Couch to 5K
52,615 members84,701 posts

HIIT & still learning

As I have been running aimlessly since graduating 2 weeks ago, I thought I would look at a 5k training plan & found the Race for Life plan. On it is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I have done it before but a looooong time ago so thought I would give it a go. Read through an article about it, heart rate should be 85% of maximum as working above this has no health benefits and may lead to injuries. Downloaded a superb app which uses my phone's music, set the limits and went out. Result? It is an excellent interval timer and it has made me realise that I since graduating, I have been running too fast. It has made me slow down my pace and accept that I am running at the correct pace for my age and that running faster at the moment will just get me to the injury couch. I have no doubt that as my fitness levels increase, I will get faster but that at the moment I am being too impatient. Still, at least I have set a baseline and have a goal to achieve. :)

6 Replies

I should have said how I calculated my heart rate as that may be useful to you all. It's easy - just deduct your age from 220 so as an example - here's mine.

220 - 55 = 165 (which is 100%) then I calculated 85% which is max heart rate 165 x 0.85 = 140

A check of my heart rate found I was easily getting up to 159 so had to slow my pace right down until I got it around 140 - took a little while but I got there in the end. :)

There are online calculators that will work your max & percentage heart rates if you don't want to do the maths. x


I think the equasion is helpful as a rough guideline but for many people (including myself) it is not accurate. Otherwise I'd be running with a heart rate close to a 100 % most of the time :D Just something to keep in mind.


It just gives an idea & I usually run with a pulse rate of 140. Another way of checking your exercise rate is to check if you can carry on a conversation without being out of breath - if you can't then you're running / exercising too hard.

1 like

Good stuff.

The generic 220 minus your age calculation for your maximum heart rate is, I am afraid pretty much unusable and there is no substitute for actually measuring it. Bear in mind your resting heart rate and your lactate threshold will change as you get fitter. I know a very fit gent in his late 60s who has a maximum HR of 210 for example.

There is always the risk of taking these things too seriously (I am a complete stats geek!) but if you have a birthday (or other special occasion) coming up, maybe lay some hints that you would like a device (Garmin, Fitbit etc.) that has GPS and an in-built optical heart rate monitor. 🎁


Hi Dunder - I'm afraid I too am a bit of a geek lol. I recently updated my Fitbit to one those all singing and dancing Fitbit thingies that has GPS, Heart Rate monitor, etc. Keeping my pulse around 140 - 150 (it's a radial pulse so not quite as accurate as an apex beat count) means I can run without being too breathless. Monitoring my HR meant that today I slowed my pace down because I had a suspicion that I had increased my running pace too fast too soon. All good though, because I went out & ran :D


That's all sounds good.

Running intervals used in tandem with your HIIT (when you feel ready, of course) would be a very effective way of improving your aerobic capacity. Yasso 800's are my personal favourite (repeats of 5 minutes at an easy pace followed by 800m at threshold pace) They are really hard work, though.


You may also like...