Low HR Training

1

Is this setback normal? Beginner Low HR runner in need for encouragement ;-) (Read 779 times)

    I (re)started running about six weeks ago, and it was at the end of January that I have trained at a low heart rate. 

    I'm 49, so I tried to keep my HR below 126 (180 - age - 5).  (I know my logs calls my workouts 'below 130 bpm, but that's because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it consistently below 126, although I'm seriously trying to.  My average HR is usually around 122-123 bpm for the total duration of the workout.)

     

    I thought it went fine, and allthough my running pace was slow (slower than my brisk walking pace), I enjoyed my runs.

     

    But last saturday  I couldn't keep my HR low while running (even during my walking warmup, it when over 127), so at last I decided to walk, and even then it was difficult to keep my HR below MAF.

    I just thought it was due to circumstances: I was running in the morning, while I usually feel better when walking in the afternoon or in the evening, and I was sure that today all would be fine.

     

    And indeed, during my warm-up walk my HR stayed comfortably below 115, and during my walk-breaks later, it rapidly returned to a range below 120.  And although I found a running pace that enabled me to keep my HR below MAF, it seemed very slow...

     

    And after I came home, it indeed  turned out to be very, very slow... My average pace for this run was 11:18 per Km (about 18 min/mi), which really is slower than my pace before.  Only thing positive: my average HR was lower than during previous runs, at 118 bpm.

     

    Is 126 bpm still to high, and should I slow down even more?  Or can this be due just to the fact that I slept bad, very, very bad last night?  (My restHR and Beat-by-beat variability were about the same as in the previous weeks this morning...)

    Running in Belgium
    Ann

     

     

     

    jimmyb


    port-a-bella-potty

      Hi Ann,

       

      Think long term. And over that long term, there are going be variations form day to day, week to week, in how your body will respond to any particular workout ton a given day. The heart rate monitor is really a stress monitor. If you wake up one morning and your resting heart rate is 75 beats per minute, when it is usually 65 beats per minute, that means your body is under stress. Now this stress could be many things. It could be dehydration, your body could be fighting a virus, your body could need recovery from a hard workout, etc. Your resting heart rate might be fine, but when you run on a particular day, your heart rate seems higher at the same intensity. This could be many things, but the HRM doesn't lie (if working properly, of course). It is telling you what kind of stress your body under on that day. It could be that the relative humidity is 80% that day, when you've been running in 50% humidity---that can make a huge difference in the total stress on your body. It could be that you need more recovery. The wind speed and direction could be different. WHen the sun is shining, it's harder on the body than when it's dark, or overcast.

       

      I have also seen that when someone starts MAF training, there will be a slight regression at the start. I believe this is due to exhausted slow twitch fibers. Some runners will feel sore. I experienced soreness and slight regression when I started, and have just starting a walking program.  But it usually bounces back just as quickly.

       

      Don't be concerned with regression in the short term. Just keep at it. If your speed at the same heart rate continues to regress, let's say over a month's time, then an adjustment might be necessary.

       

      During a period last year,  for the fun of it, I structured my runs in way that made them all MAF tests (using heart time). Most of the runs were on the treadmill. I was coming back from some mind-blowing stress, and essentially had to start over, twice. CLICK HERE, and you will see my MAF test log. Look at the periods between 7/25/11 thru 9/8/11, and 9/10/11 thru 11/29/11. You will see an overall progression back to health and fitness, BUT the road there was up and down. Doing each run the same, using heart time, some days were short slow runs, other days were longer and faster.

       

      You will also see a regression coming into this year. I'll report on that later on in another thread, when I'm ready to do so.

       

      So, relax. Keep at it. It never to hurts to go to 180-age-10. And it nevers hurts to walk. 

       

      Be concerned if the regression keeps going after a certain point.  Anemia, vitamin D deficiency, overtraining, and heart problems have popped up in people over the years here in the heart-rate training forums. Often heart-rate trainers get help quicker as they see the problem sooner, because they are monitoring their heart rates on a regular basis.

       

      Take care, Ann.

       

      --Jimmy Cool

      Log    PRs

        Thank you Jimmy...

         

        I can't figure out yet which stress-factors might play a role.  On a professional and familial level, my life is rather stress-free at the moment. 
        I might look at my diet... Most people might consider it as very healthyl, but Maffetone might not aprove the amount of cereals we eat.  (All whole, at not much wheat. I bake our sourdough bread myself, and use fresh-ground whole rye-meal from the local mill. And we eat often whole rice, millet, quinoa...)

        I'm hesitating about trying Maffetone's two weeks test: I hear that many people loose weight, and I don't have any spare kilo's this moment ;-)... Yes, and maybe that's a stressfactor on it's own, allthough I'm not underweight.

         

        OK, we'll see...

        Next run I'll run in the evening, like most of my runs in the last weeks... and who knows...

        Running in Belgium
        Ann

         

         

         

        jimmyb


        port-a-bella-potty

          Thank you Jimmy...

           

          I can't figure out yet which stress-factors might play a role.  On a professional and familial level, my life is rather stress-free at the moment. 
          I might look at my diet... Most people might consider it as very healthyl, but Maffetone might not aprove the amount of cereals we eat.  (All whole, at not much wheat. I bake our sourdough bread myself, and use fresh-ground whole rye-meal from the local mill. And we eat often whole rice, millet, quinoa...)

          I'm hesitating about trying Maffetone's two weeks test: I hear that many people loose weight, and I don't have any spare kilo's this moment ;-)... Yes, and maybe that's a stressfactor on it's own, allthough I'm not underweight.

           

          OK, we'll see...

          Next run I'll run in the evening, like most of my runs in the last weeks... and who knows...

           

          You're welcome. 

          The heart of my post was "don't worry about it" until you need to worry about it (going on too long). 

          It's normal for your heart rate and performance at the same heart rate to vary from day to day.

           

          --Jimmy Cool

          Log    PRs

            Ann, I second what Jimmy says abour the long term vs. short-term.  I have been on the MAF program for almost 4 months.  I still struggle with comparing one day to the next and wondering why the difference.

             

            This morning I ran 6 miles in Phoenix while travelling.  Average pace 10:25.  Tonight when I got back home to Dallas I took my dog for a run.  12:00 pace for 5 miles.  Both runs were at MAF of 125.  My body was tired tonight from previous run this morning, work  and travel and my pace showed it.  Also it was 75 degree in Dallas and humid. 

             

            I am realizing from Jimmy and others that whatever your body gives you on a particular day is what you get.  Take it and get ready for the next day.

             

            On the two week test, my health and pace improved when I changed my diet because of the two week test.  I highly recommend.  I think you will only lose weight if you had bad habits before.  I did!  It is not a calorie restriction period, just type of food eaten.

            ___________

            Chris

              @crmilt: Thank you for sharing your experiences...

               

              During my previous run (that came after the ones I mentioned in my first post), everything went really smooth...

              I was able to run continuously for 30 minutes, without having to go back to walking.  And it was after that run that I realized that my 'decreasing' pace was partially due to the ability to run longer.  I know it sounds weird, but at this moment my running pace is slower than my walking pace when I stay under MAF, hence: a higher percentage of running minutes means a lower overall pace for my run...

               

              But I have another question: until now, I only ran 3 times a week.  When I (re)started running in the past, I really felt I needed that day of rest, but this time, I would like to run more, and at at least one short run a week to my scheme.

              On the other hand: I do not want to risk to overdo, don't want to do too much too soon...

              Oh no... in reality I think I'm not really asking for advice her(e... I'm afraid that, despite what I said about not doing too much too soon, I have already decided to add one 'run' (30 minutes, warmup and cool down included).  I keep an eye on my resting HR, and the Beat-by-beat variability, and at the slightest sign that I feel tired, I come back to 3 runs a week.

               

              (Our son is a bad with a nasty flu'... In previous years I always got infected after him.  Hope I won't be sick in a few days....)

              Running in Belgium
              Ann

               

               

               

                It seems to me that if you are running at a slower pace then walking, adding a day or two extra running days should not hurt at all. as long as you are just base building with MAF and lower workouts, go ahead and add some extra running. Keep checking your resting HR for signs of fatigue and if you haven't already, start doing a MAF test every two weeks.

                 

                For me, anything around MAF (140 for me) I consider an active recovery effort run. I could run, and have run everyday for over a month. I had a 38 day run streak going and broke it because I just thought a rest day was in order. I could have kept it going but didn't want to become a slave to the streak.

                 

                The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

                 

                2014 Goals:

                 

                Stay healthy

                Enjoy life

                 

                kfmfe04


                  I agree with Burnt Toast.

                   

                  Somewhere in the huge archive of posts on CoolRunning's forums, I remember reading consistently that a large base is extremely helpful.  So when I set out to do Maffetone, I told myself that I will do whatever I can to put in the hours to make this work, even if it means going slower.

                   

                  In the first few days, I would wog just below MAF (138 for me), getting used to my HRM.  Over time, I found that I was able to go at the same slow pace starting with MAF-5 or MAF-10.  I count that as progress.  On one of my wogs, I started picking up my pace (8:17 min per km vs avg of 9:01 min per km in the week previous), but I felt uncomfortable after that wog.  I was nowhere near injury, but I just didn't feel like I wanted to do another 5k wog immediately afterwards, like I usually do.

                   

                  For me, that is a red flag and I immediately cut back to MAF-15 and MAF-20 the next couple of days.  My pace slowed a little, but not too much (down to 8:33 mpk and 8:28 mpk), so I still felt I made progress.  More importantly, I felt very comfortable after cutting back, like I didn't have a workout at all - I like that feeling.

                   

                  IMHO, there is no problem at all going slower than MAF.  Note that even Mark Allen says he trains at 80-100% MAF (80% of 126 is 100).  You will see Jessie mention that oftentimes, a slower pace allows him to progress more quickly.  YMMV, but my brief experience with this definitely confirms his observations.

                   

                  Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking: it's less stressful on the body than jogging in slow-mo.  The latter also results in bad form.  So I wog instead (walk with seconds of impulses of jogging - kind of like mini-intervals all under MAF).

                   

                  When I first started, it seemed like I was walking 80% and briefly impulse jogging around 20%.  In about a week, I have gotten to 50/50, while cutting down on my hr.  What appears to be critical, as mentioned by Burnt Toast, is the volume of training (in terms of time - don't worry about distance: distance will work itself out).  In this area, I am just playing it safe and put in as much time as I can.  For a point of reference, in my first week, I put in 9h30m, not counting 20m warmup and 15m cooldown for each wog.  I intend to put in 7-10h a week.

                   

                  - Ken

                  Age:42, MAF:138, 168cm/5'6", 62.2kg/137lb (from 73kg/161lb), BF: 14.9%

                  Goals:  MAF10k@56:50, 59kg/130lb (32 days to go)

                  Stage: Trying to get back to MAF Base Building after muscle strain injury

                  My Training Log