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Running HR zones
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Hi ladies,

So I'm on this new training plan, and it has me running often at lower HR zones. Trouble is that running makes my cardiovascular system spike so darned much. I'm not intense enough to do an actual vo2 max test in a lab, but I do field tests for my heartrate and threshold every few weeks. Consistently, my average HR over a 30-minute hard effort is in the 180s. If I run as slow as I can, about 15 minute miles, my heart rate is around 150. The plan tells me my zone 1 is around 104 bpm, zone 2 is around 125 bpm, and zone 3 is around 135 bpm, and that's where most of my training should be.

As most of you know, I'm a shitty runner. I have some hope that I just need to run more and my body will become more efficient and adapt. But, in the meantime, what do I do? Some people suggest a run/walk combo. But keeping my heart rate in zone 2 would mean majority walking, not just run 5-10 mins. and walk 1. For me, it means run 2 mins, walk 3 mins, or something like that. And my heartrate would probably spike and dip fairly dramatically, rather than remaining constant. I'm not sure that's going to get me enough running to meet my goals. Or am I looking at this the wrong way, and should I embrace where I am and start walking more? Should I see if I can run even slower than 15 minute miles? I'm not sure that would be great because I'd probably adopt a wonky form to actively slow down more. Should I just run as slow as I can and try to keep my heart rate down while sticking to the general plan? For instance, if the plan says to run a 10-min warmup in zone 1 and then 20 minutes in zone 2, should I just run as slow as I can?
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Re: Running HR zones [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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Do you how the plan is calculating your HR Zones? Did you do determine lactate threshold with a :30 test? The 'ol 220 minus age is hit or miss.

This is a good 101: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/...de-to-setting-zones/

Don't get frustrated -- you're early in your journey and as your fitness increases and your run efficiency improves, your ability to do work at a given heart rate will change.

Do you think you'll run/walk the marathon at IMLP? If so, a walk / run combo might be fine (FWIW, I have used a run/walk combo when returning from injury -- no shame there).

For me, my easy runs are usually :03/mile slower than my 5K pace and I use slower, less demanding time to focus on form -- don't let that degrade.

Also, if you're working with Mike Ricci he may be able to give you additional guidance. He's great!

PM if I can be helpful or you want my specific HR zones/paces.
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Re: Running HR zones [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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My HR is high as well - for all activities, but especially running.

I would take the zones with a grain of salt. If you are still feeling comfortable and can talk/or at least not gasping I'd say use that as your indicator. You can't get better at something you aren't doing (ie - if walking is the only way to keep your HR that low, you aren't improving your running).
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Re: Running HR zones [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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Some good advice already from SoCal and edbikebabe.
My 2c:
- I find my HR can be so variable depending on different things: hydration, weather conditions, how well I slept the night before, how many dogs have chased me on the run... you get the picture. Some runs my HR is high for a slow pace, some runs it's low for what feels speedy.
- Be patient and you'll see improvements. I only started recording HR data on my runs late last year (mid October) and in that time the overall trend has been that pace has improved and avg HR has decreased.
- Don't compromise form.
- Remember to have fun!
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Re: Running HR zones [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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I would think that you could walk a mile in 14 minutes.
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Re: Running HR zones [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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Haha, I can in fact. But I'm trying to run with a low heart rate. I'm not sure that walking will help me be a better runner, so much as running super slowly will.
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Re: Running HR zones [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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If you are doing a mile in 15 minutes, I would consider that to be walking.
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Re: Running HR zones [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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If both feet are off the ground simultaneously at any point in the gait cycle, that is defined as running regardless of pace (or what any arrogant keyboard warrior may think).

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Re: Running HR zones [mistressk] [ In reply to ]
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How can both feet be off the ground at the same time at that pace?
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Re: Running HR zones [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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Pure talent...

Yeah, there is the hop that defines what I'm dong as running. But yer' right, it's up for debate. Anyway, I think I'm becoming more efficient already. I did a long run this weekend (6.6 miles) and my AHR was 153, average pace around 14:30, which includes a few 2-minute stops for stretching and form check.
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Re: Running HR zones [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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GiantNewb wrote:
Pure talent...

Yeah, there is the hop that defines what I'm dong as running. But yer' right, it's up for debate. Anyway, I think I'm becoming more efficient already. I did a long run this weekend (6.6 miles) and my AHR was 153, average pace around 14:30, which includes a few 2-minute stops for stretching and form check.

Whoo hoo - hooray for progress!!!
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Re: Running HR zones [mistressk] [ In reply to ]
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What mistressk said. Run happy!
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