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Easy Run

Hey there everyone.  Newbee here and have a frustration I want to share with the group.  I am working through a running plan from Garmin.  On the easy run day it tells me to stay in Heart Rate Zone 2.  Here is my frustration.  In order to stay in Zone 2 I almost have to walk.  It is a very very very slow run and more of a brisk walk pace.  I feel that I am not getting the benefit out of this.  Is this a solid approach and I just need to calm down?  Or is this a general concern?  Thanks everyone..


  • I had the same problem -ended up abandoning Garmin and going with NHS couch to 5K, first to get running then the "5K+" to progress

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    I understand the Garmin zone 2 heart rate is 60 to 70% of max heart rate. Did you input your max heart rate or did your Garmin. If so how did you arrive at the number?

    Zone 2 should steady & conversational. The hard work comes elsewhere. It is sad but true that most athletes do their easy runs too hard and their hard runs too easy.

    You also need to take into account your running fitness. Be honest. If you are out of condition your pace will be slow for any given heart rate. As you become run conditioned you will run faster at the same heart rate.

    So max heart rate? Running condition?
  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    Christopher - many (myself included) aim for something approaching the 80/20 split for their training.  This means that 80% of training should be below 80% of max heart rate, and 20% above 90-95% of max heart rate.  The easy sessions should feel really easy - when I started this staying below 80% was stop/start (almost literally) but your body soon adapts and you will find that pace creeping up.

    The advantages of this philosophy are:

    1. Your body gets time to recover and build cardiovascular fitness in easy sessions where the risk of injury is very low;

    2. That allows you to hit the hard sessions very hard, i.e. if you don't feel like you're about to be sick at the end you probably haven't worked hard enough kind of hard.

    That's where real gains come from, building base fitness by running slowly has a huge impact on triathlon performance.  To give you an anecdote, alongside my triathlon training last winter I was run focused and training for Brighton Marathon.  At the start of my marathon block at the end of October I was running 5k in 19:06.  I stopped doing any speed work, my fastest runs between November and March were at/reached my target marathon pace (4:23 per km) my long slow runs were precisely that, I'd clock up 90 plus minutes at 5:30 pace but, come March I trotted back to my local Park Run just to see what speed I had lost with triathlon training in mind - I proceeded to run an 18:20, having not run a single km substantially faster than 4:23 for 4 plus months.

    Apologies for the long winded story but, contrary to popular belief, you really don't need to run fast in order to get fast and, over triathlon distances, most of us fall short on our endurance and not our outright speed.

  • I normally try to do at least 2 10k runs per week as well as Park Run

    On my 10k runs, I maintain a heart rate around 145 BPM, my 80% heart rate is 148BPM (top of zone 2) - I usually do a 10k training run in 50 mins. For parkrun, I generally go fast, my average HR is around 165 BPM and I complete 5k in around 22 mins.

    I have found that I have been getting faster and faster, even though my HR remained constant. According to Garmin, in October 2015 my average running HR was 150 BPM, and my average pace was 6:34 min/km in September 2016 my average running HR was 140 BPM and my average pace was 5:10 min/km.

    To measure how my fitness has improved, I calculated my pace in km/h divided by HR and found that it has improved by 37% over the past 12 months - I maintain a track of this by month and the increase is almost a perfect linear fit


    The biggest surprise for me was my half marathon pace - In October, I did a half Marathon, I was able to maintain a HR of 163 BPM and broke my 5k and 10k PB.

    I would check your max HR to make sure that your Zones are correct, you should be able to run at a respectable pace even in zone 2


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