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Heart Rate Training - beginners guide

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,549 ✭✭✭ Lazare


    The thread title might be a bit misleading. I'm not here to guide beginners in HR training, rather I'm hoping you guys, you experts might help guide me, and other beginners thinking of switching to the method.

    I've just gotten a Garmin strap, am good to go, all I need now is the smarts and the stats to use it properly.

    I know I need to get an accurate MHR (maximal heart rate) in order to utilise training zones, I've got plans for that.

    What else does a beginner need to know?

    When I begin a marathon block, will I be able to get an accurate marathon pace heart rate that I can train to? Is that thing?

    What are good HR training plans for multiple distances?

    Basically, what are your tips and tricks?


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Comments



  • Prepare to run slower than you'd like to.

    I've did it for years now.

    Roughly my stats be.

    Easy/Recovery runs Max HR mid 140's
    Tempo's and AT runs around max of 170
    Intervals be more times but be based around what my HR should be.
    LSR be like easy/recovery but max would go a little higher as run goes on.

    On easy the max isn't a target but a limit so I run based on mid 130's so covers a little rise if going up hill.

    Each person is different but they are my rough numbers based on a blood tests.




  • SeeMoreBut wrote: »
    Prepare to run slower than you'd like to.

    I've did it for years now.

    Roughly my stats be.

    Easy/Recovery runs Max HR mid 140's
    Tempo's and AT runs around max of 170
    Intervals be more times but be based around what my HR should be.
    LSR be like easy/recovery but max would go a little higher as run goes on.

    On easy the max isn't a target but a limit so I run based on mid 130's so covers a little rise if going up hill.

    Each person is different but they are my rough numbers based on a blood tests.

    What's your MHR? Can you give a bit more info on the blood tests?




  • This is a good book for those getting into HR training

    Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1891369849/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_2HAeEb1YZZ2M5




  • Great stuff cheers. Just bought it.




  • Lazare wrote: »
    What's your MHR? Can you give a bit more info on the blood tests?

    Basically I was running around 10 minutes and got some blood taken and see what the lactic acid was in it.

    Go again a bit faster and test again.

    180's but each person is different.

    Just prepared to run slower at the start than you like. The first few weeks and months are the hardest ones as you could feel like you are jogging instead of running for an easy one.

    Good luck on your journey and stick to it.


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  • Aha, I've similar lined up. The Beacon offer it along with a range of other tests, booking myself in for Feb.

    Cheers. Am looking forward to the switch.




  • The basics:

    Know your max HR. (Do a test, or use data gathered during previous races or hard sessions).

    Calculate training zones based on Max:

    Zone 1 (recovery/easy) - 68-73% Max
    Zone 2 (easy/steady) - 73-80%
    Zone 3 (moderate) - 80-87%
    Zone 4 (hard) - 87-93%
    Zone 5 (very hard) - 93-100%

    Your Lactate threshold should at the upper end of Z3. Z4 is for long intervals (reps of 3-5+ mins), Z5 for short intervals (<1-3 mins or less). You need to know the pace for Z4 and Z5 (e.g using McMillan calculator) as your HR may only get there towards the end, or not at all if the rep is very short.

    You have to be careful not to let easy runs stray too far into Z3. Good books include Fitzgerald’s 80/20 Running (very strong on the evidence for the zones, and detailed plans from 5k - Marathon). Pfitzinger and Daniels books also give HR options as alternative to paces. Hanson less so - more pace-based but at least he explains why!

    Good luck with it. Good to know resting HR too - gives you option to set up zones based on HR ‘reserve’ (the difference between max-min).

    One thing to bear in mind is your HR will vary from day to day, so be prepared to be faster/slower based on how you feel on the day. Also, if you’re like me, some days your HR strap will just not work properly, so know the general pace ranges anyway, as sometimes you have to revert to them.

    Edit: Look up yaboya1’s log for a really interesting account of his experience with the Hadd method. Fantastic read, and a brilliant, reflective, well written account of how diligent and patient HR training can lead to huge improvements - in his case a first sub-3 marathon after a number of disappointments.

    Note - the blood test referred to above is a LT test, where your blood is measured for lactate build up at the end of a series of increasingly faster intervals. Just make sure you are well rested and fit on the day of the test as you will want your HR on the day to be typical. More info at the likes of perfectpacing.com (Emmet Dunleavy). Testing costs about 100 euros. Good to try to get a group together (from club or running group) as you can pace each other through the reps. The advantage of testing (assuming you have an accurate HR on the day) is you get a very specific LT zone which can be used to calculate all other zones (and in fact the tester will give you these zones based on your test data).




  • That's excellent stuff D.




  • I've trained to hr for years as a secondary metric. Had the lab tests done for a different sport in my 20s. It's worth knowing your zones. In my last Marathon block I essentially lost 3 weeks with the flu. I was training to a target pace that was no longer realistic at the time. I trained to hr for 2 weeks to get back on track without chasing the plan.

    Another good way to use hr is to cap your easy runs to ensure they remain easy.

    A simpler way to establish your AT (Anaerobic Threshold) is do 2-3 miles warm up and then a 30min time trial emptying the tank. Your avg hr for that 30 mins will not be far off your AT. That will give you an anchor to establish zones as Murph_D describes.. a little different person to person.




  • I came across this site recently, like murph_d and shotgun mentioned you'll need to know max h.r... I'm using it as a rough guide until I get tested later in the month.
    www.datacranker.com/heart-rate-training-zones-calculator/


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  • Coming from another angle but heart rate training can not be looked at in a vacuum in order to get an accurate baseline you need to measure influencing factors for HR

    - Underlying medical issues
    - Sleep patterns
    - Illness
    - Hydration
    - Stress
    - Nutrition
    - Medication
    - Caffeine consumption

    As has been mentioned an awful lot of people will find that when they start running by HR it tends to see them slow way down and some of this is down to poor aerobic conditioning but also all these factors come into play.




  • I find that HR is a valuable input and having an idea of what your HR zones are and sticking to them for various workouts is a good way of doing things.

    However, it's worth noting that the John L. Parker book--even if it's in a third edition--dates from before the advent of the GPS watch. Heart rate was used as a proxy for pace because live pace data was hard to come by if you didn't do all your running on a track or treadmill. That book was my bible . . . in 2001. And I haven't read the most recent (2009) edition, so maybe he's updated it.

    But most more recent methods for distance training that I've seen rely more on pace zones than on heart rate zones, although they usually extrapolate the various zones based on the pace at lactate threshold. They certainly don't say HR is of no value. More like: if you want to achieve certain times, paces are what you need to be concentrating on.




  • KSU wrote: »
    Coming from another angle but heart rate training can not be looked at in a vacuum in order to get an accurate baseline you need to measure influencing factors for HR

    - Underlying medical issues
    - Sleep patterns
    - Illness
    - Hydration
    - Stress
    - Nutrition
    - Medication
    - Caffeine consumption

    As has been mentioned an awful lot of people will find that when they start running by HR it tends to see them slow way down and some of this is down to poor aerobic conditioning but also all these factors come into play.

    Agree, but surely assuming none of the above are different from ‘normal’ levels, one can assume their HR is at a fairly accurate baseline (for their particular lifestyle). For instance, I sleep badly, hydrate poorly, drink too much and have a fast metabolism. I suspect that these all probably contribute to my day to day HR. But as long as I’m not changing any of the above, I can take my HR as fairly reliable?




  • Murph_D wrote: »
    Agree, but surely assuming none of the above are different from ‘normal’ levels, one can assume their HR is at a fairly accurate baseline (for their particular lifestyle). For instance, I sleep badly, hydrate poorly, drink too much and have a fast metabolism. I suspect that these all probably contribute to my day to day HR. But as long as I’m not changing any of the above, I can take my HR as fairly reliable?

    Very true (though I am not too sure how we can normalise different aspects of stress)

    I think the list is important though as it can be a checklist of stuff you can do to improve your ability to train to the right effort levels vs optimal paces. i.e if these are issues you need to address them to allow you train sufficiently hard otherwise you are limiting the ability to ensure overall fitness is keeping up with cardio fitness. Many people have the CV potential to run quicker than current levels enable them

    (just food for thought on stuff that we tend to forget having huge influence on ability to train hard)




  • This may be a bit obvious but it's important to look at time spent in the target zone rather than the average HR for your run.

    Take an example where the target aerobic zone is 135-145bpm.

    You could potentially spend half the run hovering around 130bpm and the other half hovering around 150bpm and the average HR for the run will be 140bpm. If you look at this average in isolation it looks like the runner nailed the session as it's within the target zone when actually the very opposite is true and the runner may have spent no time at all in the target zone!

    Of course the example given is a bit extreme to make the point :pac:

    Apologies if this is obvious! But i see some logs (my own included) where i note my average HR for my run and i think it's important just to be aware that the average can be misleading.




  • ariana` wrote: »
    This may be a bit obvious but it's important to look at time spent in the target zone rather than the average HR for your run.

    Take an example where the target aerobic zone is 135-145bpm.

    You could potentially spend half the run hovering around 130bpm and the other half hovering around 150bpm and the average HR for the run will be 140bpm. If you look at this average in isolation it looks like the runner nailed the session as it's within the target zone when actually the very opposite is true and the runner may have spent no time at all in the target zone!

    Of course the example given is a bit extreme to make the point :pac:

    Apologies if this is obvious! But i see some logs (my own included) where i note my average HR for my run and i think it's important just to be aware that the average can be misleading.

    For me I'd set alert around 143 and if I go above that watch beeps and I back off.

    Good thing with HR training is you don't turn an session from 1 level to another level and you end up over training.




  • ariana` wrote: »
    This may be a bit obvious but it's important to look at time spent in the target zone rather than the average HR for your run.

    Take an example where the target aerobic zone is 135-145bpm.

    You could potentially spend half the run hovering around 130bpm and the other half hovering around 150bpm and the average HR for the run will be 140bpm. If you look at this average in isolation it looks like the runner nailed the session as it's within the target zone when actually the very opposite is true and the runner may have spent no time at all in the target zone!

    Of course the example given is a bit extreme to make the point :pac:

    Apologies if this is obvious! But i see some logs (my own included) where i note my average HR for my run and i think it's important just to be aware that the average can be misleading.

    Also important point is that there is a lag with HR so when getting into the "right zones" (a notion which has been heavily challenged) you shouldn't be looking at your HR till you are a few minutes into your running.

    For example if you are doing Cruise interval Lactate Threshold reps (1 miles for example) you should be looking to hit the right range in the last quarter of the 1st rep rather than from the beginning as you will more than likely find if you are you are working too hard and HR will spike.




  • Just wondering anyone who has gone down the heart rate training route over a substantial time having previously spent a substantial time training the old fashioned way seen a big improvement in race times and injuries?




  • KSU wrote: »
    Also important point is that there is a lag with HR so when getting into the "right zones" (a notion which has been heavily challenged) you shouldn't be looking at your HR till you are a few minutes into your running.

    For example if you are doing Cruise interval Lactate Threshold reps (1 miles for example) you should be looking to hit the right range in the last quarter of the 1st rep rather than from the beginning as you will more than likely find if you are you are working too hard and HR will spike.

    Yeah HR lag is one of the problems with training solely by HR. Probably better to combine it with RPE (or common sense even)? I would say it should help if you have a good feeling for the effort required for whichever zone you are targeting and run that effort until your HR catches up so to speak.




  • Im in this zone (bad pun) where i am trying to focus on HRM and running in zones and have set up and adjusted my zones as accurately as i can ( https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=112154468&postcount=7358) but where i really struggle is attempting to run in the endurance zone (Z2) I just feel like its an absoloute CRAWL. Very hard to try and run slow but ive read the run slower run stronger book and ive read up on HRM training and watched countless YT videos and when it comes to getting out there (especially running with others) i find it very hard to hold back and trot along.


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  • BKWDR wrote: »
    Im in this zone (bad pun) where i am trying to focus on HRM and running in zones and have set up and adjusted my zones as accurately as i can ( https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=112154468&postcount=7358) but where i really struggle is attempting to run in the endurance zone (Z2) I just feel like its an absoloute CRAWL. Very hard to try and run slow but ive read the run slower run stronger book and ive read up on HRM training and watched countless YT videos and when it comes to getting out there (especially running with others) i find it very hard to hold back and trot along.

    How slow are you talking about, compared to your race times?




  • KSU wrote: »
    Also important point is that there is a lag with HR so when getting into the "right zones" (a notion which has been heavily challenged) you shouldn't be looking at your HR till you are a few minutes into your running.

    For example if you are doing Cruise interval Lactate Threshold reps (1 miles for example) you should be looking to hit the right range in the last quarter of the 1st rep rather than from the beginning as you will more than likely find if you are you are working too hard and HR will spike.

    I've found using a power meter has helped with targetting the right intensity from step 1.
    Example below for a 400mt session, power is the orange line, hr the purple, it tells a story.

    499330.JPG




  • KSU wrote: »
    Also important point is that there is a lag with HR so when getting into the "right zones" (a notion which has been heavily challenged) you shouldn't be looking at your HR till you are a few minutes into your running.

    For example if you are doing Cruise interval Lactate Threshold reps (1 miles for example) you should be looking to hit the right range in the last quarter of the 1st rep rather than from the beginning as you will more than likely find if you are you are working too hard and HR will spike.

    Agreed - hence my point above about needing to know the approximate pace for faster reps rather than waiting for HR to catch up. Fitzgerald recommends using McMillan or similar calculator to estimate appropriate training paces for speedwork etc.




  • Murph_D wrote: »
    How slow are you talking about, compared to your race times?

    Looking at my strava, if i run on my own , about 5 min / km. I attempted a LSR in Z2 in Nov which was 79% in Z2 for 10 miles and strava has that pace at 6:48/km avg




  • BKWDR wrote: »
    Looking at my strava, if i run on my own , about 5 min / km. I attempted a LSR in Z2 in Nov which was 79% in Z2 for 10 miles and strava has that pace at 6:48/km avg

    You need to do a proper all-out test to determine your max HR before you can set up your zones. You are almost certainly not hitting your max on these solo training runs.




  • Murph_D wrote: »
    You need to do a proper all-out test to determine your max HR before you can set up your zones. You are almost certainly not hitting your max on these solo training runs.

    100% agree here. You need to at least find out what your max is and the only way to do that is push, suffer and push again. Can be done in a Parkrun if you start steady and slowly wind your effort up to all out for the final km. Better to do it over 30mins. Its not as simple as 220-ypur age. My max is well above that value and I know others who have even higher max (and much lower).




  • 100% agree here. You need to at least find out what your max is and the only way to do that is push, suffer and push again. Can be done in a Parkrun if you start steady and slowly wind your effort up to all out for the final km. Better to do it over 30mins. Its not as simple as 220-ypur age. My max is well above that value and I know others who have even higher max (and much lower).

    Thanks for both replies above. I got a PB of 23 mins in park run on Dec 14th and pushed myself, was fairly gassed and pushed myself at the last 1.5km 499424.jpg

    Would above represent an accurate reading to base it off?
    I have adjusted my Zones from my 220-Age to the lactate measurement on the previous post i linked to.




  • For anyone thinking of relying on the 220-age formula, don't. It was never intended as a formula for determining individual heart rates, it's a statistical model for assessing population health that was arrived at by surveying US populations and has no athletic validity. It's not hard to imagine how two hearts would differ at 50 if one was a couch potato smoker and the other an athlete, though the formula would tell you they have the same max HR. There are updated versions, but none seem to have arrived at a reliable formula.




  • On a slight tangent but in the same ball park what are your resting HR rates?

    - resting HR generally 40-50 bpm (resting HR of 44 bpm as I am writing this). I have seen 38-39bpm in the depths of marathon training.
    - Hilly 5k Park run New Year's Day in 20:45 mins at 158 bpm
    - 12km training run last Saturday in exactly 54 min- 154bpm

    I have a Garmin 235 and I know watches are not generally regarded as accurate as say a chest strap. I am otherwise in tip top shape bar a few extra winter pounds (5'10 at 11 stone 6lbs which is about 7/8 lbs heavier than what I will be for marathons later in the spring). Is my HR too low!! Do I need to see a doctor!

    I'm 41.


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  • On a slight tangent but in the same ball park what are your resting HR rates?

    - resting HR generally 40-50 bpm (resting HR of 44 bpm as I am writing this). I have seen 38-39bpm in the depths of marathon training.
    - Hilly 5k Park run New Year's Day in 20:45 mins at 158 bpm
    - 12km training run last Saturday in exactly 54 min- 154bpm

    I have a Garmin 235 and I know watches are not generally regarded as accurate as say a chest strap. I am otherwise in tip top shape bar a few extra winter pounds (5'10 at 11 stone 6lbs which is about 7/8 lbs heavier than what I will be for marathons later in the spring). Is my HR too low!! Do I need to see a doctor!

    I'm 41.

    No, your resting HR numbers are great. The typical range for an adult is 60 - 100 bpm. The fitter you are the lower the number.

    That 60 - 100 is based on sedentary people, active people and athletes fall into your range.

    Means you've got an above average HR reserve with the heart working more efficiently than the average person.

    I've the 235 also. It's good for an accurate resting HR but useless (imo) for active stats. Chest strap the only way.


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