Why Cardiac Drift Is Important For Runners Who Train By Heart Rate
In two previous articles, Ive discussed the importance of breaking free of your Garmin dependency and three reasons not to train with a heart rate monitor. Reading both articles may make it seem like I am harsh critic of all running technology, but in reality I am a proponent of any device that helps runners train smarter.
However, these two articles do demonstrate the need for runners, beginner and experienced alike, to take the time to understand training concepts and not blindly follow the numbers and data derived from their technological gadgets.
With a better understanding of training theory you can take full advantage of the technology and make it work for you rather than running to hit subjective numbers.
That brings me to this latest article on heart rate training the influence of cardiac drift on heart rate during long runs.
Learn Your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate
A lab test is the gold standard for finding your LTHR. But if you dont have access, or just dont like needles, there are good ways of estimating it. Try this field test, which Hart uses with her runners:
- Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running
- Run a pace thats as hard as you can sustain for 30 minutes
- Look at your average heart rate in the final 20 minutes
- Or, note your heart rate once at the 10-minute mark and once at the 30-minute mark, and then average those two numbers
- That numberyour average heart rate over the final 20 minutesis a good estimate of your lactate threshold heart rate, or LTHR.
Target Heart Rate Calculator
Ever ask yourself, âhow do I find my target heart rate?â Finding your target heart rate is easy with our target heart rate calculator. Target heart rate calculation can be determined for any age and activity level, enabling you to use a heart rate monitor and get the most benefit from your workouts.
Measuring Your Bpm With A Heart Rate Monitor
A heart rate monitor is a wearable device that measures and displays your bpm to another device such as a watch or phone. Most importantly, they give you actionable data to learn if youre pushing too hard, or not enough during your training.
Do you really need one to train? No. Do you really need one to train with accuracy in order to achieve your running goals? Probably.
What To Do When Your Running Heart Rate Gets Too High
Youre out for a run and its going great. Youre on mile four of a five-mile tempo run, and youre in that sweet spot where your perfect pace feels comfortably hard. But soon, your heart rate begins to climb. Within a few minutes, comfortably hard feels uncomfortable.
If youre not paying attention, the feeling of dizziness, or feeling close to hyperventilating, may creep up on you. That means your heart rate has been too high for too long and you need to get it down to be able to continue running. Heres how to lower your heart rate while running, and what to do when you find yourself in a scary situation on the run.
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Exercise Recovery And Overtraining
Athletes sometimes monitor their RHR to help them determine when they have fully recovered from a hard workout or race. Since they already know their usual RHR, they can monitor it and see when it returns to normal .
A resting heart rate that is 5 bpm above your usual RHR indicates that you may need more recovery time.
A high resting heart rate is a sign of overtraining. Your resting heart rate may be elevated for one or more days after a vigorous endurance workout, such as running a 10K race or walking a half-marathon. You may want to delay another hard workout until your resting heart rate has returned to its usual value.
Fitness monitors and apps that record resting heart rate daily can use that data to give you a notification when you are ready for another hard workout. If you aren’t fully recovered, the app might recommend a light intensity workout instead.
We’ve tried, tested, and reviewed the best heart rate monitors. If you’re in the market for monitor, explore which option may be best for you.
How To Lower Heart Rate While Running: 5 Simple Strategies
So how to lower heart rate while running? A simple answer to our question is to work out for longer, allow yourself to rest and avoid coffee before you run.
If youve clicked on our page, you probably want more than a one-sentence answer.
Here we will explain why a low heart rate is good, the signs that your heart rate is too low, and we will give you real tips to reach the desired heart rate for your body.
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How To Measure Heart Rate
Measuring your heart rate is as simple as checking your pulse. You can find your pulse over your wrist or neck. Try measuring your radial artery pulse, which is felt over the lateral part your wrist, just below the thumb side of your hand.
To measure your heart rate, gently press the tips of your index and middle fingers over this blood vessel in your wrist. Make sure not to use your thumb, because it has its own pulse and may cause you to miscount. Count the beats you feel for a full minute.
You can also count for 30 seconds and multiply the count by two, or count for 10 seconds and multiply by six.
What Is Your Heart Rate While Walking
If you are walking on an even ground and slowly, your heart rate will not increase that much. However, if you are walking uphill, your heart rate will increase more.
Target Heart Rate When Walking
Then what should your target heart rate be?
- If you are just beginning with walking exercise, you should exercise in the so-called healthy heart zone which is about 50 to 60% of your maximum heart rate.
- However, as you continue to exercise you should increase your speed or hand weight to the so-called fat-burning zone which is about 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate.
- Aerobic exercise has to do with increasing cardiovascular fitness. Your heart rate reaches about 70 to 80% of the maximum heart rate and it involves adding stairs or hills while you are walking.
A Recommended Walking Program
A walking program which consists of a warmup period, brisk walking and a cool down period, is beneficial for cardiovascular training. While warming up and cooling down, you should aim for a 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. However, during brisk walking, you should aim for 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate. Increase brisk walking gradually by a couple of minutes every day until you reach about 30 minutes a day.
In the following chart, you can find out the maximum heart rate according to age and intensity level.
Other Factors Also Affect Your Heart Rate While Walking
Other factors that can affect your heart rate include:
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What Are Hr Zones
Following is a overview of each zone and examples of how it might be used. Please note that none of these apply if you are doing Low Heart Rate training, that is 1 max HR and no zones.
Zone 1: Very Light 50 to 60 percent of MHR
Reserve Zone 1 for your warm up and recovery runs where low intensity is the goal.
Running in this zone feels like you could keep going for hours and is excellent when we start running and are building a base. Its a great way to build stamina, allowing you to exercise multiple days without accumulating a lot of fatigue.
Zone 2: Light 60 to 70 percent of MHR
Most of your long runs and easy runs should fall in Zone 2.
These runs arent as easy as Zone 1, but you can still maintain a conversation and should not finish the run feeling completely wiped out. This is the hardest zone for many endurance athletes because they may often feel the pace is too slow, but its exactly what the body needs to build endurance.
Your marathon pace will likely start in Zone 2 and move in to Zone 3 or 4 by the end of the race.
Zone 3: Moderate 70 to 80 percent of MHR
This is your tempo run pace, used to develop speed and strength and provide the most cardiovascular benefit.
Runs in Zone 3 should last about 30-45 minutes. The pace is comfortably hard conversations are limited to a word or two at a time.
This is the Zone that too many runners do their easy runs in, which results in overtraining.
Read more about why we call Zone 3 Gray Zone training.
What Your Resting Heart Rate Means
Your resting heart rate will become lower as your fitness level increases. Vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, has the most effect on lowering your resting heart rate. Moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking has less effect.
RHR is lowered as the heart muscle becomes stronger and gets better at pumping out more blood per heartbeat. The body needs fewer heartbeats to pump the same amount of blood. If your heart muscle is weak, it needs to beat more times to pump the same amount of blood.
If you are tracking your resting heart rate and see it rise, there could be several causes that aren’t related to your fitness level, including:
- Being sleep-deprived
- Dehydration or in cases of high heat and humidity
- Developing an illness or a medical condition
- Mental, emotional, or physical stress
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Factors That Influence Average Heart Rate While Running
During exercise, the bodys demand for oxygen increases. To meet this demand, heart rate increases to allow for increased circulation of blood around the body. The harder someone works during exercise, like by increasing pace or weight, the higher heart rate will go.
Much like resting heart rate , there are a number of factors that can influence average heart rate while running. These include many of the same factors that impact RHR, such as age, physical activity level, hydration status, and sleep. Other factors to consider include the environment, stress levels, and caffeine intake.
Resting Heart Rate For Runners
Besides knowing your Max HR for running, its also important to know your resting HR as a runner.
This is quite literally your average heart rate while at rest.
- The most accurate measurement is first thing in the morning just after you have woken up and before you get out of bed.
- Many phones have a built in app that will record your heart rate using the fingerprint sensor, otherwise, you can go old school and use your fingers and a timer.
- With the first two index fingers, find the pulse on your wrist or your carotid artery on your neck and count the number of heart beats over 10 seconds. Multiply that number by 6 to get your resting heart rate.
For the average person, resting heart rate ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute .
Seasoned runners and elite athletes tend to have lower heart rates, sometimes as low as 40 bpm. This is because their muscles are in top condition and the heart doesnt have to work as hard to pump blood to the body.
Most marathon runners will find their Avg resting HR between 45-65.
Whats truly important is to monitor your resting HR over time.
- If your resting HR is increasing its a sign of overtraining or illness
- If your resting HR is decreasing its a sign of improved fitness
- HOWEVER, if it just keeps dropping say youre hitting 40 and you arent feeling well its also a sign of overtraining
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Here’s What You Need To Know About Your Running Heart Rate
Using heart rate as a training tool for running is a common practice among runners of all levels and all distances. Like many aspects of health and fitness, heart rate zones and their application in training will vary between each person. Here well dive into what you need to know about running heart rate.
Why Is My Heart Rate So High When Running
During cardio exercise such as running, your heart rate increases. Your heart rate while running can be a good measurement of how hard youre working. As your pace and work rate increase, so does your heart rate. Blood circulates to your muscles so they can get the oxygen and nutrients they need to keep going.
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Heart Rate Zone : 90100% Of Hrmax
Heart rate zone 5 is your maximal effort. Your heart and your blood and respiratory system will be working at their maximal capacity. Lactic acid will build up in your blood and after a few minutes you wont be able to continue at this intensity.
If youre just starting out or have only been training for some time, you probably wont have to train at this intensity. If youre a professional athlete, look into incorporating interval training into your training plan for peak performance.
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Ideal Heart Rate For Exercise
After youve gotten the hang of heart rate measurement, you can begin to calculate and monitor your target exercising heart rate.
If youre using the manual method of heart rate measurement, youll need to stop exercising briefly to take your pulse.
If youre using a heart rate monitor, you can continue your workout while keeping an eye on your monitor.
Your doctor can help determine the best target heart rate for you, or you can use general target zone guidelines to determine your target exercise heart rate based on your age.
According to the AHA , moderate-intensity workouts should be closer to the lower end of the target heart rate range that correlates with your age. Within the higher end of the range is the target heart rate for high-intensity, vigorous workouts.
The target heart rate zones noted below are based on what is equal to 50 to 85 percent of the average maximum heart rate for each stated age, and the average maximum heart rate is based on the calculation of 220 minus years of age.
Please be aware that the American Heart Association states that these figures are averages to be used as a general guide. If you feel this guide doesnt fit your personal exercise heart rate target for moderate or vigorous exercise, your doctor will be able to work with you on an individual basis to help determine the target heart rate range that is best for you.
|Target heart rate zone|
|75 to 128 beats per minute||150 beats per minute|
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Gauge Intensity Without Heart Rate
Your heart rate is one of the best ways to measure the intensity of your workout, but it’s not the only way. Perceived exertion can also tell you how hard you’re working, and all you need to do is observe yourself.
If you’re able to comfortably hold a conversation while running, you’re working towards the lower end of the heart rate zone. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you can have a conversation but you can’t sing a song, you’re exercising at a moderate intensity. If you’re breathing very hard and rapidly and you find it hard to say more than a few words at a time, you are running at a vigorous intensity.
Resting Heart Rate And Fitness
Verywell / Photo Illustration: Michela Buttignol
Your resting heart rate gives you a good look into your health, especially when you’re ready to embark on a new fitness regime. Regularly checking your resting heart rate can help you keep track of your fitness levels and may allow you to recognize possible health issues.
Understanding what your resting heart rate should be, as well as how to measure it, will allow you to take action and prioritize your health and fitness.
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Adjusting Your Activity Level
Once youve determined your ideal heart rate for exercise, its important to use this information to help keep the intensity level of your workouts in check.
Slow down your pace and effort level if your heart rate during activity is higher than it should be based on your doctors instructions and the guidelines above. If its lower that it should be, work harder to ensure that youre getting the benefits of the exercise.
Start slowly during the first few weeks of working out, aiming for the lower end of your target zone. You can then build up gradually to the higher end of your target zone.
With a little practice and guidance from your healthcare team, youll soon be able to make the most of your exercise routine by measuring your ideal heart rate.
How Does Exercise Affect Heart Rate Over Time
As a person starts to exercise regularly and gain fitness over time, they will be able to exercise within a higher heart rate zone. This is because they are training their heart and muscles to respond to repeat exertion.
People may start out with a target of 50% of their maximum heart rate, but before long, they will be able to comfortably train at a target of 85%.
A 2018 review study found that people can improve their heart health and lower their resting heart rate by exercising regularly. Regular exercise reduces a persons risk of heart attack, stroke, and other medical conditions.
However, the researchers also suggest that continuously high levels of exercise such as marathon running could be harmful to heart health.
Engaging in aerobic and endurance exercises also contributes to improved fitness, increased muscle tone, and improvements in general physical and mental well-being. In fact, one 2016 meta-analysis reports that exercise has a large and significant antidepressant effect on people with depression.