I have a sickness.
It’s running gear related. It’s not really a problem though, because I have enablers.
Anyway, I recently bought a watch with a Heart Rate Monitor. Awesome because more stats right?
There are a whole heap of training plans you can do based on training to heart rate zones, rather than pace. And most suggested paces are actually based on Heart Rate Zones.
Zone 1 – Recovery <60% max heart rate (the walking zone where you are usually able to hold a full conversation while you are moving). 85% of calories burnt in this zone are burnt from fat.
Zone 2 – Endurance 60-70% max heart rate (considered easy pace because you are still able to talk and hold a full conversation). 85% of calories burnt in this zone are burnt from fat.
Zone 3 – Steady – 70-80% max heart rate (this is the top end of your aerobic zone and you can still talk in short sentences). This zone is the key for building endurance. It will build new blood vessels and develop lung and heart capacity. Here 50% of calories burnt are burnt from fat.
Zone 4 – Threshold – 80-90% max heart rate (This is your speed zone. You will be able to speak in short phrases). This zone will build your ability to take in oxygen. I assume from the gasping. It is also the zone where your body starts creating lactic acid. 15% of calories burnt in this zone are burnt from fat.
Zone 5 – Max 90-100% max heart rate (Maximum effort zone. You would be pretty much unable to speak in this zone.) Generally this is only used for short speed intervals and hill sprints because it would be hard to maintain this for any longer. 10% of the calories burnt in this zone are burnt from fat.
Now without a metabolic assessment, heart zones are guess work. Although these percentages will give you an idea of what your heart rate will be in any given zone, everyone is different and so you will have to gauge for yourself where you are.
One of the things I found interesting is that most of the features on the Garmin and also on Strava for calculating the heart rate zones are based on a direct percentage of the max heart rate. I have a max of about 185. You can do a calculation based on age (220-your age) – but it won’t be overly accurate. Or you can test it out by going flat out and see what your heart rate gets up to. So if I was going purely on their calculations my ranges would be
Zone 1 – Up to 111
Zone 2 – 111 – 129
Zone 3 – 129 – 148
Zone 4 – 148 – 166
Zone 5 – 166+
But the problem with this is I knew it wasn’t right. I struggled to stay in zone 2 at all unless I was walking and I spent most of my ‘easy’ run in zone 4.
My theory is that the lower your resting rate is, the less the averages work out for you. I found a different calculation to work out the zones:
(max heart rate – resting rate) x percentage + resting rate
I have a resting rate of around about 50, so this is how the zones work out:
Zone 1 – Up to 131
Zone 2 – 132 – 145
Zone 3 – 146 – 158
Zone 4 – 159 – 171
Zone 5 – 172+
I tested this out on my run today and it seems more or less accurate.
In Strava (the premium version), Garmin Connect and on your Garmin device you can set up custom heart rate zones based on what you think is accurate for you.
I think the best part of heart rate training is that it takes away a lot of the decisions for you. You don’t have to worry if you are going too slow or too fast and you can just have that helpful feedback either on your long runs or on your speed sessions. The shorter the intervals, the delay in feedback will probably mean that it won’t be overly useful. But for everything else, it’s a great way to guide your sessions.
Do you like training with a HRM? How did you work out your heart rate zones? Or are you suffering from too much gear and prefer running bare?