Sergeant Tony's Blog

HEART RATE RUNNING!

Monday, Jun. 23rd 2008 4:15 PM

Heart Rate Training

All of us want to get the most out of our training, right? That’s especially true if you’re training for a specific race, event, or if you’re just wanting to lower your 5K race times.

So, you go out and buy a heart rate monitor.

Now what?

You strap on the transmitter and look down at your monitor, and low and behold, you’ve got a heart rate! There’s a little flashing heart and some numbers! How exciting! Congratulations, you’re alive! That’s a good thing!

So far, so good, right?

So you go out for a run and you watch the numbers increase on your monitor as you start crankin’ it up! Then you stop running and the numbers go back down.

Well, wasn’t that about as interesting as watching the grass grow?

And for that you paid a hundred bucks.

But you know there’s more to it than that. So you consult the little pamphlet that came with your monitor.

The little pamphlet will give you some instruction about how to interpret the numbers on your monitor and it will say something about your maximum heart rate, or MHR. In order to get the most out of your heart rate monitor, you’ve got to be able to determine your MHR, the pamphlet says. A percentage of your MHR will correspond with certain kinds of training, like recovery runs, tempo runs, and speed runs.

Most of the time the pamphlets tell you to take your age and subtract it from 220. That will be your approximate MHR.

OR, you can do a field test.

DO NOT ATTEMPT A FIELD TEST UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING FOR AT LEAST 3 MONTHS!!

IF YOU’RE NOT SURE, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR. NO ONE IN MARGINAL PHYSICAL CONDITION SHOULD DO A FIELD TEST.

If you’re in good shape and have been running for a few months, give the field test a shot. It’s not scary, but it shouldn’t be done by a beginner or anyone with any sort of medical issue.

To do a field test, you’ll need to go to a track or a flat stretch of road or running path where you can do 2 to 3 minute runs.
1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a fairly easy pace, nothing too strenuous.
2. Then do a 2 to 3 minute run at a very good pace.
3. Recover for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Repeat number 2, but run faster.
5. Recover for 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Do the 2 to 3 minute run for a third, and last time, even faster! Push it really hard for the last 1 to 1.5 minutes! Immediately look at your heart rate monitor! THAT number is your MHR.

Remarkably, you may find that your MHR determined by the formula and your MHR determined by the field test will be pretty close. But for many people there will be a big difference. In my own experience the formula was spot on. But for a friend of mine, the formula and the field test were very different.

Now that you know your MHR, you can use your monitor to ensure that your training is done in the range that you want.

An easy run is 65% to 75% of MHR.
A tempo run is 87% to 92% of MHR.
And your speed work pace is 95% to 100% of MHR.

Good luck all you heart-rate-monitor-strap-wearing-runners!

Wanna go strapless?

Use The Talk Test.

An easy run is one where you can carry on an easy conversation with a running friend.
A tempo run is one where you can carry on a very labored conversation.
A speed pace is one where you can’t have a conversation at all!

What about wearing a heart rate monitor to Boot Camp? GO FOR IT! I’d be very very interested in your results!

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Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Important News | No Comments »

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