Talking while you run is an important part of training if you want to become a better, faster runner.
If you are feeling a little skeptical after reading that statement, you are not alone – when I first heard it, I didn’t believe it either.
Then at the weekend I ran over this message chalked on the pavement (pictured), ‘You’re still talking’. Further along the footpath another message read ‘Paula stop talking, get running!’ Maybe she was part of a race, I mused, and needed encouragement to change her pace from aerobic to up tempo if she was to achieve a certain time? Or maybe she was like me? It got me thinking about an important thing I’ve learned in my training so far about running and talking, especially if you are training to run a marathon or half marathon which is an ‘aerobic’ event.
Since we began the Running Clinic three weeks ago Gaz Brown of GetRunning has stressed that the group run at a level where we can still speak comfortably to one another as we jog. We started out jogging for three minutes and walking for two minutes, and repeating that for a total of 40 minutes. We then increased that to running for four minutes and walking for two minutes, and now we’re up to running for six minutes. If our breathing gets too heavy Gaz pulls us back to a slow jog or walk.
As half marathon running is an aerobic activity GetRunning encourages its runners to be running at an RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) of 5 – 7 during their training runs. On longer training runs, your RPE should be between five and six. Five is easy, when you can talk comfortably; six is comfortable, you can talk comfortably but breathing has increased; and seven is somewhat hard – you can talk comfortably, but are slightly breathless.
Since doing this, I have noticed an incredible difference in my fitness and ease of running. I’m no longer gasping, but am running more comfortably, and of course, I’m talking. My time per kilometre is improving too, despite my pace still being the slowest in the group.
Kiri Price, who works at GetRunning, assures me I’ll catch up, eventually. “It’s all about building your base,” she explains. “Think of a house as an analogy: first you build the foundation and then you put up the walls. Right now, you are building the foundation. The walls are your speed and strength.”
As for my weight loss goals, some readers have asked for an update. My goal is to lose 10kgs on my journey back to wellness. When I began on January 14 I weighed 74kg. This week I weighed in at 70.8kg, which is a loss of 3.2kgs over a five-week period. It is a great feeling.