Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Guest Post: Heart Rate for Running Pat Walsh

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Guest Post: Heart Rate for Running Pat Walsh

** Heart Rate For Running ** 💕💓💞

Hope this is of some help. It may not be for everyone and that is fair enough. Also there are many different theories and takes on this, this is just my effort and may not be what everyone else believes in.

First and foremost you need to know what your own Maximum Heart Rate is.

One rule of thumb to give a rough idea is 220 minus your age. So a 40 year old would have a Max of 180. This is general and can be different in many runners with higher or lower values. Don't be surprised to be 10 beats higher or lower.

You could go to one of the many testing labs where they will test you and give you an accurate figure.


Go to a 5K race, run hard for 2 miles and then flat out for the last one. You Heart Rate as you cross the line will be as close to max as you need. 😱😱

So now that you know your Max then you need to know which zones you are working while training or racing.

Refer to chart / picture below and see where you fit in. Use your own Max Heart Rate, not your age, at this stage and see the Zones that you are working in.

Example of a runner with a Max of 180. (Please adjust for yourself. Msg me and I will do it for you) 

** Zone 1 ** VO2 Max: 90-100% :162 -180 

Max effort and you cannot stay in this zone too long. You should be getting there in training at intervals or tempo running and this is vital for improving. It is also where you will spend most of a 5K race and maybe last few miles of a 10mile race. You should NOT be in this during a Marathon. You will not have the capacity to convert any fuels into an energy form and so are in danger of hitting an energy low (The Wall)

** Zone 2 ** Anaerobic: 80-90% 144 -162 

This is where a lot of the hard work is done. This is a comfortably hard effort during which you can only say short, broken sentences. You should be here in tempo runs and for most races after warm-up. Careful in Marathons and Half Marathons as you will have limited energy supply. That is a reason for starting slow and getting up to pace later in the run.

** Zone 3 ** Aerobic: 70-80% 126-144 

Used for the bulk of training, this relaxed effort allows you to hold a conversation. This is where a lot of long easy runs happen. Lots of training time in here but don’t stay here all the time. This is Saturday morning running group pace where all chatting and laughing. You can eat and drink in this zone and it will convert to energy.

** Zone 4 ** 

Weight control: 60-70% 108-126 This is a very comfortable effort used for warm-up and cool-down.. The reason it is called weight control is the amount of oxygen available from your lungs to help the energy process. So if running in this zone you can convert fat stores (love handles) into readily available energy to be used as you run. Useful at times to burn off old stores but the overall training improvement is not great in this zone.

Ok if you are still with me thanks. I could write more but it would be too detailed. Know your zones and when it is correct to be in each one for each training session and race. 

* Train in all the zones 1 to 4 each week for Maximum benefit. A slow run, some tempo or intervals and a nice handy long run will touch each zone in a given week.

* Don’t exclusively train in One zone ONLY as you will limit your improvement. Train for too long in zone 1 and 2, you will end up exhausted and injured

* Analyse your races and training runs and see where you were operating.

* Good Tip If you are used to seeing your HR steady on certain runs and one day it goes higher. This can be a sign the body is run down or about to get an infection or cold so be careful and mind yourself.

* Maybe on some run change from Pace to HR as the main face on your watch. Run according to the zone you should be in and don’t worry about the pace. It is a good way to run.

* HR is higher on hot sweaty days and lower on the cool days. It depends on body temperature and what it has to do to regulate. So very hot humid days you will not do what you intended as your HR is high and the body is working too hard.

*** Most important. Everyone over 40 should know their Max heart rate. You cannot be hitting the 95-100% too often. Personally when I hit that mark I slow down as not putting myself under that pressure. 

Rule 1 of running – Get home safely.

Hope that is of some help and not too detailed or too technical.

Have a good weekend

#pwr #keeponrunning

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