Anybody wanna talk about HRM training??

I have done quite a bit of HRM training - and even more reading about it. But I have now got a HRM that gives me "loud" aural warnings about my heart rate and gives me a visual graph which I can analyse to my hearts content when I get back home. In a couple of weeks , I am going back to basics - to chisel my current fitness level into stone - regarding the 5 basic heart rate zones which all have a particular purpose to employ when training.

Heart rate training does require a bit of "brain work" -- it is not as simple as following something blindly . It reminds me of car GPS. :) -- so many people I know say that car GPS's are useless -- because ......... My answer to them is that the car GPS can only provide a suggestion to you - follow it blindly at your peril!! :) It does not take away to need to think ,understand and make personal decisions.

18 Replies

  • I'm still not sure how much use it is, although I have a Garmin 225 and it tells me my average HR is 150 on my Park run I'm not sure what use that information is and if i should be pushing myself more to make it read say 155

  • You really need to know what your max and resting HR are for this type of training to be useful. I have slowly , over a period of time, worked out that my max HR is around 160 and my resting is around 50. From these two figures, the 5 different training zones that are regularly quoted in books and the Internet seem to work out well for me

    For example - with the above min and max numbers - 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% and 100% exertion rates come out to 116, 127,138,149 for me - and I can relate to these figures when I train. In other words, the kind of effort I perceive at these numbers seem to correlate to what it is said that they should be -- so for me 60% (116) is about as slow as I can run, 70%(127) is a good number for me to do a long run , 80% (138) is a fair pace at parkrun and a fastish pace during training, 90%(149) is a HARD effort for me and is what I am at at around the 4Klm mark of a parkrun, - and over 149 to 160 is the final effort for me during a VERY HARD finish to a park run :)

    I have to admit that it has taken me some time to come up with these numbers - and who knows how accurate they really are . But they are close enough for me - I think - for my "sub-maximal" training!! :)

  • How did you work it out Bazza

  • There are a number (about 7) different "formulas", compiled after various "studies", which give a number for age based HrMax. I worked all these out - and took an average - then I watched my max HR during hard finishing parkruns - and came to the conclusion that my maxHR is around 160. It is only what I would call "an intelligent guess" -- but the number seems to work for me. Resting HR can of course be taken early morning.

    Personally I take a measurement of my "resting " HR while standing quietly -- we want to know %'s of our Heart Rate reserve ( that is the "working" HR between resting and maximum. I like to think that my "resting" condition is standing - and not lying in bed!! :)

  • I think it is also find that it is important to understand what anaerobic and aerobic training is. I find that very roughly when you start to get out of breath you are running in an anaerobic manner. You can also map it using heart beat monitors so again you know when you are running anaerobically and aerobically. Then it is a matter of understanding the benefits of these types of training.....very roughly aerobic helps stamina and anaerobic helps speed...its then a matter of training accordingly . I know that i have over simplified it but hopefully it will help.

  • I think you are pretty close in your understanding. However the use of the words endurance, stamina and speed are often interchanged. Personally, I regard endurance as being the ability to "endure" a distance (that is without any consideration of pace) - hence I can endure walking 10K , but I can't endure walking 50K :) Stamina is for me the ability to "race" a distance - that is to "endure" the distance at a specific pace. And speed is the ability to "sprint" at the end of a race. There are generally 5 recognised HR zones which correlate with 50-60%, 60-70%,70-80%,80-90% and 90-100% of either HRmax or HRR ( Heart Rate reserve) . Zones 1 through 3 are aerobic - and are used mostly for obtaining endurance - Zone 4 is anaerobic and is often used to increase VO2 max ( which is the maximum ability to use oxygen) and is what is used to train for a race where you need maximum stamina - and zone 5 is used to train for speed ( and thus only really used in the very final part of a race or to overtake somebody during a race)

    For people who are not into racing, zones 1 through 3 are the prime training target with different purposes for each zone - but zone 4 is still good value to improve cardio fitness even though it is "anaerobic"

    I seldom get into zone 4 and 5 when I am training -- but I really should. I did when I was training for a 10 K earlier this year - but since training for a HM, I haven't been anywhere near those zones except for when I run at parkrun.

  • I have a HRM, with a strap thingy, but to be honest the whole HR monitoring thing bores me to death as I don't really know what the figures mean. I do understand the training zone thing but at the end of the day we know if we're working to our max cos we're knackered.

    I think it's just another set of stats to get neurotic about so I'm not that fussed with it all

  • But the point of HRM training - is that we are NOT SUPPOSED to train to our maximum. We are supposed to race to our maximum - and training to our maximum prevents us from reaching our max during a race (overtraining, fatigue, etc) . Hence use of a HRM allows us to train properly in the correct training zones. It is all counter-intuitive, to do this, I know -- but it is what all the running trainers say.

  • Here is quite a good basic understanding of what HRM training is all about and why we need to exercise at slower paces and heart rates.

  • Thanks Baz! I have a Polar HRM, which my husband bought me thinking it was a running watch. Talk about the blind leading the blind!

    I think most folks are like me. They get this stuff with no real idea of what to do with it, and/or are insufficiently motivated to find out.

    I've not been completely dopey though and have put the results into Goodrunguide and they've crunched the data and come up with a graph of my av and max, and come up with my training zones. I checked it this evening, prompted by your post. I entered into it my RHR and they tell me I'm in excellent health. I understand that you need to check your RHR regularly. I've not done my HHR yet though. It's on my to-do list. OMG! The tyranny of stats! I don't naturally gravitate towards numbers I'm afraid

  • I think I must be doing something right too - either that or I am VERY sick!!! I tested my resting heart rate over the weekend and it has fallen to 47. I don't know whether to gloat about that -- or go and see a Doctor!!! :)

  • That's not even on the chart Baz! I just checked. Test it again tomorrow just to see if it's a blip

  • Hi bazza

    I have just bought myself HRM. I worked out my MHR by subtracting my age from 222, which gave me 152. I have done three runs 5, 6 and 8k and on each run my average HR was 150. I wasn't pushing myself they were nice and comfortable. So have I got the MHR right?

  • That formula is universally regarded these days as inadequate and inaccurate. :) - and even IF it was accurate, it would still be only an "average" for any particular age , with a wide variation above and below that average . If the "average" of your runs is 150, there is NO WAY that your max HR could be 152. !! Do you do parkrun??? You may be able to get a better idea of your max HR by pushing VERY hard over the last 500 metres or so -- you can seldom get anywhere near your max HR when just running alone.

    EDIT - I think that perhaps you have calculated incorrectly anyway -- you don't look 70 to me!! :)

  • Thanks Bazza

    I am doing a park run at the end of the month so I will try and up my pace as suggested. I did calculate wrongly but only by two years!

  • What "formula" were you using ?? If it was the 220-age formula, you still wouldn't get 150 ( unless you are 70??) :)

  • But that is precisely what my understanding of HR training is all about. IF you do have an elevated HR for some reason , then the HRM tells you this and you can then not overdo the training . So called "feel" is very subjective.

  • Did some number crunching Baz, which is unusual for me. I am doing workouts (exercise DVD) while using a heart rate monitor, supplied kindly by my OH. Not getting the most of it, and spurred on by your discussion about heart rates, I worked out some averages for the work I've been doing

    These are the averages across 30 days:-

    Average heart rate - 116 BPM

    Maximum heart rate - 159 BPM

    In the zone - 15:37 minutes

    Calorie burn - 138

    I still don't really know if this is healthy for my age which is nearly 58. I feel ok, so I'll assume it is

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