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hectortrojan

I have been training for my first half marathon. Once a week I do long run in the range of 70-80% HRR. Four days a week I run @ 75% HRR. Once a week I do hard run in the range of 80-85% HRR. Length of these hard runs is 50 minutes. I am concerned if I would able to keep my heart rate in 80-85% range for entire race or not since I never tried running in this zone for more than 50 minutes.

day after day sameness

I don't know anything about heart rate (other than 0 is probably bad...), so can't help there.

I think most of the answer lies in a simple question of what's your goal for this first half marathon? Is to finish the distance?  Finish comfortably and get experience with the distance?  Run the farthest you have ever run?  Finish in a certain time?  (etc, etc)

Normally I'd be concerned that a 50 minutes steady hard (tempo) effort isn't long enough, and would suggest you stretch that out to something like 70% of the time you expect to race a few times before the half.  But if your miles are low and you're not routinely getting in 8 - 10 mile easy runs, I'd rather see you get as many 8-10-11 mile runs in as you can, rather than running hard.

I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...

Your concern is not clear. This is the idea of running by heart rate - you run and you try to keep your HR in a specific HR range - there should not be problem with that. You probably meant something different - I guess, you want to keep the same pace and your HR withing 80-85% range at the same time. That usually doesn't happen. In most of the cases when you trying to keep to the same pace the whole distance, the heart rate creeps up and up - the more miles you ran, the more it goes up.

Hector, most of the HR folks seem to like just using their % of max HR, rather than messing with the HRR number.  A lot of the folks here aren't big into HRMs at all.

When you say 80-85% HRR, that would be a big difference for me.  I'm pretty sure my lactic threshold is between those 2 %'s and once I cross that I am not going to able to keep it up more than an hour.  For me, 85% of my HRR is 90% of my Max HR and I couldn't hold that pace for a half marathon.  80% of my HRR is closer to 86% of my Max HR and I can hold that for a half marathon.

My average HR on my first marathon was 87% of my max HR.  I used 90% of Max HR as a danger zone and I planned to back off if my HR got up that high during the first half of the race.  Thankfully on race day it never did, I rocked along for the first 10 miles well under that and then pushed it in hard for those last 3 miles thinking of it as just a 5K to go.

Don't stress about it either way, race your plan and don't rely on your HRM except maybe as a danger warning type device if you get going to fast early on.  Analyze it after the race is over if you want.  Good Luck.

Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

How long do you expect your HM to take? 1hr? 2hr? longer?

The 80-85% HRR is close to LT range for most or about the effort one could maintain for 1hr when racing a 1-hr race. (npaden has already touched on this)  If you can maintain that for 50min in training, that's definitely a hard workout, assuming you've got accurate data for your HRmax (based on field test). For some (probably not posting here), that's the time it might take to race a HM but for others, that might only get them to 5-mi mark and for others, something in between. You might need to go out a little slower / easier. However, training at that effort provides lots of benefits. That may or may not be the appropriate effort for HM for you.

How did you arrive at that effort level for your race?

Once you determine what effort you want to race at, you might do some runs at that effort to be sure you know what your breathing feels like at that effort. I suspect somewhere between 75% HRR and 80% is where you may want to be near the start. If you feel good, speed it up after the half way point (assuming flat HM).

MTA: What field test or race did you use to estimate your HRmax so you know your HRR % are accurate? (Please tell us you didn't use age-based formulae, which can be waay off for individual predictions.)

"So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
hectortrojan

MilkTruck - My goal for HM is to finish it as fastest as I can. At this time in the training I am able to run HM distance during my long runs and I am thinking about race peace now.

Calbearsfan – I understand that if I run at the same pace, my HR will increase gradually.
My concern: I am doing my tempo run for 50 minutes. It is also the longest duration at 80-85% of HRR. It is my understanding that a runner should able to maintain tempo pace (HR in my case) during HM. Since I never ran more than 50 minutes at tempo peace (HR in my case), I am worried if I would be able to maintain that pace (HR in my case) during my whole HM (~2 hours) or not. I don’t want to start fast and burn out at 10 miles in the race.

Npaden – thanks for sharing your personal experience regarding HR. how did you figure that you can maintain 86% of your max HR during HM? So during the HM you start at 86% of your max HR and maintain it? I see that you kept 90% of your max as danger zone. What about minimum? Did you plan to run above certain HR?

AKTrail – I expect to run HM in around 2 hours. I believe got accurate data for max HR via field test. I arrived at that effort level for the race by reading http://mymarathonpace.com/Running_Calculators.html and other readings.

Training by heart rate is fine, but there is good evidence that optimal race performance will come from a constant pace (or very close), which will not typically be a constant heart rate (if you race at constant pace your heart rate will probably increase through the race).

The difficulty is knowing what the pace that you can maintain for 13 miles is. This comes from experience and from estimating from other race performances and training. If you have a recent race at another distance then use one of the many online predictors to get an estimate of your HM likely performance.

Hector, I was running at a target pace, just wanted to make sure I kept my HR below 90% until the last 3 or 4 miles of the race.

My max HR is 194 which I actually hit at the end of this race.  90% of max is 175 and that is right around what I think my lactic threshold is.  If I get to 175 I'm only going to be able to keep that up for 5 or 6 more miles TOPS (probably less than that).  Your lactic threshold may be higher or lower than 90% of your HR.  Think 10K pace for your lactic threshold (that's probably not accurate for faster runners, but I know you are shooting for a sub 2 hour HM so I think that should be close for you).

There is a BIG difference for me in perceived effort between a 170 HR and a 175 HR.  You can see that I rocked along from mile 2 to mile 7 around the same pace and avg HR.  Starting with mile 8 through mile 10 my HR started picking up with not much of an increase in pace, I think that just shows my fitness level at the time and past mile 8 it was becoming harder and harder to maintain that pace, although it was still under my 90% max and my lactic threshold.  At mile 11 I started picking up the pace and with the increase in pace and the fact that I'd been running for 10 miles already, my HR started to climb pretty good.  Mile 12 I didn't increase the pace much but my HR was still climbing, Mile 13 I could smell the finish line and picked up the pace again and my HR climbed even faster to the end when I hit my max HR.

Here's my splits with HR numbers (that last split pace is a little slow, I didn't turn off my phone until about 10 seconds after I crossed the finish)

  Type Distance              Duration Total Duration Pace Avg HR Max HR Splits (GPS Interval) 1 Manual 1 mi 9:03.55 9:03.55 9:04 158 170 2 Manual 1 mi 8:39.53 17:43.08 8:40 167 171 3 Manual 1 mi 8:54.21 26:37.29 8:55 166 171 4 Manual 1 mi 9:05.01 35:42.3 9:06 166 171 5 Manual 1 mi 8:53.34 44:35.64 8:54 165 170 6 Manual 1 mi 9:24.6 54:00.24 9:25 163 170 7 Manual 1 mi 8:54.22 1:02:54.46 8:55 166 171 8 Manual 1 mi 8:50.05 1:11:44.51 8:51 168 174 9 Manual 1 mi 8:55.51 1:20:40.02 8:56 171 176 10 Manual 1 mi 8:46.06 1:29:26.08 8:47 174 180 11 Manual 1 mi 8:30.51 1:37:56.59 8:31 177 182 12 Manual 1 mi 8:24.58 1:46:21.17 8:25 179 187 13 Manual 1 mi 7:43.04 1:54:04.21 7:44 184 190 14 Manual 0.24 mi 1:54.78 1:55:58.99 7:59 190 194

There is a fine line when figuring out your pacing on a HM.  If I had started out at an 8:45 pace, I think I would have crashed and burned, but I felt great and rocked along at a 9:00 pace for 9 miles and was feeling great.  That's why having a danger zone number in mind is important.  If you start out and hit that number on mile 3 you probably need to slow down a bit.  Weather is a BIG factor as well, and you need to adjust your expecations if it is warm on race day.

Oh well, that's my 2 cents.  Probably not worth that much though.

Nathan

Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

Training by heart rate is fine, but there is good evidence that optimal race performance will come from a constant pace (or very close), which will not typically be a constant heart rate (if you race at constant pace your heart rate will probably increase through the race).

The difficulty is knowing what the pace that you can maintain for 13 miles is. This comes from experience and from estimating from other race performances and training. If you have a recent race at another distance then use one of the many online predictors to get an estimate of your HM likely performance.

The constant pace advice only works for flat races. In general, you want to maintain a constant effort - or as close to that as you can - esp. if hills are involved. The split chart from the organizers of a marathon I've done have a 50% variation in pace. (In my races, I may go harder uphill because the hills are steep enough that I usually can't maintain effort on the downs with all that gravity assist. But paces will be much slower uphill and faster downhill, usually.)

I'll admit that I use breathing, rather than actual HR, as my guide when racing since I'm not looking at my watch, and HRM can be slow to respond to changes. My breathing usually correlates very highly with HR to the point where I can tell my HR within a bpm in certain zones, maybe not quite as good in easier zones. For me, RPE may increase without an increase in HR. IOW, it feels harder to maintain the same effort toward the end of a race. At least for me.

If the weather is warm, there may be some heart-rate drift, but if you start at the low end of the zone (say 81% HRR for OP) you're aiming for, you probably won't be much out of it in a HM (I wouldn't expect drift to take you up more than 5bpm, and by then you're pushing for the finish). (I'm usually training and racing in cooler temps, so rarely see this aspect. Maybe it's confounded by hills.)

"So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

Ditch the watch. Start out easy for the first 5 miles or so. When you feel the itch, run faster. Repeat until the end of the race.

You're not going to get the effort 100% right in your first race, so be a little conservative. That'll get you motivated for the next race.

Ditch the watch. Start out easy for the first 5 miles or so. When you feel the itch, run faster. Repeat until the end of the race.

You're not going to get the effort 100% right in your first race, so be a little conservative. That'll get you motivated for the next race.

Ran the best race of my life that way, in terms of performance and experience.

"If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

zonykel

How many miles per week are you running? Do you know your HR and / or pace at lactate threshold? That would be helpful for you to know.

FWIW, I ran a HM by pace recently, but noticed that my HR stayed around 86-89% of my HR-max.

ilanarama

Hi, Mom!

The difference is race effort and race adrenaline; you may only be running 50 minutes at 80-85% HRR, but the next day you're capable of running again, I would imagine.  I also don't typically train for longer than 50 minutes at a race effort HR, but I can put out a race of 1:40-ish.  Of course, afterward, I'm beat!

Looking at a recent half marathon, I pretty much flattened out at 87% HRR for the whole race after the first few miles (and not counting the very end).  And that was 1:38.  My tempo run efforts (also around 87%) were between 20 minutes and 40 minutes leading up to that race.  (But the tempos were embedded in longer runs, so my total time running was closer to 1:00-1:45.)

Ilana is awesome. She lives in a cool place, drinks good beer, and runs hard. She should start a fucking lifestyle blog for chicks. - NC Runner

PRs: 5K 21:03 (4/2012) 10K 43:06 (12/2011) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

Next up: Lakefront 10M 4/19 | bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org

hectortrojan

Npaden – thanks for posting your HM log. It helped. What is your average HR for most of your training runs (excluding speed related workouts)? My max HR is 196 and I run around 159 for most of my runs. Since your max HR is 194, I am curious to know your HR for most of your runs

AKTrail – I agree with you regarding elevation. Half the distance of the race that I am training for is on trails and other half is on the road. It also has good amount of elevation. I do my long runs on trails with good amount of elevation and as expected I see a huge difference in the pace based on elevation difference even though I am running at the same HR all the time. So I don’t think target pace is gonna work for me.

Jeff –yours is good and obvious advice. I agree that I am not going to get the effort 100% right and that is why I am asking questions here to run in a way that I can get the most effort.

Zonykel – I ran 40s miles per week. I don’t know my lactate threshold. Still haven’t done 30 minutes test to determine it.

Ilanarama – it makes sense that after 50 minutes of tempo run I am able to run next day, but I don’t need to worry about running next day after the race. Looking at your recent race performance, I would do something similar. Of course you did it in 1.40 and I want to finish in 2 hours so I need to adjust that. Maybe I will run easy for first 6 miles and then would go 82-85% HRR for next 7.

Hector, you should be able to click on my log and look at my workouts if you want.  I generally am running 4 easy runs a week and my avg HR is around 140 - 145 on those.  I went through a 3 month period during the summer where I tried to keep all my running easy and my target HR on those runs was 136.  I'm running some intervals and Marathon Pace runs right now and on those my avg HR is around 160, but that includes the warmup and cool down and the recoveries on the intervals.  Last night I hit 182 on the last set of my intervals.  The Hansons Plan has me doing my long run at a 9:30 pace which they consider moderate based on my goal marathon time.  I usually end up averaging around 150 on that run.

If I was going to go out on a limb and guess I would say that you might be running your easy runs too fast if a normal run has you at 159, that would be a higher effort run for me.  Of course everyone is different and I am by no means an expert.  Just sharing my personal experience.  That is also assuming your real max HR is 196.  Did you mention how you calculated that?  Using your HRM and running some all out sprints after you had already done a workout?  When I first calculated my Max HR I thought it was 187, then I ended up exceeding that in a couple races and adjusted it up based on those.

The only way to really figure it out is to race IMO.  Some folks just get more of a boost on race day and can run through the pain better.  Some days are just going to be good days and some days are not going to be.  Just hope you have a good day on race day!

Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

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