Heart rate monitor training

Am starting this thread up for those who want to discuss HRM training. This has come from the Forerunner 305 thread.


  • Thought I'd take the liberty of posting Dex's most recent posts from the 305 thread.

    I'm making real progress with my HR training. It would be good to see how others are doing. I had decided to give it one month and now after seeing some good positive results I'm sticking with it.

    Also entered Dublin Marathon (my first Marathon) in October so I'm going to use HR as my main training method to prepare for it using the 24 week schedule in the book, "Advanced Marathoning" by Pete Pfitzinger/Scott Douglas.

    Another great read by the way if anyone interested (whether you're interested in Marathons or not)

    See this thread......



    All I'm doing for my long runs is using the same HR as my recovery runs, on the basis that its building up Aerobic base and I'm not really training towards anything specific yet. I will start to follow the schedule mentioned in my post above from May 15th, which is a 24 week build up for the Dublin Marathon.

    I've basically got 3 runs that I do, Recovery Ceiling @ 145bpm, Threshold Floor @ 161bpm (tempo run) and Intervals @ 175bpm with Max HR 182bpm. By the way I went and got a threadmill test and have all the computer generated analysis to show my Lactate Threshold, Fat Burning Zone etc etc, and it was only a few bpm away from where I had originally been doing my training based on my own best guess. Thats where the above HR numbers come from.

    Most of my runs are Recovery Ceiling runs, club nights are a bit faster so they tend to be my Threshold Floor nights. As its a Bank Holiday today the track is closed, and its normally a club night, so I'm planning to do a 1 mile at Recovery pace to warm up followed by as long as I can at Threshold Pace followed by a cool down. I've set all these up in my FR305 as Workouts so I just step out the door and follow the workout, I don't worry about time/pace or anything else until I get back from my run and download. Always a nice surprise to see if you've managed to improve or not.

    My first Recovery run 1 month ago was at 10.19min/mile pace (Max HR 143bpm - my best guess) and on Saturday night my run was at 8.39min/mile pace (after my treadmill test - 145bpm Max), so thats a measure of the improvement I've seen over a 1 month period.

    Majority of my running at present is at a max of 145bpm, I'm doing the Canterbury Half at the end of May so I'll use that as a test to see how long I can run at my Threshold Floor, or slightly under it, before I crash and burn.

    All good fun ;-)

  • Nice one Hendo.

    It would be good to hear about other peoples experience training by HR. I keep a blog where I post my runs, thoughts and ramblings as well if anyone is interested. Helps to keep me motivated as well.


    I hasten to add that I'm no expert at all with HR training, but I'm trying to apply the principles of those who know better then me and it seems to be working.

  • My issues with making an immediate "full on" start at the moment (as well as the first attempt run I had last week!) are that I still feel as if I'm recovering from the Paris Marathon 3 weeks ago, hayfever, and a half marathon to run in 3 weeks time, so not really sure if this is the best time.

    I also need to find a hill to to a proper test of my max HR. Unless anyone knows how to do it on the flat? Finding a hill in Southsea involves driving a few miles!

    Once that's done though my next big target is the Loch Ness Marathon on October 1st, so will try and get a HR-based schedule for that. Will check out your link Dex.

  • I have been experimenting with heart rate training too. This sort of training appears to be working for me.

    Hendo, You mention a half marathon. I learned from data I recorded on hard runs with my club that I crash and burn if I go more than a mile at >177HR. I am assuming this is my Anaerobic Threshold therefore.

    Based on this, I have found I can average 172HR over the half-marathon distance. I did this by making sure I go <170HR for the first 6 miles, then gradually increase the HR to maintain the even pace over the remainder. I got a PB by this method.
  • I found this article very interesting: http://www.endurancefactor.com/article-heartintro.htm
    It defines training zones on lactate threshold heart rate instead of HRmax, kind of makes sense to me.
  • what's the best book on HRM training. Seem to remember someone recommending one on the 305 thread but cannot find it.
  • Did well there didn't I!!


  • Hi all,

    This is one of the best articles I've found on HR training, fits well with most other things I've read, including the Compleat Idiot book. This came from some posting this guy did a while back in another Newsgroup.

    You need to print it out and read it a couple of times to get the hang of it, but its worth the effort.

    Hadd's Approach to Distance Training

  • Stu Pot,

    Interesting article, If you click on the link to learn more about Lactate Threshold in the middle of the article, and look at the sample report, you can have this test done in the UK for £125, now I know its not cheap, but I've had it done a few weeks ago and if you're serious about HR training, it might be worth figuring out exactly where your zones are.

    I plan to get it tested again in about 3 months to see if my Lactate Threshold has increased as a result of my current HR training regime. Having said all that, prior to having the test done "scientifically" I can report that my best guess HR's were very close indeed to the actual figures. But I guess everyone is different.

  • Another vote for Hadd's article. The man is a star! Been training that way for a while now.

    Warning re. lactate test - I was coaching a guy who had a lactate test done and the results were clearly waaaay out. This was a university lab too. Waste of time and money.

    With proper use of a HRM there is little need for lactate testing for most of us. THe key thing is to train to get that lactate low while the speed is high...

    For the record, I'd rather run without shoes than without a HRM...

  • Pantman,

    Fair comment, like I said, the numbers were very close to my best guess (within 5bpm) so its debateable whether the money was well spent or not. But thats easy to say with hindsight I guess. Since it was close, and not way off my expected values, I'd say it was pretty accurate in my case.

  • Sure, not meant as a slight to your test, Dex. Just a warning from what I saw. When I saw the test results for this guy I did not know whether to laugh or cry - might as well have printed random numbers...
  • I got my idiot's guide last Friday. With a mara coming up on May 21 I can't make full use of it yet but rather than doing just intense work this week and next I am doing mainly "recovery" runs: on Monday morning tho, I did 8 k (5 miles) tempo and then a recovery 8 k p.m. with our beginners (a good excuse to keep the pace right own); Tuesday I did 7 k recovery (all below 70%), yesterday 7½ miles k below 70%. Today I'll do 3 miles tempo sanwiched between 2 miles wu and 2 miles wd at below 70% and then beginners again this evening, again all below 70%.
    Tomorrow I will either rest or do a 3 or 4 mile recovery. Saturday I'll do 2 hours including beginners at under 70%.

    I must say that I've been following Pantman's progress over the last few months and it's what really sold me on the idea that "slow" running was OK. I was thrilled to see his efforts come good on Sunday.
  • You don't need to go to a lab to get your LT-HR measured. A general rule of thumb seems to be: the highest HR you can maintain over 1hr will be your LT-HR.

    Re Hadd: seems like a good way to train for a marathon. I get confused, however, by some who claim to follow Hadd by doing all their running at the same slow pace. If you look at his initial 60mpw schedule, before any 'faster' work is introduced, then even then the greatest amount of time is spent running at the ILTHR with only 2 short runs at the 'easy' pace.
  • Two miles warm up: pace 9:33 and 9:27
    Five K: it took a while to get my HR up to 159 ("threshold pace") and it felt harder to keep going than last Monday. Pace varied from 7:40 a mile to 7:55 and back again. Then 2 miles warm down at below 139: fastest half mile was the last at 10:42; the other 1½ miles were at slower than 11 minutes a mile!
  • One of the things that I'm a bit confused about is, what is your "Race Pace"?

    As you build your aerobic base with a LSR, and as you train at your AT to push that up, where do you settle on your race pace and is it different (in terms of HR) for different length races.

    I can see that a 10k is more anerobic compared to a Half Marathon, so presumably you would need to have a lower HR for the Half in comparison to the 10k.

    What do others do?

  • Do you guys every find it really hard to run at less than 70%? I've tried it and it seems almost painfully slow and feels sometimes that I'd be better off walking.
  • Hope its ok to join the thread - as this is a particular area of interest for me.

    I am big supporter of John L Parker (Idiots book referred to earlier) especially the view that most of us train in the wrong HR zones. Concept of alternating between <70% of WHR and >85% much more sensible approach as combines (1) correct intensity with (2) adequate recovery. I used this approach in build up to FLM and agree with Parker's observations that (1) the <70% performance improves dramatically BUT (2) it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain >85% intensity over sustained period. in hindsight, i did not do enough >85% runs in FLM build-up and overall speed suffered. however, avoided injuries throughout.

    I am now using the same approach for Tri training this summer, still find sustaining >85% difficult in training (not in race)especially in swim and bike sections. however, recognise that HR targets need to be adjusted slightly for supported events like swimming and cycling, although his advice woke me up to the fact that i needed to push harder in both events.

    Also think his pacing guidelines for races are spot on!
  • His tri schedule near end of book is slightly onerous however. No rest for the wicked!!
  • Paininthefoot,

    Yes, in which case you are probably doing it right. I started at 10.19min/mile @ HR70% 145bpm which I found painfully slow, and when you hit even a slight incline you end up having to walk. Now my recovery runs are at about 8.30min/mile, unless its very warm, in which case they are a bit slower. I saw this improvement within about a month/6 weeks, but I also took the opportunity of running more weekly mileage as it was all very easy stuff, with less likelyhood of injury or tiring myself out.

    I'm now finding that I have to push a little harder to get to my 70% Recovery HR of 145bpm. General theory is that you take it really easy on your easy days, so that you can push a bit harder on your hard days.

    I'm no expert as this is the first time I've tried this way of training, but from my own personal observations I'd say stick with it, you'll see the results.

  • Dex your time is similar to mine at this pace. So how long did it take to come down to your current 8:30min/mile pace and how many miles were you doing? Thanks
  • Anyone had experience of HR blow-up?

    I used Parker's advice for several races during 2006 and performed well (for me) over 10K X-countries (Guildford G3 etc) and half marathons. At Fleet HM, I kept to his HR guidelines and held back over first part. Finished relatively strongly and comfortably in 1:38. Happy with this time as predicted <3:30 marathon.

    Two weeks later, ran Worthing 20 but ignored advice and ran above HR guidelines as felt pretty comfortable, until dying in last 1.5 miles (from 7:15 pace to 9:20!!!). Still 2:42 so on track for 3:30 again.

    Thought I had learned my lesson, so decided to run FLM at <70% for 1H, then <75% up to 20 miles and then GFI and try to make 3:35!!! However, for the first time ever, HR was all over the place right from the off. Never got close to being <70%. Thought it was due to excitment of event, so slowed down a lot pre-Cutty Sark. However, HR still very high so kept pace steady for rest of 1H. However, nightmare to find myself 14 minutes behind schedule at 1H marker. Tried to pick it up despite the crowds but never really worked as ran consistent pace pretty mcuh whole way round. Finished 17 mins above schedule, somewhat confused. Perhaps, I was ill/over tired from Worthing 20 expewrience. However in trainging found running 8 min miles at 70% relatively easy, but on the day got stuck at 8:44 all the way but at around 80%.

    Perhaps it was a one-off. But my only experience of HR blow-out and shame that it occurred in the big one!!
  • Found <70% pace dropped quickly after 3 weeks
  • Paininthefoot

    I keep my blog updated with all my training in an effort to keep myself motivated and to keep a diary of my experience of training according to HR. All my runs are documented there, rather then bore everyone on this thread. See My Blog I started it specifically to document my HR training runs.

  • Like I said earlier. I had a "play" with this last year. I think I'm going t take "time out" from the scene of club racing to really get my <70% times down. Then after this, adding a bit of speedwork - you never know I might be quicker overall. What do you think?

    TH2 - My thoughts on your marathon HR are that perhaps your nerves forced your heart rate higher? Alternatively, like you say perhaps ill/tired from Worthing. I was ill in the weeks leading up to FLM after running a half-marathon PB 6 weeks before th, and when I started running again I could no longer run comfortably at my intended pace for 161HR. So I had to pick it up in the race and I crashed and burned after 23 miles. It was still a marginal PB mind, but had I not been ill, how fast could I have gone?..............
  • I can't be bothered to type too much today, but I agree with HR training. Last year, after injury, I listened to BR's advice (Hadd-based) and trained properly by watching the HRM and doing recovery runs etc, at a true 65-70% of my MHR more regularly.

    Tempo runs and speed work were conducted at the appropriate speed, and LSRs were also adhered to. I knocked out loads of PBs for the year and really started to enjoy running again.

    This year, I'm back to the HR training to build up my miles after another injury and looking forward again to the regularity of HR training.
  • What I can do at up to 70% varies.
    Yesterday morning after 5k at above 85% I was only able to do 11 minute miles for the warm down.
    In the evening I was able to do 10 minute miles.
    This morning I did 4 miles at 8:30 pace. I started quicker than that but after a mile hit a hill.
    This is a sudden improvement: on Wednesday I spent 1 hour 20 minutes doing 7½ miles.

    In the past I've done marathons at above 85% and halves at 90%. G*d knows how. Halves were Ok but I always had trouble in the last few miles of the marathons.
  • I've only been recording data this year Snaps, but I've discovered that I average 176HR for a 10K (7:16/mile). 172HR for a Half-Marathon (7:29/mile).

    It is reassuring to know these figures as I can monitor how hard I dare push in a race. My pacing has never been so good!

    As for marathon. The "theory" I read suggested I should be able to maintain 161HR. However that didn't take into account the training I missed through illness! So, I just played it by ear to get some data (for next time!). I was pretty consistent for 19 miles then could not hold the heart rate at this level, and the wheels had well and truly fallen off by 23 miles.
  • I've found that the improvements have come on quickly, although the temp. has an effect on my performance. Last week I was able to do my regular 8 mile loop at 8.45min/mile, whereas this week while I'm glad to see the sunshine I'm at about 9min/mile pace for the same loop.

    I've got a couple of standard routes I use to monitor progress. In the space of 5 weeks I've seen definite progress and will continue to train like this for the foreseeable future.

    I've asked earlier in this thread, but what is the recommended Race Pace that you should aim for, I'm interested in pace at Half/Full Marathon distance. Presumably it should be mostly aerobic for those distances, especially the Marathon? So I guess you should stay around your AT early on and perhaps push a bit harder towards the end of the race?

    What do you think?

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