Low HR Training

12

"Heart TIme" running experiment (Read 993 times)

jimmyb


port-a-bella-potty

    Heart Time Running Experiment

    by JimmyB

     

    I noticed that when running in any heart rate zone or at any heart rate, there came a time in the run where the HR began to rise on a steep incline at the same HR, or conversely, pace at the same HR would slow dramatically. Depending on my fitness at the time, it could take 40 minutes to get to that point, or it could take two hours or more. But it always came. Once that point is reached, the run becomes about struggling to keep the HR down, or not to walk, or whatever. It just becomes like beating a dead armadillo.This dramatic slowing comes whether I am hydrated or not.

     

    I theorized that this point in the run is when the body has reached its limit for the workout, after which I would be doing more harm than good. The training effect would be diminished. I believe this point in the run to be a reflection of exhausted fibers. Dehydration plays a part in heart rate drift (your HR rising at the same pace over time), but that is reflected in the normal rate of drift. At this point in the run, the heart rate is reflecting an increased stress in the body. I have not ruled out that this point might also reflect the engagement of fast twitch fibers as the slow twitchers become fully exhausted.

     

    Both Jack Daniels (successful college coach wrote the classic training book, Daniels Running Formula) and Dr. Phil Maffetone (developed The Maffetone Method or MAF training) suggest running by duration, not distance. Increased distance should be a byproduct of increased fitness at the same duration. An elite runner can do a 20-miler at MAF intensity (maximum aerobic function or heart rate) in 2.5 hours, a beginner or an age-grouper might take 4 hours to do the same twenty miles at MAF. In Daniels Running Formula, Daniels suggests that anything over that 2.5 hours is just overkill and serves no physiological purpose in terms of training (except, perhaps, a mental benefit). You've exhausted everything that needs exhausting, there is no need to go any further.

     

    For example, here is an extended MAF test I did on the TM back in 2006 for the fun of it:

    12:30 Warm-up
    10:23 Warm-up
    MAF TEST:
    9:51  140
    10:16 140
    10:37  140
    10:59  141
    11:12  140
    11:19  140
    11:30  140
    12:23  140 (Steep drop in pace, nearly a minute)
    12:46  140

     

    After seeing these steep dives in pace at the same heart rate in my runs, I brought this idea of running by duration one step further: maybe going out and running 2.5 hours was as arbitrary as choosing 20 miles. If a runner follows a set schedule and builds to 2.5 hours as Daniels suggests over (e.g.) twelve weeks, there might be a chance the runner is not ready for that duration at that point in time---he or she could be could be over-training (OT).

     

    Taking this idea further to beginners: maybe a beginner is not ready for a run that's even one hour long, or even 50 minutes.

     

    I decided to take this drop off point in pace/HR during my runs and try to create a zone that would keep me from OT. Let the body decide what the duration will be based on this zone. I wouldn't impose any length of time or distance. My first heart time long run was a 20 beat zones. It was an arbitrary number to see how long it would take for a run (loosely based on the drift I've seen in 2 hour long runs). I wasn't in great aerobic shape at the time, here is the first run (MAF 133):

     

    Protocol:

    --take 25 minutes to warm-up to MAF-20

    --acclimate to MAF-20 for 5 more minutes, then hold the speed for the rest of the run.

    ---After my heart rate rose to MAF, and I began to struggle to stay at MAF, I ended the run.

     

    4/2/10

    tm 1% incline

    heart time zone 113-133
    17:16  105
    17:32  114
    17:39  118
    17:39  122
    17:39  126
    17:39  127
    13:35  131 .77 mile

     

    duration 1:59:00 6.77 miles

     

    I coined this type of run "heart time." Basically, the time it takes for your HR to drift from the starting HR to the steep rise in HR or stress point.

     

    The next run I did a week later with this heart time zone of 113-133, quickly increased to

    duration: 2:17:00 and 8.85 miles (

     

    I felt exhausted, so I adjusted the zone to a 15 beat zone of 118-133, used the same warm-up protocol, and worked from there. Here's how the runs progressed:

     

    date duration miles pace
    4/30/10 2:11:00 8.62 15:29
    5/7/10 2:18:00 9.08 15:12
    5/26/10 2:25:00 10.31 14:04
     6/9/10 2:17:00 10.27 13:15
     10/29/10 2:32:00 12.00 12:42

     

    During the span from 4/2 through 6/9, I did some LT tempo runs in a heart time zone of 170-180. I took 25 minutes to get to 170, stabilized my speed, when I could no longer maintain 180 bpm, I ended the run.

     

    date duration miles pace
    4/7/10 20:00 2.19 9:08
    4/14/10 20:00 2.19 9:08
    4/27/10 21:00 2.34 8:58
    5/5/10 21:00 2.34 8:58
    5/12/10 21:00 2.36 8:54
    5/24/10 21:00 2.49 8:26

     

    I also did heart time recovery runs between 113-118, using the same warm-up protocol. I limited runs to 1 hour, whether I reached the top of the zone or not. Here's a chart with the first run and one of the last runs in this period:

     

    date duration miles pace
    4/4/10 40:00 2.37 16:53
    6/13/10 1:00:00 4.49 13:22

     

    I had a brief race season, and a two-month period of extreme mental stress from July through August 2010. I used heart time again to come back.

     

    Things went well up until July 2011, when another "summer of stress" came upon me. I won't go into details, but it had to do with an ailing family member who ended up passing at the end of September. Anyone who has been through this sort of stuff more than once can attest to how crazy things can get. It was broken up into two stressful periods. July 7-22nd and Sept. 12-Oct 9th. The remarkable thing about each of these periods is just how suppressed my aerobic system became. Here is a comparison of 4 MAF tests:

     

    date MAF Test 1st mile
    7/1/11 10:28
    7/25/11 15:03
    9/8/11 10:16
    10/9/11 12:56

     

    You can see the regression after a period of high stress and little running. The first period of stress in July was worse than the second in September.

     

    When I got home at the end of July, I began a new heart time protocol. I wanted to work at MAF specifically, so I changed to a pace based protocol that went like this:

     

    --warmup 15 minutes from MAF-30 (100 bpm)  to MAF -15 (115)

    --the speed I am going when I reach 15 minutes and 115 bpm becomes my "base speed".

    --I take 5 more minutes to get my HR to MAF (130), then stay at MAF until the run ends.

    --speed will slow over time. As soon as I get to base speed, and can no longer maintain it, I end the run

     

    Here's an example of an outdoor run on a flat course using .25 mile splits on a Garmin.

     

    3.27   2:57  
    3:15   2:49  
    3:18   3:06  
    3:09   3:02  
    3:12 <base speed (115 bpm 15:00)  3:07  
    2:48  ave 122 bpm 3:10  
    2:44  130 ave bpm per .25 mile from here on 3:12  back to base speed
    2:53   3:25  steep dive and struggling to hold
    2:49   1:29  end run
    2:56      
    2:48      
    2:52      
    2:52      
    2:55      
    2:52      

     

    From 7/25/11 through 9/8/1, I did the same thing for each run. This period came after the period of the highest stress where my MAF first mile had dropped to 15+ minutes. Here's a chart of MAF first mile progression during that period (every run):

     

     

    It shows not only the overall progression, but also the up and down, varying state of the body from day to day.

     

    Duration went from a low of 36:00 to a high of 1:40:00 in the same heart time.

    Miles went from a low of 2.31 miles to 8.32

     

    I started an new aerobic base phase on October 9th, I am experiencing a speed of progress almost equal to the one in August-September. See my running log.

     

    Heart-time running has taken a lot of guesswork out of the equation for me. I've had a tough time the last few years in terms of abnormal, chronic stress--it has affected my running. I think this method has helped me to come back from such periods and avoid over-training. It has allowed my body to get there when it is ready. It is a way to maximize an aerobic workout, without going past the point where it might be affecting the aerobic system in a regressive sort of way--whether it be running aerobically (MAF) or anaerobically (threshold runs). This method isn't the result of a rigorous scientific method, but the proof is always in the progress. When the time comes when these pace based heart time runs get to 2.5 hours, I may or may not have a time limit. Might be an interesting experiment to see how far I can progress in duration.

     

    If anyone is interested in trying this, I urge you to experiment and work out your own protocols based on the idea. Someone with great fitness might need a smaller zone, or this method won't even matter as their HR might not drift so much. A beginner might need a larger one. A good rule of thumb for a beginner might be to test yourself on a 30 to 40 minute run and see how far your HR drifts, or your speed degrades, then base it on that. Then see how much you can improve on the 30 or 40 minutes.

     

    That's the experiment.

     

     

    (DISCLAIMER: heart time running is not a part of MAF training. It is not  a creation of, nor is it endorsed by,  Dr. Maffetone or anyone else, but the author of this article (me). It is just a personal experiment (or creation) that I am doing within the MAF and speed training that I practice.)

     

    --JimmyCool

     

    also posted at my blog

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    Shondek


      Interesting stuff Jimmy by coincidence on my recent long runs(3 hours: with planned first mile last mile walking) when I see my pace dropping for the same effort  I usually start walking especially if the reduction of speed is on the flat.I just feel training is over,tried phoning my wife a couple of times  to pick me up,she wasn't having it..Sad

      I've been on Maffetones 2 week carbo test it's the first week and l've lost 6lbs I've aways noticed that hill have less of an effect on your heart rate when lighter,which I noticed this morning where I actually jogged up certain hills for the first time.It'll be interesting if this weight loss  affects my drift on this Saturdays 3 hour run.

       

      Leo

      zonykel


        Jimmy, Good stuff. I've read elsewhere that we're all an experiment of one. Tinkering with your methods and going beyond what's written is great.

         

        Here are some comments:

         

        - Heart time, as you call it, appears to be a threshold, or wall of some sort. You've ruled out dehydration. Have you considered glycogen depletion?

         

        - Noakes thinks there is a central governor (the brain) that sets thresholds to protect itself and the heart. Breaking through those thresholds while safely preserving the brain and the heart is the tricky part. Noakes mentions that in the old days, marathoners walked a lot as part of their training. The idea is that extra time on your feet gets your brain used to handle longer periods of training. I'm not a big fan of the idea, as it's too time-consuming.

         

        -An idea worth incorporating is the Galloway method, where you introduce walking periods at set distances. For example, run a mile, walk a minute, and repeat. Your pace will be slower, but I'm guessing "heart time" will be pushed to a later stage.

         

        - You mentioned stress as a huge factor, and it makes sense. I would take into account sleep and temperature as factors for me. You may be susceptible to other stressors as well. 

         

        - As a side comment, I read the Daniels book as well and found it interesting that he set a limit of the long run at 2.5 hours. That alone convinced me to stick to half marathons and below. Training at MAF or any other easy pace makes long runs take quite a bit of time. I'm thinking it'll be a year or two before I start training for a marathon.

         

        Modified to correct formatting.

        jimmyb


        port-a-bella-potty

          Jimmy, Good stuff. I've read elsewhere that we're all an experiment of one. Tinkering with your methods and going beyond what's written is great. Here are some comments: - Heart time, as you call it, appears to be a threshold, or wall of some sort. You've ruled out dehydration. Have you considered glycogen depletion? - Noakes thinks there is a central governor (the brain) that sets thresholds to protect itself and the heart. Breaking through those thresholds while safely preserving the brain and the heart is the tricky part. Noakes mentions that in the old days, marathoners walked a lot as part of their training. The idea is that extra time on your feet gets your brain used to handle longer periods of training. I'm not a big fan of the idea, as it's too time-consuming. -An idea worth incorporating is the Galloway method, where you introduce walking periods at set distances. For example, run a mile, walk a minute, and repeat. Your pace will be slower, but I'm guessing "heart time" will be pushed to a later stage. - You mentioned stress as a huge factor, and it makes sense. I would take into account sleep and temperature as factors for me. You may be susceptible to other stressors as well. - As a side comment, I read the Daniels book as well and found it interesting that he set a limit of the long run at 2.5 hours. That alone convinced me to stick to half marathons and below. Training at MAF or any other easy pace makes long runs take quite a bit of time. I'm thinking it'll be a year or two before I start training for a marathon.

           

          Thanks, Zonk and Shondek.

           

          Glycogen depletion comes into play in 2+hours (part of the mission of a long run is to deplete (not fully) glycogen, to get an adaptive response from the body to store more). But in times of aerobic deficiency, OT, coming off stressful periods, or times of low fitness after long periods off, I can see this spike in runs of an hour or less. I haven't proven what it is, and I state that, but i know for sure that the body is stressing at that point. It's clear in the heart rate.

           

          I did have the thought that it could be the anaerobic system kicking in, mirroring that steep rise you see in an RQ test after the MAF point.

           

          The main thing that I am showing is that by following this protocol of stopping at that point, I have progressed rather quickly, even if the volume was low (or lower than it would be if I was forcing a schedule). When I got back after that first strssful period in July, I was fried like never before.

          My first heart time run was 15+ minutes in that first MAF mile! That's just a few weeks after it being 10:16. Amazing what that stress did. Equally amazing was how quickly I bounced back. Normally it would take 4-5+ months to come back like that. I came back to the low 10:00's in just 1.5 months. Think "optimum aerobic stimulus without  getting to the point where the body is releasing excessive stress hormones".

           

          The 2.5 hours Daniels sugest has some scientific backing. There has been at least one study that showed there was little aerobic development beyond that duration. The optimum time was 2 hours of aerobic work.

           

          Your choice to just do half marathons is interesting. When you think about the fact that a 2 hour run at a particular intensity has the same training effect for both an elite and a slow amateur, even though the mileage is different, then it's not a big leap to think that marathon for an elite is not the same race as a marathon for a runner who takes 4 hours or more (e.g.). The impact would be greater on the 4 hour+ marathoner. In essence, the only way to make it the same race is to have it be a race with a duration, like the 6 day or 24 hour races that exist. A marathon would be a 2 hour race for example. An elite could cover about 25 miles in that time, while a slow amateur might be able to do 12 miles. Same race and impact. Maybe. Just a thought exercise.

           

          --Jimmy

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          zonykel


             

            The 2.5 hours Daniels sugest has some scientific backing. There has been at least one study that showed there was little aerobic development beyond that duration. The optimum time was 2 hours of aerobic work.

             

            Your choice to just do half marathons is interesting. When you think about the fact that a 2 hour run at a particular intensity has the same training effect for both an elite and a slow amateur, even though the mileage is different, then it's not a big leap to think that marathon for an elite is not the same race as a marathon for a runner who takes 4 hours or more (e.g.). The impact would be greater on the 4 hour+ marathoner. In essence, the only way to make it the same race is to have it be a race with a duration, like the 6 day or 24 hour races that exist. A marathon would be a 2 hour race for example. An elite could cover about 25 miles in that time, while a slow amateur might be able to do 12 miles. Same race and impact. Maybe. Just a thought exercise.

             

            --Jimmy

             I think that was exactly Daniels' point regarding stress for a slower runner compared to a faster one. He developed a point system so you're not just looking strictly at miles, but consider time and intensity.

             

            However, I thought Daniels was weak in his explanation of why he didn't provide half marathon plans in his book. He provided guidance for the elite runners (treat the half marathon as a 10K and hang in there for the distance) and the non-elite (think of yourself as an elite marathoner in terms of finishing time, do some long runs in the 2 to 2.5 hour range, do some LT work, get the appropriate mileage and presto!).

             

            Considering that the half marathon is the fastest growing race type, I think Daniels should have reconsidered providing some half marathon plans.  

            Tennesotans


              Count me in!

               

              I have a long run planned for Sunday... I'm dealing with a gimpy lower back so my test

              may end early, but this sounds like a bunch of fun Smile

               

              Thanks (I kept seeing "heart time" on your postings... I was baffled).

                Very interesting post. I see the same rapid falloff, initially after about 30 or 40mins, now maybe an hour. I had to take walk breaks to stay at Maf. I'm currently in an anaerobic phase, so I have switched to doing tempo pace once I struggle to hold Maf. Once I go back to aerobic in a few weeks, im going to give heart time a try. Just better remember not to stray to far on the run !

                  Heart Time Running Experiment

                  by JimmyB

                   

                  I noticed that when running in any heart rate zone or at any heart rate, there came a time in the run where the HR began to rise on a steep incline at the same HR, or conversely, pace at the same HR would slow dramatically. Depending on my fitness at the time, it could take 40 minutes to get to that point, or it could take two hours or more. But it always came. Once that point is reached, the run becomes about struggling to keep the HR down, or not to walk, or whatever. It just becomes like beating a dead armadillo.This dramatic slowing comes whether I am hydrated or not.

                   

                   

                  we talked about this before but I didn't realize that after this point you had a very hard time to keep the HR down. I've never had that kind of problem, worst case I'd have to slow down but could still keep HR down if I wanted to.

                   

                  though, when I once did a 3 hr long run then sometime after 2 hours I did get lazy and allowed myself a 2 bpm higher HR. Smile (but I could still have been fine at a 2bpm lower HR and it wasn't dramatic slowing either.)

                   

                  other than that, in my case this point where HR would go up 2-3 beats at once would typically be about after 1.5 hours if going at a slow pace

                  jimmyb


                  port-a-bella-potty

                    we talked about this before but I didn't realize that after this point you had a very hard time to keep the HR down. I've never had that kind of problem, worst case I'd have to slow down but could still keep HR down if I wanted to.

                     

                    though, when I once did a 3 hr long run then sometime after 2 hours I did get lazy and allowed myself a 2 bpm higher HR. Smile (but I could still have been fine at a 2bpm lower HR and it wasn't dramatic slowing either.)

                     

                    other than that, in my case this point where HR would go up 2-3 beats at once would typically be about after 1.5 hours if going at a slow pace

                     

                    I can keep the heart rate down, but the pace drops steeply, and keeps dropping. Monitoring and slowing becomes the full focus. "Struggle" would be hyperbole.

                     

                    As you get more aerobically fit, not only does the drift rate lessen, but that spike gets pushed further back. The duration of the run in the same heart time gets longer. Just in my recent base phase my runs in the same heart time have lengthened from about 43:00 to a peak of 1:17:00 in about 6 weeks. Theoretically, it should keep getting pushed back further and further until it exceeds a run of  (e.g.) 2.5 hours.

                    --Jimmy

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                    Shondek


                      Very interesting post. I see the same rapid falloff, initially after about 30 or 40mins, now maybe an hour. I had to take walk breaks to stay at Maf. I'm currently in an anaerobic phase, so I have switched to doing tempo pace once I struggle to hold Maf. Once I go back to aerobic in a few weeks, im going to give heart time a try. Just better remember not to stray to far on the run !

                       Hi Sean I wonder if you could clarify the above for me does this mean you are doing anaerobic runs all the time at present with no aerobic runs?

                       

                      Many thanks

                       

                      Leo

                      Shondek


                        I had an interesting Maf session on the treadmill yesterday 30 mins to maf -20 .a few weeks ago i was jogging at maf 13min 38pace .This time it was varying from 12 50 to 320...except if I wanted to keep it at maf and under I had to walk at this pace.I kept it at maf for 45 minutes.Stopped at that point so not sure when it would rise but my conclusion is that anything on the treadmill at the moment is walking 13 15 pace isnt fast enough for running and keeping it under maf while walking is.

                        This mornings run was my best run so far Garmins server is down so I'm just typing my times real time as I look at the .This is a 2 hour run at 350am my body clock is still in summer time.Waliking 1st and last 15 mins.Maf 124

                         

                        Mile 1.......15:19..............95 bpm

                        Mile 2.......13:09........... 112

                        Mile 3........13:23.......... 120

                        Mile 4........13:20.......... 119

                        Mile 5........12:50...........121.....MY FIRST EVER SUB 13  @ 121!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        Mile 6........13:26...........118

                        Mile 7........13:16...........118

                        Mile 8........13:58...........113

                        0.71m........11:25............99..walking

                         

                        Glad it wasnt a 20 !!

                         

                        Hope this helps

                        jimmyb


                        port-a-bella-potty

                          I had an interesting Maf session on the treadmill yesterday 30 mins to maf -20 .a few weeks ago i was jogging at maf 13min 38pace .This time it was varying from 12 50 to 320...except if I wanted to keep it at maf and under I had to walk at this pace.I kept it at maf for 45 minutes.Stopped at that point so not sure when it would rise but my conclusion is that anything on the treadmill at the moment is walking 13 15 pace isnt fast enough for running and keeping it under maf while walking is.

                          This mornings run was my best run so far Garmins server is down so I'm just typing my times real time as I look at the .This is a 2 hour run at 350am my body clock is still in summer time.Waliking 1st and last 15 mins.Maf 124

                           

                          Mile 1.......15:19..............95 bpm

                          Mile 2.......13:09........... 112

                          Mile 3........13:23.......... 120

                          Mile 4........13:20.......... 119

                          Mile 5........12:50...........121.....MY FIRST EVER SUB 13  @ 121!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Mile 6........13:26...........118

                          Mile 7........13:16...........118

                          Mile 8........13:58...........113

                          0.71m........11:25............99..walking

                           

                          Glad it wasnt a 20 !!

                           

                          Hope this helps

                           

                          How does this post relate to my heart time article?

                           

                           

                          And congrats on the sub13 split! Love those little steps forward. Cool

                          --JImmy

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                          Shondek


                            How does this post relate to my heart time article?

                             

                             

                            And congrats on the sub13 split! Love those little steps forward. Cool

                            --JImmy

                             A million apologies  I thought the point of this was to find where and when the drift occurred and we would all find out what our longest run should be.I had a 2 hour run but garmin site wasnt working so it was a case of taking readings from watch and posting them.There was no intention of showing any disrespect to this post...Where did It all  go wrong Jimmyb?

                            jimmyb


                            port-a-bella-potty

                               A million apologies  I thought the point of this was to find where and when the drift occurred and we would all find out what our longest run should be.I had a 2 hour run but garmin site wasnt working so it was a case of taking readings from watch and posting them.There was no intention of showing any disrespect to this post...Where did It all  go wrong Jimmyb?

                               

                              Never said you dissed the thread, or you went wrong. I just didn't know how your post related--I didn't understand exactly what you were trying to say or point out. So I asked. No need for one million apologies. Cool LOL  (all I can see in my mind is Dr. Evil saying "I want one MILLION apologies." That would take a long time. Okay, go: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."

                               

                              So what were you trying to point out with your post and how did it relate to heart time running?

                               

                              --Jimmy

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                              jimmyb


                              port-a-bella-potty

                                In today's heart time run, you can clearly

                                see the stress point. Came quickly today.

                                Hot and humid and sunny. The spike or slowing came

                                on flat land. Relatively flat course.

                                 

                                3:41  101

                                3:24  108

                                3:21  111

                                3:22  113

                                3:28  114  *base speed

                                3:03 123

                                3:08 128

                                2:54  130

                                2:55  130

                                3:00 130

                                3:08 130

                                3:13  130

                                3:13  130

                                3:12  130

                                3:35  130 *spike

                                 

                                --Jimmy

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