Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Heart Rate Training Update: Has it Helped?

As you might already know, I've been trying to do heart rate training for a few months now. I started doing it after reading 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald and I've talked about it here once or twice. I wanted to do another update on it since I seem to be reevaluating it anyway.



 Has it helped? I don't know, as in there hasn't been a big difference, but there's been some hiccups to consider as well. I've gone through some sickness that made it feel like I was starting over with heart rate training once I was running again. It wasn't even much of a break, maybe 10-12 consecutive days without running, if that. Once I started back though, I was haven't to go slower to keep my HR down.  Maybe I was still healing and that had something to do with it, because it didn't take long to get back to where I was before getting sick. Other than that, any progress is happening super slowly.



I'm also not too great of a stickler about staying in the zone. It's so hard to stay in zone 2 while running, so I let myself get up to 3.1 before I take a walk break to get it down. The point is really to be close to 2.0 so I haven't really been doing it right. I've tried running slower but I end up slower than I could walk. I shuffle. In other words: I can walk faster than I'm running at the same or lower HR. Meaning: I'm running a 14:00 minute pace and in Z3, but I can walk an 11:00 pace and get down to Z1. What's the deal with that?

Here's an example, my run from Monday morning.


This was me trying to stay in zone 2 (143-155bpm for me) without walking. First mile: no problem, that's my normal easy pace and, yes, it was downhill a bit. Next mile I had to slow down by over 2 minutes per mile! Even with slowing down that much, I was at the top of my zone. Third mile: I had to slow down another minute+. Even given the GAP consideration (this estimates your pace if each mile would have been on level ground), that's a lot of slowing down to stay at the same heart rate. (In case you're wondering about that last 0.1, that was probably stopping and walking across the street before I hit stop).


Now when I'm on the bike, whether it's on the stationary trainer or out on the roads, it's pretty easy for me to stay in a low zone. In fact, it's hard to get my heart rate up on the bike. Maybe I should switch all of my HR training to the bike, would that work?

Sometimes I wish I could afford to have a coach to help me figure this out. 


I'm trying to decide if I should keep at this. I want to get faster, and sources say this is a big part of that. I just feel like I should be running faster to get faster. Can I say I really tried when most of my HR runs have me averaging closer to zone 3 than zone 2? Do I really need to try slower to get faster?

This guy says so:

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