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# Origin of HR zones in RW (Read 29 times)

Sorry if this has been discussed before, but not finding it.

Anybody know where the actual HR values in the zones come from? (Nobby?) Age-based formula or our RA log, but I can't find an entry there. I'm trying to figure out if I left out something, like HRmax, in the input.

I started to set up a plan the other day, but the draft plans seemed to have the upper HR for the Out/Back (RPE 7, 90%VO2max, which approximates to 95% HRmax) a bit low (152bpm in the plan vs 171bpm using the %VO2max).  (I used the %HRmax = 0.64 * %VO2max + 37 formula).  I know the Out/Back should be something like a tempo, so think I know what it should feel like.

Most of the zones are wide enough that it's not a big deal. But the high end seems to be a bit low. (low ends are not unreasonable, although I find 60% HRmax a real challenge for running).

OR maybe this is why I felt really challenged 2 yrs ago when I did part of one schedule.   They provided the %VO2max part for the RPE, but no HR references.

They've really made the website a lot more sophisticated than it had been. Really nice.

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

AKTrail:

i know you e-mailed me!! ;o)

I'm traveling today--I'll reply tonight. A short answer; Karvornen calculation.

ooops, sorry. Wasn't sure which place gets checked more reliably.

So the Out/back would top out at about 76% HRR (rather than the 80%-90% HRR of a tempoish run or 90% VO2max = RPE 7) ?? At least that's the way the calculations come out (based on my actual HRmax, not age-based formula).

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

ooops, sorry. Wasn't sure which place gets checked more reliably.

So the Out/back would top out at about 76% HRR (rather than the 80%-90% HRR of a tempoish run or 90% VO2max = RPE 7) ?? At least that's the way the calculations come out (based on my actual HRmax, not age-based formula).

Is it?  I wouldn't know...!! ;o)

I know a lot of people went on and on and on about LT pace at the other (public) thread and personally I don't buy any of that.  First of all, I'm not sure if anybody really knows how to gather their Max HR to begin with to say XX% of this and that.  And, frankly, IF, suppose, you get the correct Max HR, 90% of Max seems VERY high to me...  Actually, what's the definition of Max HR?  Are we talking about the Maximum HR that you can sustain for a certain duration?  Or Maximum HR you can actually reach?  For example, and I use this all the time and I feel rather guilty now because I don't think I can reach this HR at this point...; a few years back, I was doing 3 X 1km repeats and that was one of those workouts that you push very hard (not with semi-recovery).  And, just for the hell of it, I checked my HR right after my hard exertion.  I just used my fingers and checked for 30-seconds so, theoretically, it was already coming down somewhat.  But it went as high as 197.  I was 50 so my "calculated" Max HR (again, I'm not sure what it really means...) should have been 170.  I was way past that and I felt pretty good.  But then, I'd say my Max would be a bit higher than that; so 90% is nearly 180???  Frankly I don't know if I can push that hard for extended period of time--I may, but I may not.  I never checked my HR during a race (say, a 5k race).  But, while creating RW, I regularly checked my own HR while working out on treadmill (they have one of those holding HR monitor thing).  I checked my own HR, and I asked some of my "guinea pigs" to see how their HR fluctuate.  And, in short, I went with a bit conservative side--plus we have the range.  And, interestingly, today we get the both ends of extreme--some say it's too high; some others say it's too low.  So my absolute conclusion is; HR based training is very useful IF you know what you're doing.  But it just varies so much from individual to individual.  We found Karvonenn's formula most useful because it's not just age but also incorporate your current fitness level in the form of resting heart rate.  Then we added the range; then we picked the level of effort more or less by experience, rather than some mathematical formula.  We found those formula, particularly used by people like Jack Daniels, not as practical.  It is NOT because his formula is wrong--I have a good reason to believe it most probably is--; but because those are mostly applicable to elite runners, or at least very highly trained athletes and not for "most of us".  In the end, we applied the Golden Rule of "If in doubt, do less (or easier)".

Hmmm, I'm wondering if you're suggesting I should just use the RPE table?

Your questions might have been rhetorical, but ....    HRmax is usually taken as the maximum HR you can hit - when trained - when doing whatever exercise (biking is supposed to be lower than running). Some people, like ExPhysRunner, suggest only using readings that are there for a minute to avoid spikes. 85-90% HRmax (or HRR equivalent) is usually close to 1-hr race pace for a reasonably trained person (don't need to be elite). Most people can still talk in short phrases in that zone. Very few people can hit HRmax on their own on a flat surface without a bear chasing them.   This is why Joe Friel introduced a different approach.

When I had a stress test a couple years ago, their RPE/talk test / HR results were fairly similar to what I had arrived at on my own, although they stopped the test at about 10bpm above what I've used as HRmax cuz heart was doing funny things. That's why I don't train above 90% of the HRmax that I estimated. But 85-87% HRmax (78%-81% HRR) (155-157bpm) is about 1-hr race effort for me and can still talk. I put the actual numbers there since that's what my HRM reads / records in a race - and has for years at that effort. The % are used just so people have an idea of effort.  A HR number without a % means as little as a pace without any context (uphill trail, downhill, asphalt, snowshoe running, elite male, older woman).

Seriously, most of the zones are broad enough that it's not an issue. It's just the top end ones (152bpm is much easier than 156bpm) where I'm wondering if I'd be undertraining. I'm very good at going slow and easy - been doing it for years. I wasn't trying to bring up the HR argument again, just wanting to be sure I'm doing what's intended.

Thanks for your response, Nobby. Appreciate it.

Off to do my 2-hr long run - in snowshoes on rolling hills because we just got dumped on again and more snow forecast.

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

Methinks I'll just use the RPE table, like I did 2 yr ago since that worked well.

I thought I had a brilliant idea this afternoon. Since I ran the same race in 2012 (Equinox Marathon) as I'm planning in 2013, I thought that would be a good race to use in the "VO2max" calc, even if soft, since terrain would be the same - rather than using an approximate 10k time (vary cuz of terrain). Plugged it in, and time came out 3 min slower than what I did. The 10k time has me running 45min faster, which may be a stretch. I think those estimations are based on flat roads and not hybrid trail / road races on a loop with 3700ft of uphill. Once the snow goes away in a few weeks, those paces should be about right on the terrain where I normally train.  (My 7:38 in 2012 was about mid-AG pack for upper 60s women, also for lower 60s. I'm aiming to drop 15-20min just because of course knowledge.)

Paul Ryan might forget his time, but I apparently even forget I did the race. Marathons don't leave impressions on me.

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

Hungry

Hi AKTrail,

I'm just a fellow user, so take anything I say with a grain of salt. I like my HRM, but I've forced myself to not get too obsessed with the various numbers and zones and percentages. I've been using a RW marathon plan for almost 14 weeks (of a 24 week plan) now, and I now find it helpful to look at ALL of the various ranges provided in the plan (not just HR, as I was inclined to do). For some runs, the ranges for HR and pace and distance and duration all seem to work equivalently for me (aerobic runs, for example). For some other runs, they aren't quite consistent with each other -- I might be running faster than the top end of the pace range and still have a HR that is below the bottom end of the HR range ... or vice versa. When they are inconsistent like this, I've always chosen the "easier" of the two. For example, on my easy Jogs, I run slower than the bottom of the pace range to keep my HR within the recovery zone provided. But in my PCR runs, I find myself now running at the fast end of the pace range, with a HR that is at or below the low end of the HR range provided.

[If I gave myself more of a chance to learn to use RPE, it might be the best guide for choosing the proper intensity level. It sounds like you've used RPE before, so you may be better able to use RPE as a guide than me. I guess my overall message is not to get too wrapped up in analyzing what percentage of HRR is correct for a each workout, because I don't think there is good answer.]

Personally, if someone convinced me that there was an "optimum" HR for each type of workout, and that it was based on a formula that took into account resting HR, max HR, and lactate threshold, I would eat that up -- I love numbers!  But I've also seen a lot of the more experienced and accomplished runners describe HRMs as the epitome of all that is evil, and that we should instead learn to run purely by feel.  I'm just trying to strike a balance somewhere in between those positions.

Lastly, I'm jealous of where you run. I saw the pictures you posted from a race up a ski hill (???), and the views were spectacular! I'm in Minnesota. It's flat. The snow finally melted away with the rain -- but we're supposed to get 6 inches of the white stuff in the next couple days. Ugh.

2013: 2647.2 miles

2014: Boston

...

[If I gave myself more of a chance to learn to use RPE, it might be the best guide for choosing the proper intensity level. It sounds like you've used RPE before, so you may be better able to use RPE as a guide than me. I guess my overall message is not to get too wrapped up in analyzing what percentage of HRR is correct for a each workout, because I don't think there is good answer.]

Personally, if someone convinced me that there was an "optimum" HR for each type of workout, and that it was based on a formula that took into account resting HR, max HR, and lactate threshold, I would eat that up -- I love numbers!  But I've also seen a lot of the more experienced and accomplished runners describe HRMs as the epitome of all that is evil, and that we should instead learn to run purely by feel.  I'm just trying to strike a balance somewhere in between those positions.

Lastly, I'm jealous of where you run. I saw the pictures you posted from a race up a ski hill (???), and the views were spectacular! I'm in Minnesota. It's flat. The snow finally melted away with the rain -- but we're supposed to get 6 inches of the white stuff in the next couple days. Ugh.

Hi SubDood,

I learned to run by feel with HRM about 13yr ago and find it works really well as a method of logging my runs on hilly trails, esp. when snow is involved. As pointed out in that LT thread, pace makes no sense for the terrain I'm running on. (actually vertical climb rate might be more useful)  The pace sheet for the fall marathon has a variation in mile pace of about 50% as you go up and down hills, on trails, and roads. And there will be some variation in effort also, depending on footing and other things, but not nearly the variation as in pace. My head hurts if I had to do the calculations for paces up and down all the hills I run. Running is supposed to be simple.

I just need to be sure to understand the goal of a workout so I know what effort to use.

I don't actually use RPE (which I hate), but rather the table and convert the %VO2max to an estimated %HRmax (or whatever other reference) - or use the talk test. The HR data provides an easy way of logging how much time at what intensity. Like a "tempo" run might have a 25-min warmup getting to the flat area, then 10-20 min outbound then inbound, then  25 min to get home. (after snow melts, it should take me closer to 20min to get to site). Instead of just showing a 1.5 hr tempo run, my log may show about 50min easy and 20-40min at 1-hr race effort (give or take a bit) - without having to write anything down. I really like the stacked-bar graphs over time to provide not just an indication of total volume, but the intensity also - too much or too little. (Polar and SportTracks do this.) Trends over the years show up or maybe training too hard for a couple weeks (duh - that's why I feel tired).

The people that don't like HRM usually are running relatively flat roads and in hotter temperatures. To them, HRMs may not make sense, and pace works well for *their* purposes. They probably learned to tie effort to pace - this is what a 6 min/mi pace feels like. For others of us, we die at 70F, so never (rarely?) encounter the heat issues, but do need to recognize how fast we're spending what kind of fuel = some measure of effort tied to HR or breathing or whatever. If I'm breathing hard at 30min/mi at start of a multi-hour race, I'll likely crash (unless recover downhill or between laps). I'm guessing the bulk of my training is below +40F.

But HR doesn't tell everything, including the downhill pounding from a 1000+ ft drop in 3.5 miles on road or 3000ft in 2.2 mi on trail.

I did finalize my RW plan last night, so I can see the rest of the workouts now, but haven't had time to read all the descriptions.

Thanks for your comments, SubDood.

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