A run of new things, and heart rate

A run of new things, and heart rate

I tried lots of new things on my run this morning:

New socks - More Miles San Diego, very comfortable

Running in the rain - Very cold and unpleasant, will try to avoid in the future

New side of the road - Who would have thought it could be such a different experience on the other side of the road?

New silicon gel toe separator - Comfortable and blackened toe doesn't seem to be any more blackened

New workout feature on TomTom - Hmmmm.

The TomTom's had an upgrade and I can now pick workouts to try. The one I chose was speed 45 minutes. The aim is to keep within certain heart rate zones at different times during the workout run. I've never done any heart rate training before so thought it would be an interesting experiment.

The first thing that struck me was I was spending a lot of time looking at my wrist rather than looking out for dogs, squirrels, obstacles etc. I was concentrating on my wrist so much that I was starting to get a frown headache by the end. The other thing I noticed was that it wanted me to run slowly, very slowly. Even the "work" pace was a slower pace than I'd run 10 km. Then it told me to "rest". What? Walk slowly? Stop? It was flippin' freezing this morning so no way I was going to stop. I was even feeling cold during the slow running bits. Whish I'd put my gloves on.

It was a real challenge to keep my heart rate within the zones. I managed it only 66% of the time and had to walk during some sections to keep the rate low enough. I got overtaken twice by other runners! I can't say I enjoyed the run-walk, but I did learn from it, and it was good to do something different. I learnt that I probably need to revisit the HR zones I previously worked out. But how do I do this?

The formulae are wildly inaccurate for me: 220 minus my age = 175 but my actual measured fastest is 193. Other formulae aren't any closer. I'm not serious enough about running to pay to get my max HR calculated properly and when I've hit 193 it felt as much as I could do. I've tested my watch and its measuring accurately to within a couple of beats, though I haven't checked during a run, just afterward.

I'm not going to get into HR training seriously, I'd miss missing the squirrels and trees and other seasonal stuff due to staring at my watch for most of the time. But, as an experiment, does anyone have any suggestions? The image shows what I've got set on my watch at the moment.

21 Replies

  • I tried heart rate training ONCE a few years ago and couldn't keep in a low enough heart rate so my heart rate monitor was buzzing at me constantly. Maybe as I get fitter, it would work for me but at this point in my training, I have no interest in trying again. I know it serves a purpose, but it isn't for me at this point.

  • So sorry, no advice.... just bitterness 🤣

  • You need to know your Max HR for this sort of training and like you found out all the formulas are so inaccurate, my HR is way lower than any formula i have looked at.

    I was lucky that i had to have a health test for work and I managed to get the guy to give me a max HR test so i know mine is 159 give or take as this naturally changes depending on sleep and stress.

    But you can work out your own max HR if you want there are plenty of guides online just do a google search, but then why look at a watch when you can look squirrels I know which one I would prefer!

  • Squirrels are infinitely more interesting :-)

  • Maybe I am lucky that my forerunner 10 doesn't tell me my hr! I have been curious as to which zone I run in but would need to borrow hubs fr235 for that. Maybe ignorance and nature watching is more for me lol. Don't give up on the squirrel watching!

  • I would rather just run too.. I figure, if I feel good and cool down well.. it must be all systems go:)

  • This was really interesting reading as I’ve been having the exact same issue. My max using the formula should be 184 but my max on today’s 10 mile run was 194 and I averaged 167, which puts me at “overreaching” for most of my run. However, it was a very slow, steady outing today and a good 30 mins slower than my pb over the same distance. I’d have to be walking to keep my heart rate down low enough by these calculations....😬

    I don’t have any advice at all I’m afraid - but if it’s any consolation, I’ve found myself in exactly the same boat!

  • I've since done a bit more reading and it's common for amateurs to stop before their real max HR is reached. In other words, our real maximums could be a bit more than 193/4ish. But how much more is anyone's guestimate!

  • It looks way too complicated for my little brain I'm afraid. I like the idea of a toe separator - this might go on my Christmas list. I totally get the "other side of the road" experience. I ran one of my running routes the "wrong way round" and it felt like I was in a completely different place. Weird, isn't it. 😂

  • I have toe separators......for when I paint my nails..:)

  • The Yoga Body separators are like butch version!

  • The other side of the road was really strange. Next, I'm going to try running down the gentle inclines I normally run up.

    I got a Boots toe separator (pack of 2) because the silicon gel caps I was using weren't protecting my toe enough. I've also splashed out on a Yoga Body set of silicon toe separators. They take a bit of getting used to and I certainly couldn't run or walk any distance in them at the moment. But, the instructions do say they take time to get used to. My toes do feel rather nice and airy after using it for an hour do some gentle yoga. Weird.

  • I ignore the heart rate thing just log what my Garmin tells me it was as for years my rate during exercise has always been higher than its supposed to be. The formula for my age now means I'd probably never actually get to run as my theoretical max is well below what I run at without feeling as though Im doing too much.

  • Here is what I have found to be a realistic and practical way to find my various HR zones.

    Zone 1 EASY - really this is a RESTING/RECOVERY zone . Walk as hard and fast as you can on the flat for a couple of miles, keep the pace as constant as you can - then consider the average HR you see during this as the top of Zone 1

    Zone 2 Fat Burning - really this is an easy aerobic zone which you should spend 80% of your running time in. In terms of how you feel heart wise and breathing wise ( you "should" be able to do this almost forever - your legs will be the thing that would stop you here - this is your long run zone, marathon training zone) . You should be able to talk to your best friend in this zone as easily as if you were walking) , Walk as fast as you can and then increase the pace the smallest amount that you can to force yourself to start "running" comfortably with good running form - but remember that you will be talking constantly while doing this and you will be doing it for a long time. If you ever get to the stage where you feel that you can't continue talking without some breathing breaks, this HR number is the at the top of your Zone 2.

    Zone 3 - the grey "forbidden " zone where most amateur runners find themselves - it is too fast to be of benefit for aerobic conditioning and too slow and easy for anaerobic training. -- BUT - it is a comfortable fastish pace and this fact is why most people run/train in this zone. It lies between the aerobic training zone 2 and the next zone - Zone 4 ( 5k and 10K race zone)

    Zone 4 - the kind of average Heart rates that you get during 5-10K races characterizes this zone - the top of the zone would be a HR that you can maintain for at least one hour in a strong effort

    Zone 5 - PEAK zone - the latter stages of a hard 5K RACE. Your average hr over the last 1Klm of a 5k RACE and the peak number you see at the end of the final 100metre SPRINT to the finish line characterizes this Zone 5 - you can then use these HR numbers when doing fast short interval training .

    I have done a LOT of HR training - and finally found that it is really only useful for training in Zone 1 and 2 ( to keep myself in a conversational zone while running/training long distances) and to stop me from running in Zone 3. I have found that for me , using Jack Daniels training/racing pace calculator runsmartproject.com/calcula... , his training paces for various kinds of training runs based upon a recent 5K or 1 mile RACE time has been the way to go for me . Got me to a 2hour 23 min time for a HM in April this year - at age 70 :)

  • That's really useful, thanks Bazza. I wonder if it's possible to extrapolate HRmax from the zone 1 percentages? If the top of zone 1 is fast walk (and I walk pretty fast), and it is 60% of HRmax, then it should be possible to get a figure without running 'til I drop and getting the actual HRmax. I sense yet another running spreadsheet coming on!

    I've had a quick look at the URL you suggested and the definitions of interval, repetition etc. are really useful.

    Your time for the half marathon is really great! Well done :-)

  • I don't really think so - there are some things we can reasonably easily measure - resting HR - standing HR - walking HR - running HR at various levels of exertion (1 mile race, 5K race, 10Krace and longrun/easy) and MaxHR . If you plot those numbers on a graph you can get an idea of your personal HR profile, split them into 5 approximate "Zones" and train according to those .

  • And I'll bet the resulting graph isn't linear!

  • There is a science to running which one can learn from to get quicker with less effort. I was running for months and months at the same time. The squirrels were laughing at me. People are either under or over training. One only needs to know ones body with a heart rate monitor then one can discard it and go back to watching the squirrels. It can be depressing if ones time stays the same year after year.

  • Yes, I found that just after completing c25k. It seemed to take me ages to beat that 30 minute barrier. In the end I concluded that I needed confidence to run faster. Confidence that I could still finish 5km, even if I was red in the face and felt like I was going to expire. I haven't done enough 10kms to get to that point yet.

  • Sounds all very complicated to me 😬 (numbers and maths not one of my strong points 😉)

  • It amazing how quickly what we learn is school leaves us if we don't use it, but that's what Google's for!

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