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This week I decided to try to implement a different approach to my routine:  heart rate training!   There has been a lot of buzz lately about some of the different methods for heart rate training, one of the more popular being the Maffetone method, where you take 180 minus your age which would be your target training heart rate.  Many well performing ultra runners swear by this method, not allowing their heart rate to deviate more than a couple points no matter how difficult the workout or terrain.

So I decided to give this method a shot and by the week’s end I came to several conclusions based off this training method and takeaways from my training in general:
1.  Running at a pace to keep my heart rate around 150bpm felt ridiculously slow to me!  But, by the end of the run I felt strong and not completely exhausted as usual.

2.  If you don’t have a smart watch or heart rate monitor, it can be pretty tricky to track your heart rate while running.  I downloaded the Cardiio app on my iphone which has a finger sensor using the camera light.  From reviews I read I guess it is pretty accurate if you can stay relatively still, which is hard to do when you are running!

2.  I am still not cross training enough.  It is REALLY hard to get in 35-40 miles of running, cross train, stay home with kids part time and run a business.   And the sad part is I am not even close to being done!   I need to get up to some consistent 50-60 mile weeks to perform at the level I’d like to and complete the Rim to Rim to Rim.

Here is an overview of this week’s training: 

10 miles flat road miles with 10 burpees every 2 miles.

10 mile trail run, gained 2400 feet

Strength training at home + monkey bars at the playground
–  Carried around a 35lb weight
–  Push-up rows with 8lb weights
–  Ground to overhead squats
– Tons of plank variations
–  Some basic pi-yo moves

Bootcamp class at the playground
5.5 mile full moon trail run!

BLIZZARD!  We got 20 inches of snow by 5pm.  I was a little stir crazy from working all day at home so went to the gym and did a cross training workout:
15 minutes on the bike
2 miles on the treadmill at 6% incline trying to keep heart rate between 150-155
1000 meters row
10 minutes battle ropes
10 minutes step-ups
.5 miles on tread 7mph

Pi-yo class in the am, bootcamp class (body weight + 2 mile run) + 5 mile road run



I decided to officially sign up for the Leadville marathon.  This is the race that started it all and I’ve been wanting to run it again since I had my first son 5 years ago.   I had registered for it back in 2014 but that was when I starting to get sick (diagnosed with autoimmune disease in 2015) so I had to stop training.
I wanted to do a treadmill workout that would mimic the course so I set out to replicate some of the brutal climbs.
After a warm-up, I alternated between running on a 7.5% incline and speed hiking at a 13% incline (1 mile for each for 6 miles total).  The Leadville marathon starts at 10,000 feet and the first climb is 5 miles long, at an average incline of 7.5%.   The 2nd climb is the killer-  2000 feet gained in only 3 miles (average incline over 12%).   My goal was to keep my heart rate below 165  (kind of pushing the Maffetone hr but I wanted to mimic the high altitude environment)  which set me at about a 5.5-6mph jog on the 7.5% incline and a 3.8 mile walk on the 13% incline.

6 road miles (rolling hills)



Follow Lauren (aka Ultra Mama) on her journey to train for the Rim to Rim to Rim run in October.  She will be accounting her training and experiences weekly or bi-monthly.


Scott is the founder of Becoming Ultra and spends most of his time with his family and ideas to get people moving!