First try at heart rate training

My training session today was 20 minutes. The aim was to get my heart rate up to 182 and then walk until it dropped to 166 and then run up to 182. I found it incredibly difficult to stay within these parameters. I was dropping far lower and then taking a while to get back up. I think this technique will need a bit more practise. It's made me realise that I only run at comfortably slow or as fast as I can for bursts of intervals. I hope this session will help me to regulate a faster pace.


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28 Replies

  • What is your purpose of getting your heart rate up to 182?- that is very high (depending on your age of course) -- but anyway even then, heart rate training is usually about training within a zone which is mostly quite low .

  • When I tested my max it recorded 221 and my resting is 65 so this was supposed to be 75% of working. Perhaps my monitor isn't very accurate.......

  • You seem to be having the inverse of my problem. I have only been using a HRM for a week and have discovered that I do most of my training at high intensity, according to the estimated max hr for my age. I assume your 182 is your max hr. Have you arrived at this by calculation or experiment?

    My next step is to establish my actual max hr, by running flat out for 3 minutes, recover with a gentle jog for 2-3 minutes followed by another 3 minutes flat out, which should raise my hr to its max. Alongside this, I need to establish my resting heartrate, while still lying in bed in the morning, to find out what my range is. I have gleaned all this from Runners World website which has a lot of useful info.

    I am sure this will give me some useful and usable stats to help my training but it does seem a long way from running free across the fields without a care in the world. We must be careful not to let all this technology get in the way. Once I have got some accurate base figures, I intend to only use the HRM once a month or so, to gauge any progress.

    Good luck. I hope you know what you are doing. I know I don't.

  • I wore the monitor whilst doing the runners world sprints and the highest recorded value was 221. I have a doctors appointment on Wednesday so will ask for advice then. I am taking various medicine which might be impacting this. I feel OK though so am not too worried!

  • There are a number of formulas online which have been developed by all kinds of organisations and researchers -- I have attempted to "average" them all out and everything points toward my highest heart rate being 165 ( as compared to the more traditional 220-age 67=153 ) .

    Looking at the table on the website you linked to, I am happy to work to that max of 165 as I have also done quite a bit of "perceived exertion" runs and the zones indicated in your table agree very closely to what I experience as I run. So - for me - a brisk walk takes me to about 99, a very slow and easy jog ( quite difficult to do) takes me to 116, a more comfortable and satisfying pace takes me to 132, pushing a good pace takes me to 149 and all out takes me to ( well I haven't measured that with the HRM , but it takes me into puking territory)

    So what I am trying to say that is I believe that table works very accurately for my experience. :)

  • It's a great idea to talk it through with your GP. I know I could quiz mine for a good half hour, but am fortunate enough to be in good health (it's all that running, you know) and I don't think they would take too kindly to me taking up appointment time. 221 does sound high, but as I have discovered, there is a wide range of variation. My highest reading, from a normal run came out at 185 when my estimated max for my age should be 162. However, this was a definite shortlived spike, coming two minutes after a two minute burst of pace and I am treating it with suspicion that it may be a false reading. My "sitting in front of a laptop", resting heartrate is about 50, so it seems I have quite a good range and seems to indicate that my heart is functioning efficiently. It really is fascinating stuff.

  • Well, all he is really saying is that we feel and are different every day. Somedays we are tired and reluctant - other days we are fit and enthusiastic. This would also be reflected in HR readings - just common sense.

    I think that what I have gained form my HRM is a betetr understanding of my own body. I can now recognise the various zones physically when I am in them and basically don't really need to use the HRM any more.

    The real question is - how long should we train in the different zones. ??

  • A Hard run can be hard by being fast or long :) So a hard run can be a long slow run or a short fast run both of which will be done at different heart rates :)

  • Interesting comments and post. I have been recently trying to train based on heart rate (rather than time). According to the standard formula my Max HR is 178. I've managed quite regularly (like Iannoda) that I get this up to about 182-185 by the end of most of my runs. I am having a full BUPA medical in September via my company so I'll have a proper VO2 Max and Max HR test on a treadmill (until puking point) so that will help me set my own "proper values". I had a heart scare a while back and all those tests came back fine so from a cardiology point of view I'm not worried about a slightly elevated rate.

    What is interesting is that I can keep my heart rate lower through the same level of exertion (compared to a few months ago). This is pretty much down to me getting fitter. My heart rate also drops by about 40bpm after 2 minutes of stopping. That said, everyone is different. The important thing is "if you still feel okay then a high heart rate is probably not anything to be overly concerned about". Bear in mind my level of advice is worth about as much as you paid for it and I'm by no means an expert... :)

    KittyKat - there's apparently some theory behind what your GP says and as my Garmin has all the fancy "FirstBeat" algorithms in it I naturally did some reading up on how it works with relation to the "recovery advisor". What happens on a "hard run" (long or fast) is that your heart gets tired and then if you try to go out the next day you'll struggle to get your heart rate up and feel tired... makes sense I suppose!

    I am regularly in "Race Pace" and "High Intensity" zones and I'm not sure I could slow myself down any further - it just seems to be right for me... Your mileage may vary! :)

  • Sounds like HR training is good for those of us who have ignored our instincts so long that we don't know what we are feeling when we feel it.

    Kind of like when I have driven on a cross-country trip in the Interstate/motorway. The first while, I find my speed drifting down to levels more appropriate for city driving, while at the other end, I tend to be keep creeping back up to intercity highway speeds once I am on the highway through town. That I am being passed by /speeding past annoyed drivers doesn't clarify my mistake as much as the glance down to the speedometer.

    The training may be best seen as teaching you how to control your efforts & read your body better, rather than an on-going method

  • You're probably right! I'm really new to running (4 months ago I started on C25K) so at 42 I have no idea how my body should feel when I run and no real idea (although MUCH more of one now thanks to this forum) about how to train effectively.

    Right now I'm focussed on finishing a 10K race at the end of this month - beyond that I really don't know but I'm sure it'll involve working on a really solid base of running for 3-6 months (including slower work) to get myself right into the "runners zone". By then I should know my body and instincts a lot better...

    All these gadgets are great but people ran way before we had them! :)

  • Until I can establish my actual max hr then I have to look at the tables, which indicate that even when I am running at a comfortable and sustainable training pace, I am in VO2 max zone, which can't possibly be correct. It seems I have a wide working range of heart function with my resting hr (measured before I got out of bed this morning) dropping as low as 44, but settling in the low 50s. My understanding is that this is a good thing and that having a higher heartrate when working hard is also nothing to worry about, if you feel ok.

    It would be useful for all of us to keep posting this heart rate stuff. Oh for a good old fashioned forum layout where keeping track of threads was much easier.

    Keep running, keep pumping.

  • Aussie -- have you heard of Phil Maffetone?? I reckon you are a prime candidate to use his marathon training technique -- you gotta get off the fast horse of yours!! :)

  • Interesting read (I'll read that after work fully).... So much to learn about running... I'm a newbie and I love it... One day I'll figure out what works for me. I'm getting better at it I think... :)

  • Okay - I couldn't resist and read more about this. If I read this right, the suggestion here would be (in my case) to train at around 123-133bpm. I can see why this would challenge traditional thinking as that would be a brisk walk for me. The point being made (I think) is that although that would be a brisk walking pace on the first few times out, that over a period of time (not very long I suspect) that it would turn into a light jog, then a faster jog and finally an return to "race pace" at that lower heart rate over a period of 5-6 months...

    That actually makes sense but I can see why it's somewhat counter intuitive... great stuff!

    So much to play around with now... :)

  • by jove I think he's got it :) well I hope so cos that's what I understand too and I am reading Phil Maffetone book at the moment

  • Very interesting to read all your comments, I'll let you know what my gp says tomorrow. My monitor is also very basic and it is skipping from a high reading e.g. 221 for a second and then 190 for a second so a better one may also be the way ahead. Hope you all enjoy your days at work!

  • That does sound like a connection and/or monitor issue... I doubt you'd jump 31bpm in a second... :) :) :)

  • Does your HRM use a chest belt?? If so, make sure it is quite tight and make sure you spit on the terminals nicely to get a good conductive link between your body and the terminals.

  • It is a chest strap but I do see that its quite difficult to get a good connection with a reinforced sports bra and ehrmm quite a bit of padding still round the middle. Perhaps there's a hrm more suited ladies out there......

  • What are you reading your rates on? a GPS watch or phone App? the reason for asking is that I read somewhere that if using a phone the wifi signal can interfere with the HRM

  • Its a strap / watch combo

  • I also have a strap watch combo -- I have occasionally had connection ( to me chest) problems . Occasionally as I am running , it goes to zero heart beats!! :) - and takes a few seconds to start up again. I used it a few days ago and it was giving me all kinds of stupid numbers- like 250- couldn't get it to work at all. I use earphones from my phone on my belt which go up under my shirt , across the HRM belt and out the neck of my shirt. So I pulled the earphones out of inside my shirt and it instantly worked. Don't know why it did that because I have worn it that way many times -- maybe it didn't like the particular music I was listening to?? :)

  • I don't have a doctor! I keep well away from em! I just run. If I have a heart attack then that's God's way of telling me to ease up. I'll cross that bridge if I ever get there

    happy running folks but lighten up do!

  • Yes-- I don't go much to Doctors surgeries either - they are always full of sick people and you can never know what you might catch!! :)

  • I steer clear of them too... this is a "once every 3 years" advanced health check paid for by my employer... as it includes a full fitness test, this time around I signed up.. :)

  • Go verdict I'm absolutely fine and there is no way the hr monitor can be working properly. I think I will go to a shop where I can try one out before parting with any more money.

  • Good news and a good idea!

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