Sorry about the long post but I'm bewildered by all the conflicting information available on heart rate training. I'm hoping that you can clear up my confusion.
I am a 49 year old recreational jogger. I've only ever run one race two years ago for the experience. A 10K that I did in 1 hour exactly. Although I 'trained' regularly for it, there was no real plan to what I did.
I have entered a half-marathon to give myself some motivation for training and this time decided to get a little more 'scientific' about it. To get a training plan that fitted with the time I had available before the race, I chose a custom plan from myasics. This focuses purely on pace based upon my 10K achievement. It categorises training sessions with words like jog, build-up, fast and comfortable to describe specific paces and describes how hard you should be breathing. I am attaining the specified paces and have been using a heart rate monitor to just check I'm not doing anything stupid.
I estimated my MHR using the formula 217-(0.85*age) = 175. My resting HR is currently 58.
The current phase of the training plan is supposed to be getting me to run faster. On my last 'fast' 5 mile session, the target pace was 10:34 - 9:55 min/mile. I averaged 10:27 and my average HR was 151 which is within my 70% - 80% of WHR. I found this quite comfortable. I have done the same distance at faster paces within 80% - 90% of my WHR but found that hard work, not enjoyable and I was very tired afterwards.
1. Given that I'm supposed to be getting faster, should I be training in the more demanding 80% - 90% zone?
The next phase of the training plan is to get running further followed by a race simulation phase that combines distance and faster pace. Finally there is a tapering off before the race.
The target race pace of this plan is 9:54 min/mile that I will build up to over the next few weeks.
2. What % of WHR should you be running the half-marathon race in? Since I'm finding it hard to sustain 80%-90% of my WHR, I don't want to attempt to go off at that pace and threaten my chances of finishing.
I'm confused because I did wear an HRM during my 10K and found my HR to be off the charts for long periods of it.
3. I've also noticed that when I do longer 'comfortable' runs of 7.5 miles, my HR tends to climb toward the end of the session even though my pace is slowing. Is this a sign that I'm running out of energy and should be scoffing some of these gel things that I read about?
Thanks a lot in advance for any advice.