HR training - how slow is too slow?

I've been upping my running and started trying to focus on endurance a little more - specifically heart rate (chest monitor).

My max HR is around 190 so I've been trying out some 5k runs at 130 or below - but the pace, oh the pace.  7:30 m/km (12m/m) is about the max I can manage without going over the threshold; I could probably walk faster.

Is there a point at which you just have to risregard it and accept a higher HR?


  • I don't have anywhere near the experience of some here, but hopefully this answers your question a little bit.

    How did you find out your max of 190bpm? Just as an example, when I've done any of the tests involving hills, I have a hard time pushing myself beyond 184bpm. But in the last 400m of a 5k, I can reach over 200bpm. In all likelihood, my true max HR is even higher than I've managed to reach and record. Some watches have the ability to calculate zones based on % of lactate threshold - this has disadvantages, but you may have a greater degree of confidence where it is, and it's certainly not as unpleasant to test!

    There's all sorts of ways of calculating zones, but I find the ones that correspond best to how I feel are the ones that take into account resting heart rate, and calculate zones based on % HR reserve.

    If you have a RHR of 50, based on your HR max of 190, zone 2 could be 134-148. 

    Regarding pace - we're generally more efficient at faster paces which can make slower paces feel awkward. Unless you've got a lot of lifetime miles in the bank, you're unlikely to have spent much time running at low intensities, which can mean that it will feel awkward and hard work. Persevere and practise, and you'll build that aerobic foundation and get more efficient at running at lower intensities - meaning eventually your easy runs will be faster and easier.

    The key with easy running is staying relaxed, and worrying about pace/heart rate rarely helps with that! It really doesn't matter how slow you're going, as long as your form isn't starting to break down. Walk breaks are a good option if it does get too frustrating to maintain a relaxed pace, and plenty of experienced runners will use walk breaks when returning from injury/extended periods without running.
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