochondrial function, Z3 or above will not.
Mitochondria are like engines, give them fuel & they’ll work for you. But they do need to be looked after.
The healthier they are, they healthier you are.
We should care about:
- How many you have
- How efficient they are
- What fuels they can process
#4: Caring For Mitochondria
Elite athletes spend months in Z2, ~75–85% of training.
- Lowers injury risk
- Lowers heart rate
- Improves Z3–5 speed
- Increase mitochondria #
- Increase mitochondria efficiency
- Better at using fat as a fuel source
#5: The Untrained & Unwell
They’re chemistry isn’t good at using fat as a fuel source, so they use glucose. Very quickly. Producing lactate which they cannot clear due to poor mitochondrial function.
Hydrogen, lactates sidekick, increase pH in muscle = Fatigue & exhaustion.
#6: How does this affect your exercise?
- 80% of your running should be in Z2.
- 20% harder efforts
Do this for month before you shift that ratio!
Training in higher HR will not improve you speed.
#7: Simple ways to know you’re in Z2
- 4–5/10 effort
- Can breath through you nose the whole run
- If you can hear yourself breathing your in Z3 or higher
- Can hold conversation, pausing for breath occasionally
#8: Stay LOW!
Don’t get into Z3. When that happens your chemistry shifts. The benefits are not being trained.
Even if you slow down:
It takes sometime to revert back to using fat as a fuel.
Stay in Z2 from min 1 to min 90.
Want to include sprints? Finish with that.
#9: Overtraining & injury
I know you want a good workout in or feel Strava pressure.
But the reality is most runners run too fast on their slow days & to slow on their fast days.
This is incredibly hard on our bones, joints, ligaments & tendons — slow down to stay in the game.
#10 Signs of Overtraining
- Increased Pain
- Increase resting HR
- Less enthusiastic about running
Train like the pros.
Training in Z2 80% of your runs will significantly improve your health & performance. Go slow to run fast.
Be like Jakob, he’s an Olympic recorder holder running around 5 min/km.
Give yourself permission to slow down.
TL;DR — 10 Things About Z2 Running So You Can Run Fast & Improve Your Health.
• The Zones
• Why Z2
• Z2 for Health
• Caring for Mitochondria
- The Untrained & Unwell
- Your Training
- Am I in Z2?
- Stay Low!
- Signs of Overtraining
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