Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Heart Monitor Training - Part 3 - Hard vs Easy Runs

Now that you have your max heart rate and your resting heart rate, you can calculate your recovery ceiling and your threshold floor.

Recovery Ceiling (70%) = (Max HR - Resting HR) x .70 + (Resting HR)
Threshold Floor (85%) = (Max HR - Resting HR) x .85 + (Resting HR)

My numbers are:

Max HR = 196
Resting HR = 51
Recovery Ceiling = 153
Threshold Floor =  174

For easy runs, keep at/below your recovery ceiling. For hard runs, keep at/above your threshold floor.

The author of Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot goes into great detail about the science behind the numbers, why our body needs recovery, and has a large list of success stories.  If you are interested, you should buy the book!  The biggest take away points for me are:

1. Your easy runs need to be really easy
2. You don't need many hard runs a week
3. You need easy runs not only for recovery, but to build a good baseline fitness level

I have started the 12 Week Novice program from chapter 14 of the book.  The easy runs are frustratingly slow.  I can make it through almost the whole first mile without having to walk, but then all of the remaining miles I have to alternate with super slow jogging and walking.  I can't even walk fast to recover.  I have to almost walk backwards. The hard runs feel like normal runs for me and are something to look forward to during the week.  At the end of the 12 weeks, I hope to be able to run much faster at my recovery ceiling.  If I am still walking at the end of the program, I am going to chunk this book in the trash, throw my heart rate monitor away, and run as fast as I want.  I do expect this plan to work!

Here are my beginning of 12 week program paces:

3 Mile Easy Run - 15:02 minute mile
1 Mile Hard Run - 11:13 minute mile

I will provide updates as the program progresses. I know the suspense will be more than you can bear. 

Related Posts:
Heart Monitor Training - Why Am I Trying It?
Heart Monitor Training - Part 1 - Max Heart Rate
Heart Monitor Training - Part 2 - Resting Heart Rate

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