What HR should I be training at for my easy runs? Vo2 test pics attached

Hey guys! I started running 2 years ago and despite running at what I thought was an easy pace/low HR for my fitness - I have not seen any significant improvements in my race times over the two years, especially at the half/marathon distances.

I also and noticed a huge drop-offs in my performance as the distance increases - despite what appears to be an encouraging vo2 max test in some ways which put it at 51.5. See attached pics :)

I am trying to work out if I have not been running "easy" enough as I am a bit stumped otherwise...


5k: 20:04

10k: 46:21

Half: 1:53:09

Marathon: 4:09:19


Male, 34, 86kg, 6'3

Always been sporty but only been running consistently 2 years

Naturally more explosive - I've always been faster at shorter distances

Max HR looks to be around 185-190


Built up to 40 miles a week for the last six months

Running 4-5 times a week over varied distances and flat/hills

Have been running consistently at what I thought was an easy pace - 9:30 - 10 minute miles which keeps my HR around 148 - 152

However, once I get to 8:30 - 9 minute miles I am struggling to hold this pace for a long time


I always feel like my lungs/heart are fine deep into runs but it's my legs that don't have any power and start to really feel heavy

I'd been planning to drop my easy HR down to 135ish and just grind there for a few months as I thought maybe I had been running too hard? But my amateur reading of my vo2 max test results have put some doubt in my mind, as I think I should be capable of better times than this already?

Would really appreciate any tips/suggestions :) Do I just have a really poor aerobic base that needs a lot more training at a truly easy pace?

Best Answers

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    Answer ✓
    I'm assuming you are using a chest strap as optical are only accurate at rest.

    You need to do a MHR test and remember if you don't throw up at the end or need oxygen then add a few beats on.  Then you can set your zones or try Hadd method of base training.

    If your MHR is 190 then 148 is too fast for easy runs, should be around 135 as you've suggested

    You could look at Maffetone, a base training plan without the need for a MHR test.
  • Options
    Answer ✓
    In that case your MHR is probably about 188/190 so no need to test again, it's not a pleasant experience. 

    Glad to hear you've decided to give Hadd a go, it's quite an endurance feat to read it all but I found it quite fascinating.

    Don't worry you won't be at 11 m/m for long,  just stick with it and once you get through the first few weeks you'll really start to see the pace improve and training will be much less hard work and the endurance will come.   You might get tired stiff calves for the first couple of weeks, that will pass.  You just need patience in the early stages.


  • Options
    Thank you Shades! Yes I had a chest strap on, I was close to falling off the treadmill by the end with my HR around 185.

    I went down the rabbit hole of reading about Hadd training and am committed to running much slower now - I guess it's just humbling when you thought 8:30-9 minute miles were easy and now I am down to 11 :blush:
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