Heart Rate Zones / Strava Relative Effort (Read 30 times)


    Trying to keep this short!

    I have been training pretty hard the last several weeks and I have seen some pretty significant changes in my heart rate. Ultimately I am wondering if I should be adjusting my heart rate zones in Strava or Garmin Connect (I have a Fenix 7).

    The main issue I am seeing is that I will be doing pretty large efforts, however, according to Strava the relative effort is very minor. For example, last week I did a 30km run. Average pace of 5:30/km, my average heart rate was 145. So according to Strava, the "relative effort" was only 89, which basically meant I saw no "fitness increase" (I was wearing an HRM pro).

    I don't really think the solution is that I should be running harder to increase my heart rate? My legs definitely felt the workout, but according to my apps it was basically nothing.

    I know these apps are imperfect, but it's all I have and I'm training enough at this stage where I would really like to have things dialed in.

    As another example, I did a "12km Easy run" at 5:17/average yesterday and my average HR was 147, Strava gave this a "relative effort" of 63, meaning my "Fitness Level" (currently 137) decreased by one for the day.

    So questions are:

    -Should I be adjusting my heart rate zones?
    -Should I be pushing harder on these easier/slower runs to bring my heart rate up more?
    -Are there other metrics I should be looking at?

    Much appreciated, hopefully this kicks off some discussion (and not just that you can't trust the apps)!


    Current heart rate zones are:

    Z1 0-116 | Z2 116-153 | Z3 153-172 | Z4 172-191 | Z5 > 191

      A couple of observations.


      Did you actually measure your maximum heart rate, or was it calculated from an app?  If it was calculated from an app, there is a 90% chance that it is wrong, and a 50% chance that it is completely bogus.  My own maximum heart rate was 184 on a medical clinic treadmill at age 51.  Check those numbers against your app.  The ONLY correct way to find your maximum heart rate, and thus the zones, is through a test.  It's a brutal test that should be done on an empty stomach.


      Easy runs are supposed to be easy.  I once ran with an elite runner when he was on an easy run.  His pace was 12 MPM (7:27/km).


      If you are really serious about getting the best possible benefit from your training, the best book available is The Lore of Running, by Tim Noakes.  All of the well known running books are a subset of that book.



        "meaning my "Fitness Level" (currently 137) decreased by one for the day."


        Don't worry about any single run. What you want to look at is trends and results over a period. One run can be messed up by a bad night of sleep, weather, fighting off a bug, being under hydrated.


        No one here can tell you what to do based on the stats of two runs. If you want better advice to dial in your training, then we need to know what you are doing --- how many runs per week, overall mileage per week, are you doing mostly easy runs, are you doing speedwork, are you training for a specific race/distance. Ultimately what are you trying to do?

        Half Fanatic #9292. 

        Game Admin for RA Running Game 2023.