Friday, January 4, 2013

Heart Rate - Part II

By 9:30am on January 3rd, I already had two runs under my belt for 2013. This isn't any more or any less than I would normally do but I still felt rather virtuous about it.

Anyway, on to the heart rate report. 

Tuesday morning I went for an 8k easy run. Easy runs, according to my heart rate research, are supposed to be run at 70-75% of my max heart rate (which is 186). Using the magic Karnoven formula, 70-75% of my MHR is 146-152. 

So I hit the road with two goals. Run 8k and don't let my heart rate go above 152. I met one of my goals and failed rather miserably at the second one. 

I started off at my usual 6:15 min/k pace but realized pretty quickly that I was going to need to slow down. I slowed, my heart rate dropped to, oh, 160 beats per minute. I slowed some more and it hovered around 158. 

I was now running 7:00 min/k and felt like I was hardly working. Part of me felt ridiculous running so slowly that I wasn't even out of breath. Part of me couldn't believe that, according to my heart rate, I was still running too fast. 

It took me just over 54 minutes to run 8k. Normally it would take between 48 and 50. My average heart rate for the entire run was 159 beats per minutes which was, apparently, still too fast. I just couldn't seem to get it down to the magic 70-75% zone. On a positive note, I finished the run full of energy and ready to do it again. 

Here is a little look at my heart rate during the run. Beats per minute on the y axis and distance on the x. 

(The drops in HR were when I had to stop at traffic lights and, at 4k, when I stopped for a good ol'fashioned nose blowing). 

Perhaps that's part of it? Easy runs shouldn't be tiring - they are just about moving the body and getting it ready for, say, a Thursday morning hill workout.

Thursday morning, I woke up, strapped on my heart rate monitor, bundled up and headed for the hills with Doug. We are lucky as we have a perfect training hill two minutes from our house. We trotted over and started the workout. He does a different workout than I do. My technique is to run the distance of three telephone poles and then head back down. Then I add one telephone pole each time until I eventually reach the top of the hill. It takes nine trips up and down to do that and each one is more exhausting than the next. The entire workout is just under 5k and takes about 40 minutes (including rest breaks). 

For hills and other interval workouts, I am supposed to keep my heart rate at 90-95% which is 172-179 beats per minute. 

I am happy to report that I was much more successful with this than I was with Tuesday's easy run. The first hill, I peaked at 169 but it wasn't very high so I wasn't too worried. The next one I hit 172 and then climbed steadily up with each repeat. My highest was 178 and that was when I was pushing it at the top of the last climb. Every repeat, other than the first easy one, was exactly on target. 

Not bad. Although I have no idea what it would take to get me to my max heart rate of 186 considering how hard I was working on those hills...

Saturday I am scheduled to run 12k which I think qualifies as a long run...which I think means I have to keep my heart rate at 70-75%. Based on the pace I was running on Tuesday, it means it will take me about three hours. 

If anyone out there (Jeff?) can confirm whether or not I really do need to run that slowly, I'd appreciate your insight before I pull on my shoes on Saturday morning. 

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm late responding (sorry) but yes, you really are supposed to run that slowly/easily. And, yes, I have trouble doing it, too. All I can say is that I find it useful to wear a HRM and have it remind me that I'm working too hard and slow me down a bit.

    Getting away from treating training as racing (even racing myself or the perceptions I imagine other people have) is a very tricky thing to do.