Heart Rate running – is it worth it?

I have decided to write a Blog on Heart Rate running and my take on it.

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For most runners they are under the impression that they should run full speed at all times because that will make them go faster and running at a slower pace will slow you down. Well this is not the case, why not try heart rate running. It is very simple and all you need is a running watch and a heart rate monitor.

So what is Heart Rate running? Well the key is to find out your maximum heart rate while running. This can be done by a VO2 test in a lab or by running for ten minutes as fast as you can with a heart rate monitor and then take the max from there.

So what’s next once you have your heart rate max?  Heart rate running is very good and if you find your 60% to 70% of your heart rate max you can be improving at a faster rate then just speed training alone. Long runs at 60% to 70% can make a huge benefit by teaching your body to not burn carbs and burn fat to make you more efficient. This therefore can make you quicker. Last year I spent most of my training doing these long runs that proved to work. At the same time by making you more efficient it will improve your running economy.

What is running economy? Running economy (RE) is typically defined as the energy demand for a given velocity of submaximal running, and is determined by measuring the steady-state consumption of oxygen (VO2) and the respiratory exchange ratio. If you don’t know what VO2 is please read my old blog about VO2 (Here)

A lot of marathon runners use this because instead of pounding away for 13 miles on a long run for example they can go longer at an easy pace and wont feel tired the following day. The key is to train at less intensity on a long run which will teach you to burn fat but also make you recover quicker. Many people struggle with the pace because it is a lot slower than they normally run and if you run up hill you need to run slower in order to keep the heart rate down. Of course it is a must to keep the speed sessions up but by just slowing your speed down a little on a long run it can be a huge benefit.  I used to do a 13 mile run every Saturday at race pace which of course felt good but took me a few days to recover and my Half Marathon time wasn’t any better. Once I had changed my training and ran at 60% I found that if I wanted to do another long run the next day I could because the body felt fine and improved.

So my advice would be to try it for 6 weeks and see how it goes, if you don’t react to the training then at least you tried something new. But how should you train for HR? Well a simply guide can be by the distance or time in your run to be increased slightly for a three week period, with each week increasing. Then maintain the third week distance/time for a further 3 weeks and see if you have improved in a race. Let me know your thoughts and progress.

My conclusion is that it worked for me and still works, I am able o run longer and further and I do not feel as tired the next day. It has also helped me keep injuries away and I am still improving from this. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

 

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5 thoughts on “Heart Rate running – is it worth it?

      1. For years I ran without a watch, its only in recent years with new technology I have become more intuned with what I should pay attention to as an older runner when looking at my HR before, during and after a run. One thing is for sure, old running principles have not changed. It is important before any run with or without a watch with HR to have a good warm up before putting your body under any pressure and after a tough run or any sport its good to have a cool down with friends.

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