Slow Down


Here’s my advice. Slow down. If you want to go faster, get stronger and be more healthy, slow down. Isn’t the reason we exercise for health reasons? Did we lose this notion? Ask yourself, do you know your heart rate zones?

I use this analogy with athletes. Think of the tallest building in the world. Let’s humanize this building and say it’s the fastest and strongest building. Now consider this. How big do you think it’s foundation is? Its base must be huge. The builders took a long time to design and create this base. They could not skip any corners. Think what would happen if the foundation wasn’t healthy, what would happen to the building as it was being created? We all should consider this idea when we embark on a fitness goal. Rushing through this base building step will lead to problems.

There is a lot of technical data available that discusses how the heart getting stronger gives you the ability to take in and utilize more oxygen. This, in turn, makes you stronger and healthier. There are many more advantages to this idea. I believe that true fitness comes out of our bodies working as efficiently as we can. Once you get all cylinder’s in good working order, then training becomes more efficient.

Take the time to learn what this really means to you. What are your heart rate zones?

Here are some ways to get those zones. Remember when we did this? To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery – which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.

There are numerous online sources to help you figure out your zones.  You can get assistance at your gym, through a coach, or if you own a Garmin, Polar or Timex watch these tools will also help you.

As you might find there are many opinions about zone labels and the number of zones. All correct in their own way. What I’m focusing on is the ability to know when you’re aerobic and in this case the low end of your aerobic zone.

If you don’t have the energy to figure this out, then try this. Walk more. It’s that simple. Walk with purpose. My grocery store is 1 and ½ miles from my house. I now walk to grab a few days of groceries, Yes, I take my daypack to carry it home. I walk. Do double duty if you have to. This is a great time to catch up on calls. Walking allows your body to grow aerobically without the pounding that running creates. I have my athletes do long hikes well into their event season, these can be in the mountains, or they can be urban hikes. That’s why I say to do this with purpose. Plan the route, take nutrition, set goals. It can be as complicated as you want to make or as simple as walking the dog. Do it with a group. Do more of it.

I called this article Slow Down for a reason. We are just going through life too fast. Walking is a great way to reverse this trend. Slow down and build that foundation. I recommend this approach if you want to have one of your best seasons ever and stay healthy while you’re doing it.


Gary Wallesen
Coach – Steelhead Coaching

Leave a comment