Heart Rate (HR) Training Basics for Running

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Photo by Artur Łuczka on Unsplash

According to Phil Maffetone, the mastermind behind one of the best triathletes of all time, Mark Allen, “ 95–99% of the energy used for endurance sports, including competition, is derived from the aerobic system.” With that in mind, endurance athletes are able to significantly increase their performance and decrease their times by focusing most of their training on building aerobic endurance.

One of the best ways to do this is through Heart Rate (HR) Training. HR training is a method to more accurately measure relative effort during a specific workout. Rather than perceived difficulty, HR zones specifically monitor intensity using a heart rate monitor.

How to utilize HR Training

In order to properly train using your heart rate, you must first calculate your maximum heart rate.

Once you have your maximum estimated heart rate, you can then calculate your HR Zones (1–5). The HR zones vary according to the effort and intensity of the training session which translates to a certain percentage of your max heart rate.

The Hear Rate Zones look something like this:

Zone 1: Recovery (Aerobic)
HR 50–60% — Easy training zone with purpose of aiding your body in the rest and recovery phase. The goal is to get the blood flowing, prepare for upcoming training days and minimize the risk of injury.

Zone 2: Base Training Zone (Aerobic)
HR 60–70% — Training in Zone 2 builds your aerobic endurance and should feel light and as easy enough to go for a long time. This zone will increase your overall endurance and help your body’s ability to burn fat during training.

Zone 3 (Anaerobic)
HR 70–80% — This zone will improve the efficiency of your blood circulation in skeletal muscles as well as the heart. However, Zone 3 training marks the start of buildup of lactic acid in your bloodstream. Training in this zone will increase your running efficiency.

Zone 4
HR 80–90% — Training in this zone will increase your speed endurance and allow your body to withstand higher levels of lactic acid in your bloodstream for longer periods of time. This zone will acclimate your body to using carbohydrates for energy during training.

Zone 5 (Anaerobic)
HR 90–100% — Training in this zone is your max effort. Your heart and respiratory system will be working at their max capacity, so this zone is only able to be continued 30–90 seconds at most.

So, if your goal is to burn fat or just generally build endurance, Zone 2 is the HR zone you want to be training in. For me specifically, because almost 100% of the energy needed for endurance training is derived from the aerobic system, my goal is to build my aerobic base. Therefore, nearly 100% of my training will be in Zone 2.

Originally published at http://theextraordinary.blog on June 5, 2019.

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Athlete, writer, and personal growth addict. Writing about creative ways to become a better human being. Get my free mindset & fitness ebook👉 bit.ly/devarrigo

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