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Heart Rate Training For Running.

New to tri, 42 years young, just purchased Garmin heart rate monitor. My max HR is approx 190, rest is low, approx 38, but when running at a comfortable, but strongish rate, heart rate settles at 175-180 bpm. I've been told I should be training at a much slower heart rate, but if I keep to around 160 bpm I hardly feel I'm working, and am only running at a 5+ min/Km rate. I want to train at around 4.30 to 4.45 min/km rate but am a bit worried that my heart will be going ballistic.
I would be extremely grateful for any advice. Thanks


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Just a few questions before serious comment can be made

    1 what is your running background?

    2 Do you have PBs at say 10km, 10mile, 13.2mile?

    3 How do you know your max HR is 190?

    4 When you run 175-180 can you hold a conversation?

    5 How long do you run at 175-180?

    6 How did you decide that training pace should be 4:30 to 4:45?

  • Hi, thanks for the reply

    Running background? Limited, played squash at a high level, had knee issues, so deicided to take up tri instead at the end of last summer (wife started two years ago). Therefore, fit, but not so much running background.

    Do you have PBs at say 10km, 10mile, 13.2mile? As new to running, I only have one 10km comparison at 48:50, not a race, just a training run

    How do you know your max HR is 190? In my school gym (teacher) I went on running machine, ran for 3 mins fast, rested for 1 min, ran 3 mins again, peaked at 185bpm, but felt I could have gone faster but my Head of PE wouldn't let me. (health and safety)

    When you run 175-180 can you hold a conversation? I can hold a sort of converstation, but not easily.

    How long do you run at 175-180? About 7km

    How did you decide that training pace should be 4:30 to 4:45? After running at 5:00 min pace, finding it reasonably ok, wanted to set a training target.

    Working towards sprint tri's this summer therefore maximum run I think will be 5km. Now that I've seen the questions, it's pretty obvious I am a complete beginner. I've always loved sport and always enjoy the technical nature of different activities. After speaking to my head of PE he advised that I get some more qualified advice about training zones. We were woking on the 220 minus age etc. It just seemed that if I was to train at the advised bpm I wouldn't get any faster. Then again I don't want my heart to explode either. If it wasn't for the Garmin, I would have had no idea how fast my heart was beating. Sorry if I'm wasting your time, but I would love some guidance.

    Many regards.
  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Hope this helps,

    Running background? Limited. Suggest you need to do a number of runs per week. A long steady run of at least twice your race distance. Therefore for Sprint Tris do 10 to 12km max. This should be run at a pace at which you can hold a conversation. This will develop your: ability to burn fat at a given pace; glycogen storage, increased capiliary density for more oxygenated to get to the working muscle cells and adaptions to fast twich fibres. In addition you will want a second weekly run of around 75% of that distance. This will be around 65-75% of HR max. Say 133 to 154bpm (based on the 205max - see below)

    Do you have PBs at say 10km, 10mile, 13.2mile? 10km comparison at 48:50. A lot of "club" runners would be satisfied with that sort of pace in a race irrespective of training background.

    How do you know your max HR is 190? In my school gym 185bpm. I would suggest that the test was flawed and that a longer & more intense session may have got you into the range of 200-205max. THe trst was relatively short so wouldn't have stressed you to the max and in three minutes your heart rate would not have plateaud.

    When you run 175-180 can you hold a conversation? Sort of. Endurance work is conversational. If your sentences were limited to around 6 syllables, your breathing was going a bit ragged and your legs were burning a bit then you were working just above lactate threshold (LT). In most runners this is around 80 to 90% of HR max. 175/205=85%. You therefore have quite a bit of overall fitness from your squash days. To play at a high level indicates a degree of genetic advantage.

    How long do you run at 175-180? About 7km. For a third run I would suggest 10 min warm up followed by repeats of between 1.0 to 3.0km at 175-180bpm with a recovery of around 30% of the repeat. Total time running at 175-180 should be around 20 to 30 minutes. Much more won't have much benefit for your race distance. Running at LT will: increase the size & number of mitochondria in your muscle cells, increase aerobic enzyme activity, further increase capilliarisation and increase the amount of myoglobin in your muscle cells. In short you will be able to run harder for longer.

    Your should alternate this LT run on a weekly basis with what are commonly called VO2 max intervals. After a good warm up run repeats of 600 to 1000m at 92-95% of HR max. These can include hills. Recovery should be 50-90% of the repeat time. Total volume should build over time to around 4 to 6km. These are very stressful so don't do too many and consider leaving them alone until your second year of running. Use them with great care. They really stress the cardiovascular system and help muscle motor unit recruitment.

    How did you decide that training pace should be 4:30 to 4:45? 5:00 min pace reasonably ok. Training at the three intensity levels will bring on your running far more than running satisfyingly hard all the time.

    Hope this helps

  • Harry,

    Many thanks for all the advice. All taken on board, the new training regime starts now! Just one additional question, if running at the suggested 133 - 154 bpm is really slow, should I speed up or just keep plodding along?


  • BarGolfBarGolf Posts: 10
    Keep plodding!

    It'll feel slow, but it is working. I've done loads of zone 2 training for my 70.3, initially I was put off by the speed (or lack of), but after a few weeks of long slow runs my pace increased again while my HR stayed low. I was concerned I'd have forgotten how to run quickly - but that hasn't been the case.. if anything I'm quicker now and I can focus on shorter speed sessions which are more effective and reduce the risk of injury.

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Matt - spot on
  • marriotmarriot Posts: 4
    That's really drasting condition that your HR is 190... Are you sure that it is really the same one.... I can't believe that buddy... Just check it by some one specialist one physician first....
  • Marriott

    What are you on about

    My max HR is 212... Should I go to the Dr's too !?
  • jamewahjamewah Posts: 113
    212 !!???

    I would . . .
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