I have found that one piece of information is critical to developing training zones. That is your maximum heart rate (MHR) and it cannot be determined by formula. You need to go out and run a few hard intervals to get an estimate of your MHR.
My MHR is 184 (highest observered number) and my zones have been developed as a percent of MHR. My easy zone is 140 or less, which is 76% or less. My steady zone is 150 or less, which is 82% or less. My Threshold zone is 160 or less, which is 87% or less. All of those zones can float 2 or 3 beats per min either side depending on how I feel. I usually run on the high side of a zone. Over time I've learned how to recognize how I feel when I run, so when I forget the HRM or the watch (about once every couple of weeks) I can just run by feel. I would not use pace because it varies quite a bit. For example, yesterday I ran 14k over a very flat course at 9:47 avg pace, with a HR of 150. This morning I ran 12k over a very hilly course at 9:50 avg pace, with a HR of 141.
I don't have a very sophisticated HRM. It shows HR only, and it does not record anything. That's just fine by me, and I am a certified data freak.
Thank you! I did hill sprints and got my HR up to 200bpm. I understand about HR zones and variable Max HR for people but I wasn't sure what percentages I should be at for different types of runs.... and should that be an ultimate guide? Like on my long run on Sunday, I never got above a 169 which is low for me, so should I have gone harder based on that?
Yes, I run with a HRM, and at this point, I would almost feel naked running without it!
I wear a Polar S120 on all of my runs. Very simple, very easy to use. Has it limits, but it gives me some of the information I need.
What HRs do I aim for? Well, that depends. What type of a run am I doing? If I'm doing a VO2max run or a LT run I'm trying for a whole different set of HRs than say a recovery run or just a general aerobic run. Since I know my maximum HR is 203 (I've hit it twice), I try to hit 180 for LT and get close to 190 or more for VO2max runs. On recovery runs I try to stay around 130-145 and for general aerobic runs I allow myself anywhere from 145 to 175.
When I ran, I always used a strapped HRM. It was a good tool that helped keep me in my desired range for that day's run.
As for being a certified data freak, I have a great spreadsheet that I designed that calculates heart rates based, on theoretical (220-age) and actual (maximum acheived). I always used the actual attained numbers since they were more accurate
I can email to anyone who wants. Its very simple to use.
If you think your max is around 200 I would opine that 169 on a long run (assuming your long run is 90 min or more) is too high because it's about 85% of your max, which is approaching LT level. I would expect mine to be about 75% to perhaps 80% max for a long run of 2 hrs or so.
I used the following info from a John Molvar article to calculate my zones. Note that they are calculated by using MHR minus RHR, which is a little bit different than a simple percent of MHR.
"1/4 effort - easier, but still aerobic pace (not jogging), 65-70% of (Maximum minus resting heart rate). For example, with a resting of 55 and max of 195, it works out to 145 to 153 beats per minute. For one runner it could be approximately 7:25 to 7:50 per mile depending on how he feels and the conditions and if it is early in base building phase or late in the base building phase.
1/2 effort - run at a strong aerobic, but sub tempo pace, 70-75% of (Maximum minus resting heart rate). For example 153 to 160 beats per minute. For our example runner that could be 6:40 to 7:10 per mile depending on how he feels and the conditions and if it is early in base building phase or late in the base building phase.
3/4 effort run at tempo pace/At Threshold (AT) pace, 75-85% of (Maximum minus resting heart rate). For example 160 to 174 beats per minute. For our example runner that could be 6:15 to 6:35 per mile depending on how he feels and the conditions and if it is early in base building phase or late in the base building phase."
Bottom line for me is to run where I feel comfortable and note what my HR is on that day. So I don't use HR to control pace....merely to define the range where I am running. As a follow up to yesterday's info, today I ran 18k with HR in the 131 range. I felt good at that pace, although it was quite slow relative to the two previous days, so I stayed there in spite of the low HR.
All good stuff, but I would recommend defining your goals as well. . .eg., basebuilding vs. speed workouts. If you are interested in a really decent look at aerobic basebuilding, here's a link to Jesse Leitner's page on it:
I've been wearing one more lately pretty much out of curiosity. Today during my tempo work I was at about 90% MHR so just around LT based on my age ... BUT I haven't done a VO2Max test lately, and age-predicted is a good estimate at best.
I'd recommend a VO2 max or sub-max test for the most accurate heart rate training, but also think observing your heart rate responses over time at different effort levels of training has validity, too.
Tigger- I didn't yet thank you for your input. Interestingly, my heart rate has been staying much lower and recovering much more quickly. So I think I am much closer to being in th correct zones according to the info you gave....Maybe I was just high that day or something? Thanks again!
I don't use a HRM, but I do get tested with blood lactate levels and HR. I know everyone is different............but 169 seems too high for long run unless you had some pacework involved. I'd think under 150 for zone 1. I got tested today and if I trained with an HRM, I should stay under 148 (and I'll add that I'm out-of-shape and have been running too hard because I was running at paces preinjury), because normal for me is 135-140 on easy runs.
so, as usual, I agree with Tigger. I don't use a HRM in training, but I take the pace and keep myself in range. I get to run 20 secongs slower than I had been on my long runs and my easy runs. I've been down this road before in 2/2006 I had to run for 6 weeks at 7:45-7:50 pace, never faster. I got tested in 4/2006 and even though I did no speedwork my zone 1 became 7:30 and I added speedwork. 5/2006 with 6 weeks of speedwork, all my zones went through the roof with zone 1 being 6:50. I ran a huge half marathon PR without taper. Patience, patience, run slow to run fast (I'm telling myself this right now, because my DH won't talk to me because I'm "acting like a baby" about not wanting to run slow)
And like Tigger, I really think there is something to be said about "feel". During my test, I looked over and said "I'm crossing over the aerobic threshold"--I felt it, but when I looked at my speed, I knew that it shouldn't be happening yet.
I am going to give the run slow to run fast build your aerobic base thing the good college try after this marathon and see what happens. Right now I am 10 weeks out and ffollowing a plan I am loving. But, cross my heart I am gonna try it starting the beginning of November...
FTR My heart rate is improving on long runs and is staying much lower....