Monday, May 23, 2016

My first attempts at heart rate training. . .

Hey all . . .  I hope you had a great weekend!  I think some of those very few of you that read this blog found me from Katie.  If you follow Katie you know she's been doing 80/20 training and the 80% is following heart rate training.  I also follow Stephanie and she's getting her feet wet with HR training too. 

The idea here is to keep your HR at or below you MAF (maximum aerobic function).   This stops your body from going into anaerobic function.   Take what I say with a grain of salt because I'm not totally sure I understand, nor have I read very much in detail about this.  However, I look at this at training your heart.  :)   The idea is that over time you will be able to run faster within you MAF heart rate.  My heart rate is 148.  

180 (base number)
- 37 (my age)
+5 (I have been training for 2+ years with improvement and without injury)

I will admit that I have to run really really slowly . . . kind of a wog if you will (walk/jog ha ha ).   And I read this is normal.  The first mile will be the fastest cause once your HR is up, it's up!  Some people struggle with how slow you have to go.  The first time I tried this, I wanted to see just how low I could keep my HR and still kind of run . . . I was at 160.  I thought "holy cow, 148 is going to be impossible!"  I was sure 148 was my number.  I double checked and yup, that's my number. 

So. . . here's my first HR run where I walked or sloooooooowed way the heck down when I went over 148. 

My avg pace for 4 miles was 13:20!   In general my avg pace is 11:00 - 11:20!   I did this in the town where  I work, so that meant lots of little hills.  Hills really pop up your heart rate!  I also learned that breathing deep, slow and long really helps the heart rate.  The time went by so fast because I was doing something different and challenging. 

The next day I did the exact same thing.  I also got smart and set my Garmin to beep when I went over 148.  But I had to watch it drop cause it did not alert me when I was back in range. 

So this time I had an avg of 147 bpm.  I had the same overall pace.  I think I got smarter about when I had to walk.  I learned what I had to do to get my rate to drop.  Sometimes my heart rate didn't want to drop very easily and I flat out had to walk really slow.  So I learned a few things about controlling it, but gosh it's hard.  It's almost impossible to find that steady pace / rhythm that keeps the heart rate steady.  I wondered if that was because of the hills? 

So the next day was Saturday and I woke up with some horrible sinus/allergy headache.  Not sure which but if I moved my head too fast I felt whatever was inside move.  Yikes!   That slowly went away and I decided I could do a 3 mile HR run.  My hubby came along and I warned him that it might be tedious.  I also tried not to talk to him too much.  It was tempting cause the run was *so* easy, but talking does inhibit my breathing and therefore the HR goes up!

So just a hair faster with 13:10 pace. . . on flat ground.  I really thought the pace would be a bit more different.   However, I did keep my HR at 146, so maybe if I had pushed it to have an avg of 148 I'd have had a faster pace.  But it's so up and down. . . and beep beep beep goes the Garmin!  Plus I'd rather not have too much time over the MAF range.  So I was happy with this.  

Where is this all going?  I have no idea.  I don't even know if I will keep doing this.  It's fun right now, but every run takes more time.  I'd like to try it for a month to see if I get a pace improvement withing my MAF.  But I don't know if I have the patience.   I haven't made any decisions.  

I was thinking of doing the 80/20 running that Katie is doing as I mentioned above.  You are suppose to have 80% of the *time* you run at as an easy run.  The other 20 can be speedwork.  Not sure I really want to sit down and figure out the time math.  But I thought if all my solo runs were HR runs, and my weekend run with my husband was "normal" then maybe that would be close enough to an 80/20 ratio? 

On Sunday I did run with my husband.  This was my 5th day in a row of running. And even though the previous 4 were "easy" (the first was that attempt at how slow can I go which didn't keep me in my MAF range so I didn't post it here). . . . that's still miles on the legs.  So I was a bit done for on Sunday.  I had that head issue again in the morning, but didn't really realize it till we started running.  Every step I took made my head pound.  Thankfully that went away in the first mile.  I had to take a brief walk break in the last mile. . . 

Those are my splits and my avg HR was 167. .  which is way out of my MAF range.   But again 80/20 right?  We'll see!

I just thought I'd share my experience here.  Keeping your HR withing aerobic function is suppose to be good for the body.  It's also suppose to encourage more fat loss I think.  I'm all for that!   I have read that there's a "junk" heart rate that doesn't do your body any good.  So at the very least this is shaking up my HR.  It's also easier on my body since the pace is slower.   But ultimately I'm not sure where this I'm going to go with all of this yet.  Does anyone else have experience with heart rate training? 


  1. I did not low heart rate training a few years ago when I was training to run the NYC marathon. It certainly made running a lot easier! I didn't really stick with it for very long simply because my long runs were becoming insanely too long. I should look into trying it again this summer.

    1. After my run today - 3 miles at about 78 degrees and humid. . . I'm going to have to postpone this till fall/winter. I don't have time at lunch break to fit in runs this slow. I was over a min/mile slower than the runs posted here. I don't have time! Such a bummer.