Everything You Need To Know About Heart Rate Training
Once you know your maximum heart rate, its time to use your newfound knowledge to use the calculators, craft a training plan, and get faster! Heres what well cover in the rest of this article:
- Drawbacks of Traditional Training Zone Calculators
- Karvonen Heart Rate Training Zones
- Best Heart Rate Training Zones
- Different Approaches to Heart Rate-Based Training
- Polarized vs Pyramidal Training
- How to Build a Heart Rate-Based Training Program
How Do I Get My Heart Rate In The Target Zone
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? Theres a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bullseye so you can get max benefit from every step, swing and squat. Even if youre not a gym rat or elite athlete, knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness level.
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What Happens When Your Heart Rate Is Too High
Exceeding your maximum heart rate for long periods of time can cause health problems such as:
Furthermore, it will only hinder, not help, your running. Training consistently at a high heart rate wont teach your body to burn fat for energy over long periods of time.
More importantly training at 75% of your MHR or higher wont allow your body to recover or train the lactic threshold system.
Overtraining will likely lead to injury, burnout, and plateau during races.
Signs that your heart rate is too high include:
- Inability to talk
- Cannot catch breath
If you find yourself pushing too hard during a training run or race, slow down, walking if necessary, and focus on your breathing until your heart has reached a slower rate.
Slowing down may feel counter intuitive, but remember, theres a benefit to going hard on hard days and taking your recovery days easy peasy.
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Zone 5 Training Maximum Effort / Speed Training
Effort: very hardTarget heart rate: 90% 100%Duration: short intervals, up to 40 seconds
Zone 5 is the all-out effort the maximum what muscles can produce. At this intensity massive amounts of lactic acid are produced and its impossible to utilize it. Muscles get so tight that an athlete is forced to slow down.
Regardless of how good the athlete is, he can only maintain his top speed for several seconds. Even 100m sprinters can maintain their top speed for only around 50m in the middle of the distance, before slowing down towards the end.
At this point the athlete is breathless theress no way he is able to speak even a full word.
How Do I Set My Training Zones
- For cycling, running and swimming, youll need to determine your lactate threshold by performing a 30-minute time trial .
- Once you have established your lactate threshold, you can input your target values into TrainingPeaks.
- This will allow you to plan the intensity of your workouts to reach your goals without suffering burnout.
- You will also be able to accurately track your fitness, form, and fatigue using our threshold-based training stress score and the Performance Management Chart.
Youve probably heard athletes discussing their training zones when describing workouts. Its easy to dismiss the zone chatter as just endurance nerd-speak, but you shouldnt. If you want to get fitter, faster, you need to know what zones are, and how to use them.
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Zone 2 Training Benefits
Zone 2 is important for all athletes, but is critical for endurance athletes. Training in this zone builds mitochondria in slow twitch muscle fibers, which improves the overall endurance and speed.
Essentially, it makes the lactate line on the graph above stay horizontal for longer.
On top of that, extended easy training teaches the body to utilize fat better and builds a leaner body.
Max Heart Rate Field Test Example
Do this field test with a training partner. Use a heart rate monitor and note the highest heart rate you can reach. This is your maximum heart rate.
Doing a maximum heart rate field test while unprepared is a surefire way to end up in maximum distress. If you are unsure, consult your physician before undertaking the test.
If you liked this post, dont forget to share so that others can find it, too.
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Heart Rate Training Plan
Here is a six-week heart rate training plan for intermediate runners. It will introduce you to different training zones and allow you to see some progress.
Keep a note of your heart rate and pace of your first easy run in Week 1. Compare this to the pace and heart rate of your easy runs in Week 6. You should see that youre able to run faster, while maintaining the same heart rate.
How To Calculate Your Aerobic Training Zone For Fitness
The range required to improve aerobic endurance is higher than that needed for fat burning. It ranges between 75 and 85 percent of your heart-rate reserve.
Using the previous example, 75 percent of the heart-rate reserve of 100 is 75, and 85 percent is 85. Again, add the resting heart rate to both numbers.
Re-add your resting heart rate to both numbers: To improve your aerobic endurance, you need to aim for between 155 and 165 heartbeats per minute.
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Your Maximum Heart Rate
The general formula used to calculate maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. So, for instance, if you are 27 years of age, your maximum heart rate should be 193 bpm. Going beyond 193 bpm poses a threat to your health because it is straining your heart. Remember that this is a general formula. Of course, the fitter you are, the stronger your heart is and able to withstand a higher maximum heart rate.
Heart Rate Training Zones Sample Zone 3 Training Sessions
The key with Zone 3 training is to use interval method, instead of just maintaining it throughout the session. This approach will limit the build up of lactic acid in the body, clear the excess and will allow to tolerate more intervals.
- 3×10-30 minutes throughout a long easy session in Zones 1 or 2
- 6x6min with 6 minute recovery in Zone 1 in between
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Your Heart Rate On Screen
Do you have a heart rate monitor at home? Then quickly check whether it is already compatible with our Start 2 Run app. Any heart rate monitor that can send the heart rate via bluetooth can be connected. In practice, we have been able to register successful tests with: Polar ignite 2 fitness watch Polar Verity Sense optical heart rate sensor Polar H10 heart rate sensor Polar H9 heart rate sensor Garmin forerunner 245 running watch Garmin forerunner 745 running watch Garmin forerunner 945 smartwatch Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate monitor Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor Wahoo Tickr X heart rate monitor
Reliable sources have already announced that Polar will probably be able to release a software update in October that will ensure that all recent Polar sports watches can be used as heart rate sensors in the Start 2 Run app.
Once youve finished your workout, youll get a detailed picture of your heart rate. In the graph you can see in which zone you trained, at the bottom of the graph your target zones are displayed, i.e. the zone in which it was proposed to train. This way you can compare and estimate immediately to what extent you have completed your training correctly. Via the handy slider you can look up your heart rate at a specific time or distance point.
What Is Low And High Intensity Training
Theres a bit more than percentages behind the concept of training zones.
As we increase intensity of an exercise, the body changes the way it sources energy. At low intensity, body primarily uses oxygen to convert fats into energy. That process is slow, so at high intensity when the body needs energy fast it focuses on converting carbohydrates to energy instead. This does not require oxygen, so its called anaerobic mode.
Logically, high intensity training is more taxing on the body and should be approached carefully. Too much too soon can cause all progress to stall and put the athlete into a plateau for quite a while.
To simplify things, there are virtually 2 points around which training zones are organized aerobic and anaerobic thresholds.
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What Are Heart Rate Zones For Running
In between our resting and max heart rates lies a range of 5 heart rate zones that correspond to workouts of varying intensities that range from very light to very hard.
The MOST accurate way to find your zones is to do a VO2 Max test, but thats not often accessible for many so instead we try to generalize either with an rate of perceived exertion or through running heart rate.
Below is an example of a test I didwayyyy back in 2010 when I was super sick. My HR was quite a bit higher than it is now when I run in those zones, which is one of the ways that HR training can help you monitor fitness.
As your fitness improves, youll be able to run the same paces at a lower HR, which means your body has become more efficient.
Most training plans include a variety of workouts targeted at the different zones, like easy days, tempo runs, speed work, and long slow distance.
Incorporating workouts of varying difficulties teaches your body to more efficiently use its aerobic and anaerobic systems.
There are five training zones that can help you dictate your exertion level based on your BPM .
Rather than training at a pace that feels hard or easy, you let your heart rate determine the speed and the quality of the workout. Your body knows when its working hard, even if you think the pace means its not.
How To Calculate Heart Rate Zones For Running
Monitoring your heart rate is a great way to measure your exercise. Nowadays, many of us have our very own heart rate monitors right on our wrists, or even in our pockets. But, did you know that using that heart rate monitor could actually be the best way for you to boost your cardio potential, too? In this guide, Ill take you through how to calculate heart rate zones for running.
In short, measuring your theoretical maximum heart rate potential is as easy as subtracting your age from 220. That should tell you your upper limit but, when it comes to zones, youll need to work out percentages for specific types of burn and effort.
Dont worry you dont need any fancy equipment or special training to work these zones out. Keep reading for the full lowdown.
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Youre Running Too Hard
This seems obvious, but lets talk it through.
Runs should be a variety of different paces. Starting out nearly all of your runs should be done at what we call and easy pace.
That doesnt mean running is ever easy, but its a description to remind you that it should NOT be a sprint or your race pace. In fact, one of the easiest ways to start learning about different effort levels is the running RPE Chart.
- Try using run/walk intervals to allow your body to adjust
- That will help keep HR down and improve endurance
- Reminder yourself that slowing down is what allows you to run farther
- You should not be gasping for air. On easy runs you should be able to carry on light conversation.
Another issue here could be caffeine!
Either its given you a boost and now youre all pumped up for vigorous activity and simply going too hard.
Or because its in the stimulants family, its simply caused your HR to go up. Im someone who is really sensitive to caffeine, so I notice if its in any pre-workout I try that my target heart rate range is suddenly harder to stay within.
How To Find Your Heart Rate Zones
As I explained earlier, heart rate is one of the most reliable measurements of workout intensity.
Youll definitely improve your performance once you start intentionally targeting one and each of your heart rate training zones.
Heres the deal.
To start heart rate training, youll need to figure out your resting heart rate. Check this one out first thing in the morning when you wake up, before moving around or having that cup of joe. Id recommend that you do this on three consecutive days, preferably when youre not sick, experiencing stress, or are overtrained.
Next, average the three days together, and thats your resting heart rate.
The average resting heart for most people is around 60 to 90. However, expect yours to be as low as 40 if you are in very good shape.
You also have a maximum heart rate, which is the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can manage during intense exercise.
There many methods that you can use to estimate your maximum heart rate.
Lets explain a few.
The Age-Based Formula
Known as the Maffetone method, the age-based form is the most common method used by recreational athletes.
You simply subtract your age from 220so a 30-year old runner would have a theoretical MHR of 190.
This method might be off-the-mark by 10 to 15 beats per minute in either direction.
But it is a good way to get started with heart rate training zones, and sometimes thats all you need to get in the direction of your goals.
The Lab Test
The Field Test
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What Equipment Do I Need To Heart Rate Train
If you have been training for a while, you probably already have a running watch to measure pace, distance and time. Most training watches have the option to connect to a heart rate monitor and many of the newer models have one built right into the watch itself.
If your watch already has a monitor built in, the reading will be taken from your wrist. If it doesnt have one, you can purchase a separate heart rate monitor that will measure and transmit the information directly to your watch so you can monitor your beats per minute while training.
Be sure the monitor is set firmly in place so you get the most accurate reading possible. If the monitor is too loose and wiggling around, you might get an inaccurate reading.
Karvonen Heart Rate Training Zones
We use the Karvonen Formula to generate the heart rate training zones we recommend for endurance athletes because it appears to be far more accurate for many athletes. This method generates very similar training zones to those found in lab results. We have yet to meet an athlete who didnt see it as accurate or more precise than typical calculators.
The Karvonen Formula seems to be a superior method of generating training zones because its based on the athletes physiology. Depending on your fitness level, you may have an abnormally high or low heart rate. At the same time, training and this formula accounts for that.
Instead of assigning training zones based on random numbers, the Karvonen Formula takes your unique physiology into account. The critical difference between the Karvonen Formula and other heart rate training zone calculators is the addition of resting heart rate.
Our heart rate training zone calculator uses both maximum and resting heart rate to generate your heart rate training zones. Assuming you know your maximum heart rate, you need to know your resting heart rate.
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Who Can Do Heart Rate Training
The great thing about heart rate training is that is is totally personalised to you and your fitness. This means that its benefits can be enjoyed by most runners, whether youre a speedy racer or a steady plodder.
Beginner runners may find it harder to do heart rate training, as our heart rates are usually higher when we first start out. This may not be the case if we already have a base of cardio fitness, though.
Factors Affecting Your Heart Rate When Running
As we can see above, key factors can considerably impact your average heart rate. These include:
- Fitness level/aerobic capacity
However, each day is different, and other variables can influence your heart rate when running, such as:
- Heat and humidity
- Medical conditions
- Certain medications
So, its important to remember that sometimes your heart rate will be higher even though you feel fine. However, ensuring you are adequately hydrated and fuel your body effectively for your runs is always essential. If youre ever concerned about how high your heart rate is, try these tips if you begin to feel dizzy or out of breath.
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