Low HR Training


You guys should be so proud! (Read 356 times)

    Well, I did it. Or at least I tried I can see that this is going to have to be something I work at. Wink I started out and consistently kept my HR ~148. Whenever I checked it was between 144 and 150. During the last half, though, my body kept trying to go faster. I'd zone out and then suddenly find myself at my normal 162ish. Which actually brings me to the question that was circling through my brain this morning: Using the low HR method, do you find it hard to run negative splits? In all of my running, I end with a higher HR than I start with. I can start easily and will be naturally higher by the end even when sustaining the same pace, just because at that point I've been running XX number of minutes. It's hotter out, my body is fatiigued, etc. So how do you successfully run the second half faster if you're constantly trying to stay at a specific HR? At this point in my training I've found that if I do that then I will be running slower at the end, not faster.
    "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' " - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian


      Well, if you're staying up at the upper end of the MAF zone in your training runs, your splits will always be positive because your heart rate will climb slightly throughout the run. In a race, however, you won't be running at MAF (unless you so choose to be that conservative), so whether you run positive, even, or negative splits, is based on your race strategy. I tend to run slightly positive splits in most races unless I'm being conservative, in which case, the last several miles will be faster. After the 35 ultras and marathons I've run in the past 3 years, I've learned that unless I'm running slightly positive splits, I will have lost some time in the beginning and my overall time will be a few minutes slower. If you run even level of effort, your splits will slightly slow down and in a marathon or longer race, if you kick it in at the end, it may not be enough to make up for the heart rate drift that occurred during the race. Nonetheless, racing strategy is really a personal preference thing and not much to do with whether you are following this type of training. As a side note, if you want negative splits in your training runs and you want to follow this approach, you'll have to target a lower heart rate for the first 50-75% (or whatever) of your run. Ok, so that's obvious.

      Wasatch Speedgoat

        I'll give you one example of a race I ran with and without a HRM and you tell me what you think... The race is a 50 miler down in Virginia called the Mountain Masochist 50 mile trail run. It is known to be more like 53 miles because David Horton is the RD. My best on this course is around 9:06, run several years ago. I ran this based on feeland I felt like crap when I finished with nausea and vomiting. A couple of years later after training using a HRM and the low HR method, I ran this race and worked at keeping my HR at or below 70% MHR (150). I felt fantastic throughout and ran negative splits....BUT my time was 1 hour and 20 minutes slower! So what it basically was, was a good training run for me because i followed the ticking of my heart and let all my fellow competitors run away from me in the first 5 miles. I think looking back I should have allowed myself to get up closer to 80% MHR and then I probably would have been an hour faster and would have been sick again. For racing I do not wear a HRM...I like to listen to my body and breathing and I usually get a better result that way. For me, the HRM is for occasional training when I'm tired and need to stay low to recover. I do not wear it every day and no longer in races.

        Life is short, play hard!


          If I ran Mountain Masochist at 70% HRmax, it would probably take me 12 hours or more. And, by the way, it's just under 54 miles. It's also a relentless climb, other than the few downhill stints (since it's not a loop!), so it's an especially bad course to try to keep a very low HR on. I've run one race at MAF - it was a marathon where I paced a friend to her Boston Qual at 3:45. It was very pleasant!