Question about 80/20 Running and Heart Rate Monitoring

This is going to be a bit of a long post and is kind of complicated, but here goes.

So I recently read 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald and have been trying to incorporate the 80/20 rule into my training.

I bought myself a Polar watch with a heart rate strap and started by doing a 30 minute time trial which gave me an average of 169bpm for the last 20 minutes, which I put down as my lactate threshold. I then used this number to work out my 5 heart rate training zones.

Today I attempted another test in order to convert my various heart rates into corresponding paces. Unfortunately I found this to be very tricky and ended up giving up on it.

It's a little difficult to explain but basically I got my heart rate to the minimum number it had to be for zone 1, then tried recording the pace I was at before going on to do the same for the minimum/maximum of all 5 zones. The problem was that I just found everything a bit too inconsistent to be reliable.

I'm new to heart rate training so first I'll mention something that seems to be happen with every run. When I start out I feel like I have to run relatively fast just to get my heart rate into Zone 1. Then after a few minutes I feel like I have to force myself to slow down to avoid overshooting into the heart rate next zone.

In the 80/20 Running book Zone 1 is recommended for warmups and recovery runs. But it just seems really weird that I have to go faster at the very start of the run just to reach Zone 1 only to slow down significantly a few minutes later to avoid going into Zone 2. I know that fatigue over time is a factor but surely it shouldn't be making that much of a difference over the course of a few minutes.

Now because of this I wasn't sure whether to start my Heart Rate-Pace test feeling fresh or to run for awhile first to make it more reliable. I ended up jogging gently for about 5 minutes before attempting to get my heart rate to settle on the minimum for Zone 1, which is 127bpm by the way. Due to the lag that comes with measuring heart rate I found it tough to get it to stay on that exact number. I initially recorded my Zone 1 minimum pace as roughly 7:58 minutes per km. The problem was that I found that my pace had to be constantly up and down just to get my heart rate to stay on 127, which obviously makes the whole thing unreliable. I tried to continue onto the other zones and had the same problem. My minimum Zone 3 pace was even faster than my maximum Zone 3 pace, which makes no sense at all.

By this point I felt like I was having to run almost all out just to get to my maximum of Zone 3, and even then I think I only got to it running for a while rather than by going faster, which makes pace irrelevant and defeats the purpose of the whole test. After this I gave up as I didn't think I could even get into Zone 4 or 5 without running for ages. I believe the whole point of those last 2 zones is to use them for High Intensity Intervals, in which case you wouldn't be running at a fast pace for long.

Now I've begun to doubt how reliable my 30 minute time trial was in finding my lactate threshold. I say this because I should be able to get my heart rate into those higher zones without the need to run for ages if my lactate threshold is really 169.

Anyway sorry if this was overlong or sounded confusing. I'd really appreciate any advice anyone could offer. Also if anyone else uses the 80/20 method it would be great to know how you went about this.

Thanks in advance. :)

Comments

  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭
    That does sound complicated.   I've not read the book so can't help on your calculations for the various zones.

    But I do train by HR and have for years so know a bit about it.

    Are you using a wrist sensor HRM?  If so you need to get a chest strap and sync it with your watch, the wrist sensors are unreliable especially when you are changing pace.   They are only accurate when recording your HR at rest.

    For the various zones does the book give you what % of MHR each zone should be?   If so, you can do an MHR test and work out the zones with a calculator.


    When you set out for a run your heart has been at rest and will take some time to reach Zone 1, depends on your fitness how long it takes, but if you then get to desired HR and then go over then you are running too fast from the start.   For instance if I was doing a run at 65% MHR (recovery pace) it would take me half a mile to one mile to reach that HR, maybe even longer.
  • A few things to bear in mind:

    There's always a bit of lag with what appears on your heart rate monitor -so when you set off, It took a while for your heart rate to catch-up with your pace, and when it did it continued to rise because you were running too fast.

    Once your heart rate shoots above your target number, it can take quite some time to come back down, even after your breathing has returned to normal

    Your first mile is always a bit dodgy when it comes to heart rate monitors -just use it as a warm-up and then use it as a measure

    The very slightest thing can affect your heart rate, such as a very slight incline in the road or a bit of head wind. Or even heat.

    your heart rate in realtime as shown on your watch will vary constantly. Unless you're on a flat track it's never going to be on a constant figure (even then it's hard). Keeping it 'around about' is fine

    IMO the MAIN reason for using a heart rate monitor is to make you slow down! we usually run our easy aerobic runs too fast
  • Hi and thanks for the replay.

    I'm already using a chest strap and the book does indeed give percentages to work out your heart rate zones with, which I've already done.

    Where I'm getting stuck is converting heart rate to a corresponding pace. I should have mentioned this before, but the book recommends using pace rather than heart rate for higher intensity stuff, which is why I need to convert my heart rate zones into paces.

    I'm really just having a hard time getting my pace and heart rate to stay still together for long enough to get a reliable match between them.
  • One other thing I should ask is it better to be wearing the heart rate strap under your shirt or over? Would it make it more or less accurate either way?
  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭
    The chest strap must be worn next to the skin and comfortably snug.   Some wet the contacts when putting it on to ensure readings are picked up until sweat takes over.

    I don't know what level of fitness you have at the moment, but if you're starting out usually with HR training you would spend a longish period doing base training so there would be no high intensity stuff for quite a few weeks.

    With HR training as you get fitter you should be able to run faster at the same HR, so it seems daft to have set paces when IMHO if you're HR training then you run to the desired HR.

    If you're new to running with an HRM it takes a while to get used to it so I would suggest that you do a maximum heart rate test if you haven't done one already.   Calculate your zones from your MHR and start training to the zones.  You will soon get to know how to control your HR and in a few weeks you'll get to know what paces are right for you.   
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    I agree with Shades on this that it seems strange to set paces when it's your HR that you're looking to run to.

    I started doing heart rate zone training a few years back and I can honestly say it was the most frustrating training I have ever done. I had people walking faster than I was running just so that I stayed within the zone. But stick with it. After a short time it clicks and you then find your pace as you have to push yourself harder to get your HR up.
  • A really good thing to do every six weeks is a time trial -running a mile at 130, 140, 150 and 160 BPM. Do it on a track or similar flat course. Start by running slowly UP to your 130. Once stable at that, then start your watch and run for a mile KEEPING your HR stable. Then speed up a little UP to your next 140, and do the same. Do not look at your pace throughout, because it will be what it will be. However, afterwards, record your pace to HR.

    In 6 and 12 and 18 weeks do the same time trial. You should notice a faster pace to HR.

    Note: It's important to choose a day that is free from wind and rain or heat etc and that the weather for each time trial is a decent match. Also, don't do this on tired legs...do it after being well rested.
  • > @SHADES said:
    > The chest strap must be worn next to the skin and comfortably snug.   Some wet the contacts when putting it on to ensure readings are picked up until sweat takes over.
    >
    > I don't know what level of fitness you have at the moment, but if you're starting out usually with HR training you would spend a longish period doing base training so there would be no high intensity stuff for quite a few weeks.
    >
    > With HR training as you get fitter you should be able to run faster at the same HR, so it seems daft to have set paces when IMHO if you're HR training then you run to the desired HR.
    >
    > If you're new to running with an HRM it takes a while to get used to it so I would suggest that you do a maximum heart rate test if you haven't done one already.   Calculate your zones from your MHR and start training to the zones.  You will soon get to know how to control your HR and in a few weeks you'll get to know what paces are right for you.   
    Thanks for the tips.

    The reason I want to convert heart rate to pace is because heart rate becomes impractical for stuff like 30 second high intensity intervals because of lag. I should mention I've been running for a few years now and have run 6 half marathons, so at some point I'll definitely need to be doing high intensity stuff which I've already been doing a certain amount of in the past.

    > @SSLHP Shoes smell like horse piss said:
    > A really good thing to do every six weeks is a time trial -running a mile at 130, 140, 150 and 160 BPM. Do it on a track or similar flat course. Start by running slowly UP to your 130. Once stable at that, then start your watch and run for a mile KEEPING your HR stable. Then speed up a little UP to your next 140, and do the same. Do not look at your pace throughout, because it will be what it will be. However, afterwards, record your pace to HR.
    >
    > In 6 and 12 and 18 weeks do the same time trial. You should notice a faster pace to HR.
    >
    > Note: It's important to choose a day that is free from wind and rain or heat etc and that the weather for each time trial is a decent match. Also, don't do this on tired legs...do it after being well rested.
    So pretty much take my time and allow my heart rate plenty of time to stabilize at each level before recording my pace? Thanks I'll give it a go.
  • Runnerscotty92. Yes. Make sure you're gradually getting UP TO your target HR rather than COMING DOWN to it.

    I do it around a running track and it might take me 2 laps to build up to and stabalise my HR. Then I start my watch and continue to run another 4 laps. Then, perhaps another 1 or 2 laps to get up to and stabalise my next HR and so on
  • ...You may very well be disappointed when you find out your paces at the different heart rates, but leave your ego to one side because it's about setting a base from which to track your improvements over time
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