Low HR Training

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"case study" of a friend and questions! (Read 515 times)

    I have a good friend and this will be about him. (I'm writing instead of him as he does not speak english very well...)

     

    he's 31 years old, and when I took up running 1.5 years ago, that motivated him too to start exercise. exercise for him is mostly running and biking.

     

    he had been living a pretty sedentary life until then, just like me. (both of us were very sedentary for about a decade)

     

    we started from nearly the same bad shape (I was able to run one single 10-minute mile and then felt like dying. he would run the same pace for half a mile). let me also mention, he is not overweight per definition and has never been. 5'7"-5'8" tall and 150lbs

     

    now the weird thing is that he started exercise at the end of 2009, and he's still having problems with getting improvements in running (and biking I guess). we would like to figure out what it could be.

     

    we figured he should try easy runs at 145bpm, because he feels good at that HR and because it should be aerobic enough.

     

    he's trained through a few months and then another few months. (he had to skip last fall because of a knee problem)

     

    the problem is he is still hovering around 15-15:30min/mile pace at that HR... and if he tries running at anything higher than 150 then it feels pretty crappy and stressful for him so basically stuck with the 145. it is pretty obvious that past 150 it can't be that aerobic anymore. another HR info is that he can hold 170's-180's for ~40min race... and that would be about 12min/mile pace.

     

    (biking not much better than running.)

     

    there were some anaerobic runs too, that did not seem to do anything.

     

    hey, the fun thing is that he can outsprint me in 100m by about 2 seconds! Smile so muscle power is not a problem for him at all Cool 

     

    the question is what things you know of that can hinder aerobic improvement so much even as a beginner (I mean beginners usually improve faster than trained runners).

     

    I know stress can be a problem and he is somewhat stressed at the workplace at times but would it effect running this bad? this is another thing I'm not sure about?

     

    he's worried that he's sick with something... no, there isn't really any reason why he should be, just a worry of his because he's so bad at aerobic exercise.

     

    one thing I know he is probably not iron deficient, at least in his last blood test HGB was 15.5 so pretty good on that ground. (he did have severe iron deficiency 10 years ago but iron supplements cured that)

     

    some tips etc. would be welcome!

    jimmyb


    port-a-bella-potty

      Hi C,

       

      These could be some reasons why he is not improving:

       

      --life stress. You mentioned this. Believe me, it can hamper aerobic development more than almost anything. If it is the case, cutting volume by  a third or half might get him rolling.

       

      --he is below 180-age (149) at 145. There might be a chance his MAF should be either 144 or 139. Too much above his MAF can hamper progress.

       

      --a training load problem. Too much or too little.

       

      --could be a physical problem. Vitamin D deficiency (does he get any sun?).....

       

      --is he getting enough recovery? What is his training schedule like? Has he had a pure aerobic base period yet for 12-16 weeks or more?

       

      Try adjusting his volume one way or the other. I suggest that he try a hard/easy schedule with a long run every week based on time, along with 1 day off per week.

       

      --Jimmy

      Log    PRs

        the volume is 3-4 runs a week - sometimes 1 day of biking on top of that (not in winter), at a HR of 145. so he doesn't feel the volume is too high.

         

        the runs are between 40 and 60mins. the biking is anywhere between 1-3 hours each time.

         

        that 145 number was set when he was 30 years old last year.. 139, now who knows, maybe that could be it. maybe he should try your treadmill test Smile

         

        though that 139bpm would be slower than 16min/mile pace and he doesn't like that. (he doesn't like 15min/mile either..)

         

         

        edit: I suggested he try fast walking but he has trouble pushing the HR that high with walking on flat terrain.. so he doesn't feel it would be a lot of exercise.

         

        as for aerobic phase, he's been in that phase since january. (and some weeks last year, but not that long then)

         

        oh and about vitamin D, good suggestion, that was never checked. so that can cause this problem?

        jimmyb


        port-a-bella-potty

          the volume is 3-4 runs a week - sometimes 1 day of biking on top of that (not in winter), at a HR of 145. so he doesn't feel the volume is too high.

           

          the runs are between 40 and 60mins. the biking is anywhere between 1-3 hours each time.

           

          that 145 number was set when he was 30 years old last year.. 139, now who knows, maybe that could be it. maybe he should try your treadmill test Smile

           

          though that 139bpm would be slower than 16min/mile pace and he doesn't like that. (he doesn't like 15min/mile either..)

           

           

          edit: I suggested he try fast walking but he has trouble pushing the HR that high with walking on flat terrain.. so he doesn't feel it would be a lot of exercise.

           

          as for aerobic phase, he's been in that phase since january. (and some weeks last year, but not that long then)

           

          oh and about vitamin D, good suggestion, that was never checked. so that can cause this problem?

           

          I don't think I asked:

           

          He's at 15:30 at MAF, is that where he started?

           

          No improvement since January?

           


          If he is running 3-4 days a week for just 40-60 minutes, it might not be enough load. He might want to try adding a bit more time (easing into it) on his hard days. See if he can get up to 90-120 minutes on 2 runs, saving the 40 minute runs for an easy/recovery day.

           

          He could construct a hard/easy schedule (shejuhwool) like below, adding 5 minutes per week to the hard days until he maxes out at 90-120 minutes, always following with an easy day or rest.

           

          1) 60-90 minutes

          2) rest or 40 minutes (recovery)

          3) 60-120 minutes

          4) rest or 40 minutes (recovery)

          5) 60  minutes  (benchmark, MAF test run)

          6) bike 1-3 hours or run 60-90 minutes

          7) rest (recovery)

           

          Have one run that serves as the benchmark or MAF test (same course). Perhaps, the weekly 60 minute run.

          It is possible he came into exercise with an RQ in a real sorry state. Like one of those who are burning nearly 100% sugar at rest. I do believe people like this take a little longer to respond, especially if they are anaerobic in their runs at all (over what their MAF really is). It wouldn't hurt to go a little deeper into the aerobic zone, like a 140 BPM as a ceiling. Try to keep him on flat stuff for awhile, it's easy to go anaerobic on hills.

           

          Hopefully he can rule out any physical problem.

           

          Hope this helps a bit, C!

          --Jimmy

          Log    PRs

            yes, that's where he started pace wise (around 15:30).

             

            you have given some good suggestions, thanks. Smile

             

            it is certainly a possibility that his resting RQ is not great.. but even in that case, shouldn't some improvement still be possible to see after a few months? realistically, how much time is a "little longer" for such people with bad RQ?

             

            so far, as a sum-up he can try the following:

             

            1) running more
            2) lowering HR by 5bpm
            3) check vitamin D levels

            jimmyb


            port-a-bella-potty

              yes, that's where he started pace wise (around 15:30).

               

              you have given some good suggestions, thanks. Smile

               

              it is certainly a possibility that his resting RQ is not great.. but even in that case, shouldn't some improvement still be possible to see after a few months? realistically, how much time is a "little longer" for such people with bad RQ?

               

              so far, as a sum-up he can try the following:

               

              1) running more
              2) lowering HR by 5bpm
              3) check vitamin D levels

               

              I'm not sure how much of an impediment having a resting RQ of  e.g. 100% sugar is on a beginner--just how much it would stagnate improvement. You have to figure it would slow things down for awhile until you can get it to shift. I would think there would be a little improvement.

               

              Perhaps your friend has had some improvement. Is he training in warmer temperatures now? That could be masking some improvement. 15:30 in 4°C is not the same as 15:30 in 19°C. The latter is a much better performance than the former.

               

              If you think training load, you know that doing the same thing week in and out eventually isn't enough to see the great improvements. The body needs something to adapt to. Once it's adapted to 4 hours per week at a particular HR, it might need a bit more volume to keep improving. Increasing volume might do the trick. Always important to increase in small increments if you're a beginner.

               

              He'll figure it out.

               

              On vitamin D: there's some good info on Dr. Phil's website about it and athletic performance. As soon as I can, I begin to sunbathe for a brief time every day--not enough to burn--just 15 minutes a side. I notice my mood gets brighter, I feel more creative, and it appears to help my running somewhat. Apparently, we need more than just the amount to keep rickets away to maintain optimum health and performance.

               

              Give your friend my best wishes, and perhaps he could hang out here a bit with a translator of some kind. The Hungarian Posse. Cool

               

              --Jimmy

              Log    PRs

                yeah, temps are now like you said. so I guess that sounds good that he didn't slow with higher temps in the spring. Smile

                 

                we both thank you and I will let you know if higher volume/lower HR/etc helped my friend! Smile

                  seems like his paces started dropping now. with just a little volume increase. not much increase, but two things:

                   

                  1) he is making sure it is at least 4 workouts a week (before it  would often be just 3)

                  2) he is making sure he never goes past 144bpm even on the bike

                   

                  pace for his last run: around 14:30, woo hoo! he's never been inside 15 before.

                   

                  hopefully this will just get better!