Friday, April 17, 2009

Training with your heart

I have been focusing my training at the moment on my run. I have the Santa Monica Classic 5k coming up soon and I would like to be comfortable with this relatively short distance in a fairly quick time. The thing that I am noticing when I run however, is how high my heart rate is going.

With a bit of a calculation, it seems that I am running at about 90% of my maximum heart rate. This is well into the anaerobic zone, meaning that my body is not able to take in enough oxygen for sustained activity. For short periods this is not a problem, but for endurance events, this is not good.

Also, I am not even running at the pace that I would like to do the race in so things are likely to be worse still. After talking with some friends and doing a little research, I have found out that I need to do mainly training with a much lower heart rate.

This is the process of training at whatever level will keep my heart rate towards the top of the aerobic zone. This zone is between 70% and 80% of my maximum heart rate. This can all be calculated using the following link.

My desired heart rate works out to be about 148bpm. This is about 30bpm lower than my usual intensity which is a lot more than I thought it would be.

I did my first training run this morning using this guide and as expected, I was required to run at a much slower pace than normal. I started out at about 7mph and settled into a constant pace of about 6.5mph. Every so often I needed to adjust the speed by 0.1 in either direction, dropping down to 6mph at times in order to keep my heart rate constant. My average speed over a 20 minute period was about 6.5mph . That's at least 1.5mph lower than my previous running speeds and about 3mph below my desired speed.

My research tells me that if I keep this up for a couple of months, I should slowly see my speed increase with the same intensity. This is good news for me as I would love to be able to run 8mph comfortably within an aerobic zone. I believe it may take several years of this to really get up to speed but I am willing to do that for the improvements that I want.

I'll keep you posted on my developments. Fingers crossed.

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