Heart Rate Running Training

Heart rate running training might very well be the smartest and most effective thing you can do for your running progress. Training by heart rate is not only an objective way of controlling your running intensities; it’s also a very effective way of monitoring how well your body is responding to your training. Listening to your heart rather than going by feel removes your personal judgement from the mix and tells a true story.

Heart rate running training is like training with a personal coach that you take along with you for every run. So, why is running training by ‘feel’ not good enough?

It’s no secret that your brain controls your body and your training motivation levels. With this in ‘mind’ there can be quite a gap between what your mind perceives your body is capable of depending on your mental state. Specifically, if you train strictly by ‘feel’, you run a high risk of doing one or both of two things: Under training or Over training.

Consider the following common running training scenarios.

After a long day at work, you may be feeling mentally or even physically tired. Your training program still prescribes a 7 mile tempo run, and so you must find the motivation to get your run done. Going into your run with this attitude can set you up to under perform. You might feel sluggish, your legs like stumps…you’re tired! However, if you were to monitor your heart, it’s quite possible that what’s going on inside your body might tell a different story. Often you’ll discover that, while you might think you’re working hard, you’re not even in your goal training zone for that workout. In the case of executing a successful tempo run , running within your proper lactate balance heart rate zone is absolutely critical and running even 5 beats per minute lower will be counterproductive. In order to adapt and progress as a runner, it’s important to apply the right training stress as prescribed by your chosen training program. Under training brings you up short of applying the ideal training stress and basically amounts to logging ‘junk’ miles; not an efficient use of your training time!

Sticking to a training program for months takes dedication and focus. Part of this dedication involves making a personal commitment to make your daily runs a priority. All runners want to show up to an event knowing that they’ve done everything during training to meet they’re goals. It’s no wonder that this focussed mind set can make it very difficult for a runner to monitor themselves and know when it’s time to back off on the pace or take a much needed day off. Some obvious signs of overtraining include a regular daily fatigue, slower interval splits, chronic leg soreness and elevated heart rates to list a few physical signs. One classic sign of overtraining is an elevated waking heart rate. What is considered a 'normal' resting heart rate ? For runners it can be as low as in the range of 40 to 60 bpm!

You might also regularly experience a higher heart rate than usual for any given effort which might also provide you with a clue that you are overtraining. The key message is, if you are regularly heart rate running training you will have the awareness and ability to know when you need more recovery time and less intensity. This will ensure that you are taking it easy enough on your recovery days and going hard enough on your hard days.

To nail your individual training zones, be sure to check out two important pages. The maximum heart rate page followed by the target heart rate chart.

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