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Cross-Training HR vs. Running HR (Read 1407 times)

    So I'm currently making my way slowly through C25K (actually I'm on my third repeat of Week 6, still can't quite get the hang of this damn 25 minute run). Anywho, last night at the gym the TMs were full so I figured I'd cross train instead. I did 15 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes on the bike, both at challenging levels. My legs were definitely feeling the burn (and I hardly ever feel muscle burn when running). But here's the thing that made me wonder....my HR was a LOT lower than while running. I'm 26, so my max HR by the 220-age route is 194. While running it is about 175, and slowing my pace does very little to lower it (and actually, while it sounds high, it's a huge improvement over my previous attempts at running which would skyrocket it very close to the max). By contrast, my avg HR last night between the two machines was 129 with a max of 152. So my heart wasn't working as hard, leading me to question whether this cross-training thing is really doing anything for me in terms of aerobic conditioning for running, yet my muscles were definitely being worked harder/differently than running. I also swim once a week or so for cross-training and have to really struggle to get my HR above 150. Does anyone else find this is the case? I know that running affects my HR more than any other sport I've done, with the possible exception of spinning, so maybe it's a good thing to cross train at a lower HR, but I want to make sure I'm pushing myself hard enough on my cross train days.
    2009 Goals:
    PR 5K (Ha, current 43:10)
    Run a 10K
    Meet Seasonal Weight Loss Challenges
    Complete my first Sprint Tri


    I've got a fever...

      Your max HR for most crosstraining exercises will be lower than for running, mainly because you're not having to move your body against gravity the way you do when you run. So, aerobically, cross-training isn't quite as effective as running. But it's a good change of pace, and like you said, it does work the muscles well. Nothing beats running for runners, but I think you're wise to mix in some cross-training. My bigger concern is your heart rate running, or rather, your training pace. Now granted, 220-age is an approximation, and your true max could be higher or lower than that. But let's assume that it's correct. You said you typically are at 175bpm when you run. 175/194=90.2% of max. That's way to high for everyday easy running. Most of your runs (and this applies to people of all experience levels) should be easy runs at 80% of maxHR range or below. Now I know you said that slowing your pace doesn't do much to lower your HR, but I'd really focus on trying to get down below 80%. In the easy zone, you should still be able to sustain a conversation. In running, particularly when you're just starting out, you'll get much more benefit out of running more, than running faster. It's not that quantity over quality -- in running, quantity is quality. You'll see this mantra repeated a lot on this site, but I'll repeat it again: Running slower allows you to run more (w/o injury) Running more will allow you to get faster.

      On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.


      TRIing to beat the heat!

        In running, particularly when you're just starting out, you'll get much more benefit out of running more, than running faster. It's not that quantity over quality -- in running, quantity is quality. You'll see this mantra repeated a lot on this site, but I'll repeat it again: Running slower allows you to run more (w/o injury) Running more will allow you to get faster.
        Yep... I'll repeat it right now. Wink JennerVT, I'm a C25K grad myself and when I look back on my training during C25K I realize that I was running WAY too fast for basically the entire program. What ended up happening is that right around week 7, I started having a lot of pain in my right hip. This pain eventually forced me to take 3 weeks off from running entirely. When I returned, I slowed my pace significantly! I went from doing supposedly 'easy' C25K runs where my heartrate was is the 170's to truly easy runs where my heartrate stays in 130's for miles! And guess what happened? I was able to run farther and longer without injury AND I got faster despite the grueling heat and humidity of our FL summers. I know that it's difficult when you are first starting out to run slow... especially when you visit a great board like this and see veteran runners who maintain 7 min/mile training paces! Like Jeff said above... easy runs (which all of the C25K runs are) should be done at a conversable pace. Sing to yourself, talk to yourself... whatever it takes. Just make sure that you can hold a conversation with little effort. PRE (perceived rate of exertion) should be around a level 3 or 4. Now... about cross training. I compete in triathlons, so I obviously cross train with swimming and cycling. It takes A LOT for me to get my heartrate up on the bike or in the pool. In the pool, I have to sprint... hard anf fast. On the bike, I have to either be in a sprint OR climbing. Swimming and cycling just really work the body differently. As for indoor cycling, I find that I am completely unable to push myself on a stationary bike. For a cardio workout indoors, I resort to spin classes. If you won't be competing in tris, then in my opinion there is no need to "push" yourslef to your lactate threshold during your cross-training. Just stay aerobic... which would mean 70 to 80% of your max heart rate... and again, a conversable pace. Good luck to you!!!!

        2012 Goals

        Sub-1:42 for half marathon √ (1:41 at Disney, Jan '12)

        Sub-22 for 5k √ (21:51 in Sept '12)

        BQ for marathon- FAIL

          There's such a thing as easy running??? Haha, seriously though it doesn't matter if I'm running at 12:00 mm (my normal training pace) or 15:00 mm, my HR still gets to 175 at least. A few years ago when I would run a mile I'd hit my supposed max (220-age). I'd do the same in a very intense spinning class. I have read that a better predictor of your heart health is how quickly you recover to normal HR...in my case, 30 seconds after I've gone from a run to a leisurely walk to cool down, my HR drops back down at least 30 bpm. My training HR has actually gone down over the course of C25K so maybe by the time I finish my training HR will be down to 80%.
          2009 Goals:
          PR 5K (Ha, current 43:10)
          Run a 10K
          Meet Seasonal Weight Loss Challenges
          Complete my first Sprint Tri
          djtaylor


            You mentioned that your elliptical/bike HRs were calculated by the machines. How do you calculate your running HR? Do you use the treadmill hand sensor(s) or a chest strap? Before I purchased a Garmin, I used a cheapo Polar HR/watch combo that often registered >30bpm high due to any number of factors (electronic interference, cadence, moon cycles, etc.).


            De-slacking in progress

              recent C25K grad. I always ran at a pace that felt natural to me. However, I just started this past week to add mileage and found that of course I can't keep running at my normal 5K pace of about 9mm. But this is what I've always ran at, even through C25K. I tried slowing my pace down the other day on the first day of adding miles- I found that my HR is always in the 170 range (max heart rate that I've SEEN on me is 189(heart didn't explode or anything) the 220-46=174 so apparrently that rule didnt kill me) So to force me to slow myself down I set my HR watch to a range of 65%-80%. So now my watch has this very irratating beep that goes off constantly once my HR goes above 146. When it does that I slow down more. Over the last week I'm starting to get a better handle of a slower pace(+1-2 mm more) and the miles are much easier to do. This week, I will be hitting the 6 mile mark on one run for the first time. But running slower does kind of suck. It's against our nature, but I want to build a base without INJURY. The hardest part in keeping slowed down and my HR at the magical fat burning zone, is where I live in Ohio is the foothills of Appalachia. NOTHING BUT HILLS. (hills are good..... hills are good...) So I'm going up the hills slower. I've lost 2# this week keeping it in the zone. Didn't lose a pound during C25K - prob due to exceeding the zone. You smart guys and gals can look at my logs and see what you think. Hang in there- week one of C25K- couldn't run 30 secs- now I can run for 45min non stop.

              started running @ age 48 [lost 70#+, quit a 30 year pack/day habit>> ran HM]  Ran a few years then quit. Gained 70#+ back and smoking like before. Time to get healthy again @ 52 years over with the C25K program and beyond again. RE-start date 1-13-14

                I'm finally starting to clue in to what it feels like to slow down (just read that over and realize it sounds a bit weird, I'm not saying you aren't clued in just sort of bemoaning the fact that running for me was such a slog early on that I couldn't really get a feel for slow until recently). I'm adding a few 1 min walk breaks as needed to manage heart rate to keep it slow. I just had a magical 5K run. Ran really slow but felt strong and HR never went over 153. I was on a tread mill and when I first started running HR would be way over that after just a minute of running. I'm aiming to add more mileage so I will keep up with this goal of keeping it real slow so that I can get more miles in. Jenner could that HR monitor be off? Do you feel like your HR is that high or is it conversational for you. I would say that if you can't talk easily you could always do the distances you are after but add a walk break as needed. Just walking 1 min per K on a 5 K run makes the 5K a pleasure for me and I am left feeling like I could even run more or go without the breaks but I'm putting them in to try and let myself take it easier so that I can get the miles in since running more does seem to be making me feel fitter and the HR is still coming down more and more all the time. About the other cardio, I wouldn't worry about pushing it too hard if your HR is in that aerobic zone and if it is aerobic fitness you are after. Seems like at first, many suggest going long and slow for that. I'm doing other exercise (kettlebells) as interval training to hopefully get the extra fat after burning benefit from that since I need to lose a lot of weight.
                The Graduates - a community of post C25K runners!

                Started Running 21 April 2008

                2008 Running Goals
                • Finish C25K 22 Jun 2008
                • Run 5K 43:29 29 Jun 2008
                • Complete a 10K fun run
                  Jenner, You have a lot of work to get more aerobically fit. You HR skys because your Max V02 is low. Easy running pace for you should be a HR of about 130-140. Really try to slow a bit. You are improving but to run at a 175 HR will slow your aerobic process because you are pushing into anaerobic range at times. 90% of max HR is more like a hard tempo pace which for most of we would run longer than 20-25 minutes at this pace. I am also a believer in longer and a bit slower tempos more at around 85-87% of max HR. Also, my slowest runs are at a 125-130 HR. I can pound on a stationary bike and legs burning and only get my HR up to about 105. There is a difference. The Stairmaster while not holding onto rails is the only CV machine that can get my HR up to 130 without a burn.

                  Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                  Scout7


                  CPT Curmudgeon

                    Why are you worried about HR anyway?
                      I always run all my races based on HR, and its easy to figure your resting HR, you just lie in bed in the morning and breath easy and see how low it can go; however, you have to go for at least a 5 mile run to find your max heart rate, I just start running easy at a HR at about 120 and then after about 2 miles I run at 130 safely and easily bringing it up a bit. After a couple of miles I will increase it to 140 and then 150 and 160, if I see it going up with more effort then I continue to speed up, I never just go into an all out sprint till maybe the very end. You have to remember on a treadmill test, they bring it up gradually and in control. I might do this one time per week to make sure my results are clear and no drastic changes. You have to know your max heart rate, its probably more important than resting HR. I don't worry about different machines like EFX; the first 1/2 marathon I worked out exclusively on EFX at high HR's and was confident I was in shape, then at the race, everyone flew right by me. I now prefer to do only running and on days of rest will do weights more than other machines. I like cross country ski machines before the race also because x country skies have the highest VO2max's in the world and so your trying to boost your potential a month or two before race and its a little easier on the joints for some tapered recovery. Alsol, if I do EFX, stepper or bike, I only do them for recovery and never at high heart rate, I don't want to develope the wrong muscles, but I do want to stimulate them.
                        Also, my slowest runs are at a 125-130 HR.
                        I can genuinely say that if I followed this all the time I would never have started running. It wouldn't have been possible. I'm sure it will take us newbies longer to get to a point where the heart rate will come down and down as we keep up with it. I'm trying to run easier but running and a heart rate of 125 just don't happen at that same time for me, I'm feeling lucky with the 152! Wink Try to take it slow Jenner but if you are feeling good just keep it up and I think you will start to see it drop. One thing I would suggest is to make sure you aren't going any faster. As you build fitness you might find you can go faster with the same hr you are used to but instead of going for the fast I would suggest enjoy the lower heart rate. Even if you can, just hold back and go for distance and easy.
                        The Graduates - a community of post C25K runners!

                        Started Running 21 April 2008

                        2008 Running Goals
                        • Finish C25K 22 Jun 2008
                        • Run 5K 43:29 29 Jun 2008
                        • Complete a 10K fun run
                          Why are you worried about HR anyway?
                          Ignore him.