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Why Heart Rate Guided Training?

Dave Calvert & Sean Huffman

Most runners tend to run according to how they feel.  If you feel good, you will push the pace. This is a recipe for over-training and/or possible injury.

Heart Rate Guided training will allow for endurance gains and proper recovery between runs.

There are three main topics when discussing Heart Rated Guided training:

  • Maximum Heart Rate

  • Heart Rate Zones (1 to 5)

  • Training Runs - Endurance, Tempo, Interval

How do you find your Maximum Heart Rate?

  • 220 minus your age to find Maximum Heart Rate (example 220 - 40 for a max HR of 180 beats per minute).  Age and Genetics will determine your Maximum Heart Rate. Fitness level has no bearing on this number.

  • Resting Heart Rate - Before you get out of bed in the morning take your heart rate for 4 days. Use the average of these readings to establish your Resting Heart Rate.

  • VO2 Max Testing - This is a test of your body’s maximum capacity to transport and use oxygen during maximum effort. VO2 Max testing will give you a true Maximum Heart Rate.  This is a clinical setting on a treadmill with more of an accurate reading than the 220 minus your age estimate. These can be scheduled through McConnell Heart Health Center and Baseline Fitness for a precise individualized prescription of Heart Rate training zones.

Training Zones

  • Zone 1:  Active recovery

  • Zone 2:  Steady state aerobic long-distance training runs

  • Zone 3:  Tempo run - Introducing anaerobic component.  Lactate produced but not overwhelming

  • Zone 4:  Interval I Anaerobic training

  • Zone 5:  Interval II Anaerobic training

Training Runs

  • Endurance - Your endurance runs will cover 3 to 4 days of your weekly mileage.  Long run, recovery runs. These runs should stay in zone 2. (without Heart Rate Guided training, most people mistakenly run somewhere zone 3)

  • Tempo - 80% of Maximum Heart Rate, for a duration of 30 to 90 minutes.  This should be comfortably hard (High zone 3 to high zone 4). This is conditioning the body to stay at or close to race pace.

  • Interval - 90 to 100% of Maximum Heart Rate, for a duration of 30 seconds to 5 minutes (Zone 5).  These are repetitive with an active recovery down to zone 1 between sets.

For more answers to your questions, please contact Dave Calvert at Fleet Feet Sports or Sean Huffman at Fit For Life Physical Therapy (614) 981-2065.