Heart monitor training help


I'm fairly new to running and started as an attempt to get fit as I was doing nothing before. I started with a beginner's programme (run/walk) and it was going well for a while. Then I went on holiday and the weather changed and I stopped running so regularly for a few weeks.

I'm now trying to get back into it seriously and want to run my local 10K on September 22nd. I decided to get a heart monitor to help my training after some advice from the instructer at my gym and checking out the forums here.

From what I've read, you're supposed to run at between 60% and 70% of your max heart rate... Or about 30 yards if you're me! That's right, I only get about 30 yards before the alarm starts sounding and I have to walk to get it back down. It took me 50 minutes to cover 3 miles on Sunday. Before I used the HM I could run about 2 miles without walking (granted I was puggled afterwards).

Do I have the correct idea? Is it 60-70 to develop stamina (which obviously I'll need). And if it is correct, do I have time (just over 6 weeks) to train for the 10K like this? I'm not too fussy about posting a quick time but I'd like to be under an hour.

Lastly, many people have recommended the Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot book but it's out of print - I can't get it anywhere. Can anyone recommend something else?

Sorry this post has been so long!



  • Tony

    This may not be very helpful but I honestly don't think using a HRM as a complete beginner is really tremendously helpful (cue about three million people telling me to shut up!) and are far better off relying on the "how you feel" test i.e. if the HRM tells you to stop after 30 yards but you feel OK then why stop?

    The other reason is that unless you have done an accurate test to determine your maximum - running at a percentage of effort may be based on an inaccurate figure. All people are different and aged based formulae reflect that - they are an average e.g. I have calculated my max at 195, but my age related max would be 183, a relatively significant difference.

    But mainly I would recommend at the beginner level doing all running using the "talk test" i.e. if you can hold a conversation whilst running then you are doing ok - other wise slow down a bit!
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Tony, just to back up Martin. Unless you know what your actual Max HR is it's better running based on how you feel.

    Once you do know your MHR then your monitor will be really helpful.

    Once you feel up to it you could ask your gym instructor to do a stress test with you, which should determine your max.
  • Hi Tony
    I recently bought John Parkers book from Amazon.co.uk(http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0915297256/qid=1028724554/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_19_1/202-6665281-6328666) - It's a fantastic book and worth getting.
    I'm also a 'new' runner and was given a HRM as a present and I use it more than I wouldv'e done without the book as I'm now trying to follow his programme.
    As Martin says, the book sresses the importance of determining your max HR and your lowest resting HR, so if you do the test that they have on this website somewhere, you should be able to get a good idea of what it is.
  • Thanks folks (BTW, Jinjer is Tony Marlow - changed my nickname),

    I found the test to find max heart rate on this site. I plan on doing that at the gym tonight. I'll probably take your advice and not pay too much attention to the HRM but can you tell me if I'm right about the 60-70 zone or should I be in a higher zone to improve enduance?

    Kaytee - I tried several places (including Amazon's marketplace) to get the book but they were all having to ask the publisher to reprint. I'll try Amazon (though they say they need to order) and see if I have any more luck.

    Thanks again.
  • Jinjer

    An alternative book I found useful was Precision Heart Rate Training by Edmund R. Burke PhD (Editor), Dave Scott

    This guide explains how to achieve peak fitness and performance with the help of a heart rate monitor. Leading authorities explain how to design and use training programmes for walking, running, cycling, in-line skating, multisport training, circuit training and group exercise.

    This book is available from Amazon

  • Jinjer

    I too find 60 to 70% incredibly slow. I need to run at approx 13.5 min/mile to keep to this, whereas I used to run at approx 11.5 min/mile on my 5 mile run (jog). Apart from backing up what others have said about your maximum, remember that there is a big difference between % of maximum & % of Working Heart Rate. WHR is maximum less your resting rate.

    On the plus side, I trained (!) at 60-70% for 3 weeks, then timed myself over a 2.1 mile course that I run regularly, this time ignoring my HRM. My time came down by nearly 2 minutes, from which I concluded that the slow running was certainly working for me.

    All the best

  • Tony, and anyone else who is interested, we have put on this site some excellent articles on HRMs.

    Try here for starters
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