12

# Heart Rate Training Question (Read 144 times)

I am very new to heart rate training and have a basic question that I haven't really found the answer to using the search function here or elsewhere. Goes like this:

If my goal for a run is, say, 5 miles at my easy pace, and my easy pace is 143 bpm, is that number what I'm looking to average for the 5 miles? Or am I trying not to exceed that number during the 5 miles?

Inquiring mind needs to know.

Usually a HR training plan gives you a zone or range of efforts / HR that you should stay within during the workout part of your run. (pace is usually time over distance, like minutes / mile or whatever units you're using. Effort or intensity is more often used to describe HR. You can run very slowly with high effort up a hill.)

I'd probably warmup for 1 mi, run in a 141-145 range for 3 miles, then cooldown. If that "easy" effort is closer to 70% HRmax (vs 75-80% HRmax), it may only take you a few minutes to reach that. It's also dependent on having an accurate reference point, such as HRmax, HRR, or LT HR and that you're using the right zone percents for that reference point.

What I did when I was new, was aim for a particular HR, let it stabilize, then guess what HR I was running at, then check. Eventually, you'll get so you can tell within a few bpm what your HR is (assuming it's stable and not rising as you're running up a hill). Near LT, you'll be able to tell within 1 or 2 bpm. (at least for me, things get really sensitive in that effort level)

Or you can just run at an effort where you can talk with yourself or a friend.

If you're running on trails or snow, you may have more variability than what you can control, so just do what works.

Good luck.

"So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
J-L-C

I am very new to heart rate training and have a basic question that I haven't really found the answer to using the search function here or elsewhere. Goes like this:

If my goal for a run is, say, 5 miles at my easy pace, and my easy pace is 143 bpm, is that number what I'm looking to average for the 5 miles? Or am I trying not to exceed that number during the 5 miles?

Inquiring mind needs to know.

You will find that you don't actually have an easy pace that corresponds to 143. Some days you'll be running x pace at 143 and sometimes y:yy pace and sometimes z:zz pace.

Since it is impossible to maintain any specific hr number while running, you may just shoot for a ceiling and stay under that. A max ceiling 80% of max hr is good for newer runners. Eventually you'll probably be able to do easy runs with a 75% max hr ceiling and average a bit below that.

At the end of the day, though, it absolutely doesn't matter. Your hr is going to vary so much that you can't really use it as a definitive guide to your training or you'll be selling yourself short. On the good days push it a bit, on the bad days just get through it. Your hr may exceed that ceiling on a hill, or on a hot day, or if a dog comes screaming towards your calf! Hit your workouts at the appropriate paces and you'll know you're doing your easy runs correctly.  I think the hrm is best used for long-term analysis rather than daily training.

After all, assuming your goal is to race, pace is the only thing that matters then, not hr.

AKTrail- Yes, i pretty much understand the zones and I have them determined by and based off of Max HR. My issue is this-

I find that over distance my heart rate increases incrementally . I've seen this referred to as Cardiac Creep or Cardiac Drift. For example: This past week I performed an 'easy' run of four miles. My average HR for the run was 145 bpm. However, digging down into the splits, the detail looks like this-

Mile 1-  AvgHR 133

Mile 2-  AvgHR 144

Mile 3-  AvgHR 149

Mile 4- AvgHR  153

The pace splits were very close to flat. If I were to achieve the desired HR in the first mile, I'd have to run positive splits (slow down) to stay at that HR level over time.

Additionally, considering that the temperature was 75 degrees the body has to work harder to cool itself, doesn't it? That alone would increase my HR.

zonykel

I think you need to know your max heart rate or your heart rate at lactate threshold. Either one will allow you to set up training zones according to HR.

im not sure if the HR you put in your OP is related to how Maffetone determines MAF. If that is the case, then 143 would be the max HR ID follow in a training session. That means you'll probably be slowing down as your run progresses. If you're not following Maffetone, then ignore this paragraph. But if you do follow his methods, there is a whole forum dedicated to low HR training.

zonykel- I do have training zones based off of max HR. I am using the Karvonen formula to establish those zones. I'm not following Maffetone or any low heart rate program. I'm using heart rate training zones to keep myself from over-doing things. I am a consistent pusher/more is better personality, this approach has already been a positive for me. I expect that it is going to benefit me in many ways, including better race performance.

zonykel

could you please provide a link to Karvonen's formula ? I found a couple and just want to be sure. Did you measure or estimate max HR?

zonykel- I do have training zones based off of max HR. I am using the Karvonen formula to establish those zones. I'm not following Maffetone or any low heart rate program. I'm using heart rate training zones to keep myself from over-doing things. I am a consistent pusher/more is better personality, this approach has already been a positive for me. I expect that it is going to benefit me in many ways, including better race performance.

could you please provide a link to Karvonen's formula ? I found a couple and just want to be sure. Did you measure or estimate max HR?

I measured. I used a workout of 8 X 1:00 hill intervals @ about 1 mile pace after a 1.5 mile easy warm-up.

Here is a link to the formula-

http://www.topendsports.com/fitness/karvonen-formula.htm

Bacon Party!

I'd say [and I may well be wrong] that that amount of drift shows that you are lacking aerobic fitness.

What happens if you run at/under 143 for the entire duration? [think time, not distance]

Now, what happens if you run that way for a few weeks?

Liz

pace sera, sera

I agree with Buzzie (including caveat of possibly being wrong. ). Heat may also play a role. 20bpm drift is a lot although the first mile might be considered warmup. That still leaves almost 10bpm drift. (note: We seldom get as warm as +70F, so I've rarely experienced anything resembling heart rate drift except occasionally on a hard workout on tm.)

I'm also going to bet that your field test may not have gotten you near HRmax - unless you were going up a steep hill at 1-mi race pace (flat ground race). It's hard to do on your own outside a race environment.

And in one place you say you used HRmax zones, but then said you used Karvonen formula. Those two techniques use different percentages for the same zones. For instance, the low end of easy or recovery zone might be 70% HRmax, which is close to 55% HRR (Karvonen's formula). 70% HRR is about 80% HRmax, which is what I consider the top end of easy.

An alternative to check for "easy" is various versions of the talk test.

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/speak-easy

I actually saw a graduated form of this the other day, but don't remember where.

If the goal of the workout is to easy, then I'd keep it at that effort so you can talk - regardless of what pace. When you start having trouble talking, you're doing a different type of run.

I know it's confusing, and it took me awhile to figure it out originally, esp. since some websites were not clear as to whether they were using HRmax or HRR.

Good luck.

"So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

I'm also going to bet that your field test may not have gotten you near HRmax - unless you were going up a steep hill at 1-mi race pace (flat ground race). It's hard to do on your own outside a race environment.

And in one place you say you used HRmax zones, but then said you used Karvonen formula. Those two techniques use different percentages for the same zones. For instance, the low end of easy or recovery zone might be 70% HRmax, which is close to 55% HRR (Karvonen's formula). 70% HRR is about 80% HRmax, which is what I consider the top end of easy.

An alternative to check for "easy" is various versions of the talk test.

Thanks AK- Yes, it was 1:00 hill repeats up a fairly steep incline at one mile race (flat ground) pace. I'm pretty sure that I, at least, got very close to Max HR. Until I compete in a 5k in about a month, I'll work with that number.

Sorry if I wasn't clear about my zone calculations. I'm simply using the Karvonen formula to establish training zones instead of some generic, one-size-fits-all, formula like 220-age.

Also, I am very much aware of what easy pace feels like. (I'm not exactly new to this running thing.)  The four mile example I previously posted was at a pace of 10:45 per mile. For comparison, I could run a 5k this morning in 24 minutes. Last week I comfortably ran the first 7 miles of a half-marathon @ about a 9:05 pace. 10:45 is very, very easy for me. It's not conversational pace, it's belt out an opera while you run pace.

Anywho- All I am really looking for is an answer to the original question-

If my goal for a run is, say, 5 miles at my easy pace, and my easy pace is 143 bpm, is that number what I'm looking to average for the 5 miles? Or am I trying not to exceed that number during the 5 miles?

If my goal for a run is, say, 5 miles at my easy pace, and my easy pace is 143 bpm, is that number what I'm looking to average for the 5 miles? Or am I trying not to exceed that number during the 5 miles?

I'm going from memory here, but a few years ago I read the Hadd training document, which is heavy on HR training, and one of the things I recall it saying is that at the beginning of your run, the HR will be lower than your target, but you should work up to the pace where the HR is at the target for that training run. I guess then if you take an average, your average will be slightly less than the target.

edited: I also recall it saying to not sweat it if your HR is a few beats above or below the target. The idea is to be close to it.

I'm going from memory here, but a few years ago I read the Hadd training document, which is heavy on HR training, and one of the things I recall it saying is that at the beginning of your run, the HR will be lower than your target, but you should work up to the pace where the HR is at the target for that training run. I guess then if you take an average, your average will be slightly less than the target.

Now that makes sense to me, Tom. (Or, perhaps it's just the answer I was looking for.)

For me, my pace on a easy run naturally increases a bit. Resulting in, at least, small negative pace splits. If I were to try to get to goal pace quickly, instead of let it happen naturally, It would probably result in positive splits. And that is not something that seems right.

(I think I'll pose this question at Tom's site as well and see what he and his community have to say.)

pedaling fool

AKTrail- Yes, i pretty much understand the zones and I have them determined by and based off of Max HR. My issue is this-

I find that over distance my heart rate increases incrementally . I've seen this referred to as Cardiac Creep or Cardiac Drift. For example: This past week I performed an 'easy' run of four miles. My average HR for the run was 145 bpm. However, digging down into the splits, the detail looks like this-

Mile 1-  AvgHR 133

Mile 2-  AvgHR 144

Mile 3-  AvgHR 149

Mile 4- AvgHR  153

The pace splits were very close to flat. If I were to achieve the desired HR in the first mile, I'd have to run positive splits (slow down) to stay at that HR level over time.

Additionally, considering that the temperature was 75 degrees the body has to work harder to cool itself, doesn't it? That alone would increase my HR.

I'm also very new to HR training and I've experienced much of the same things you've experienced. I also have a very good aerobic base, so that's not an issue. I've also found out that my typical HR is not so typical, depending on the day and how I feel. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I did run across a very good article on the topic and as it turns out the formula is crap. And I've used various formulas, I've found that they're all basically the same, but my max HR is way above all of them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/24/health/maximum-heart-rate-theory-is-challenged.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Excerpt:

In addition, he and others said, gauging maximum heart rates for people who are not used to exercising is often difficult because many prematurely stop the test.

As the treadmill hills get steeper, people who are not used to exercise will notice that their calves are aching. ''They will say they can't go any further,'' Dr. Kirkendall said.

In addition, Dr. Wilmore, the exercise physiologist, said it was clear from the scattered data points that maximum heart rates could vary widely from the formula. ''If it says 150, it could be 180 and it could be 120,'' Dr. Wilmore said.

But the formula quickly entered the medical literature. Even though it was almost always presented as an average maximum rate, the absolute numbers took on an air of received wisdom in part, medical scientists said, because the time was right.

Doctors urging heart patients to exercise wanted a way to gauge exercise intensity. At the same time, exercise gurus, promoting aerobic exercise to the public, were asking how hard people should push themselves to improve their cardiovascular fitness. Suddenly, there was a desire for a simple formula to estimate maximum heart rates.

''You tell people to exercise at a moderate intensity,'' Dr. Haskell said. ''Well, what's a moderate intensity?''

Soon, there was a worldwide heart-rate monitor industry, led by Polar Electro Inc, of Oulu, Finland, selling more than 750,000 monitors a year in the United States and citing the ''220 minus your age'' formula as a guide for training.

The formula became increasingly entrenched, used to make graphs that are posted on the walls of health clubs and in cardiology treadmill rooms, prescribed in information for heart patients and inscribed in textbooks. But some experts never believed it.

Dr. Fritz Hagerman, an exercise physiologist at Ohio University, said he had learned from more than three decades of studying world class rowers that the whole idea of a formula to predict an individual's maximum heart rate was ludicrous. Even sillier, he said, is the common notion that the heart rate is an indication of fitness.

Some people get blood to their muscles by pushing out large amounts every time their hearts contract, he said. Others accomplish the same thing by contracting their hearts at fast rates. As a result, Dr. Hagerman said, he has seen Olympic rowers in their 20's with maximum heart rates of 220. And he has seen others on the same team and with the same ability, but who get blood to their tissues by pumping hard, with maximum rates of just 160.

'

'The heart rate is probably the least important variable in comparing athletes,'' Dr. Hagerman said.

I'm also very new to HR training and I've experienced much of the same things you've experienced. I also have a very good aerobic base, so that's not an issue. I've also found out that my typical HR is not so typical, depending on the day and how I feel. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I did run across a very good article on the topic and as it turns out the formula is crap. And I've used various formulas, I've found that they're all basically the same, but my max HR is way above all of them.

Yeah, my measured heart rates have always been off the charts high. At one point I became concerned about it and went to see a cardiologist. He stress tested me with a dye injection and subsequent heart imaging. He told me that my heart arteries looked like a new-borns. At my annual physical yesterday, my doc said I was as healthy as a horse. I am 55, with a resting HR of 47 and a self- measured Max of 191. Like I said, way off the charts. If I were to follow the standard measurement of 220-age I'd have to walk my easy runs.

Have you tried the Karvonen formula? I'd be interested in seeing how those numbers compare to your real-world results. That formula is also the one used in the Running Wizard training plans.

12