What is Heart Rate Training

Heart rate training is not something I've actually tried, however it does have some popularity. Given that training at a percentage of VO2max is quite difficult to calculate, this really requires laboratory testing to establish these levels, training at a percentage of HRmax is a good alternative.  Training at 70% of HRmax for 30 minutes will provide aerobic improvements. Or 60%-65% of HRmax for 45 minutes will also be beneficial.  We don't always need to exercise at max intensity to see fitness improvements, in fact doing so increasing the risk of bone, joint & muscle injuries.

Max Heart Rate = the highest heart rate you should achieve safely during intense exercise

Heart Rate Reserve = this is the Max HR minus your resting HR, this is the range of heart rate available to you during exercise

50%-60% MHR = Aids Recovery and improves overall health

60%-70% MHR = Develops endurance & promotes fat burning

70%-80% MHR = Increases aerobic fitness

80%-90% MHR = Improves anaerobic fitness

90%-100% MHR = Develops speed & increases maximum performance

As we see from all these ranges of heart rate training zones, out training will benefit from exercising in each of these training zones, however not all during the same session or run. Set aside specific training sessions or runs/rides/swims in order to train a specific development area and crucially, mix up your training.

Heart rate monitoring can give us a clue to when we are overtraining, which at times is ok but in the weeks leading up top you 'A' race this should be avoided.  if we are finding our heart rate is higher than normal for a particular session or run this could be due to overtraining.

If you don't have a heart rate monitor then you can use your Perceived Rate of Exertion (RPE) to guide your exertion level when training.  This is subjective and will be different for different people, its simply a gauge on a scale of 1-10 that relates to YOUR perception of how hard your working..  When you log your run, whether in a training log or diary, Strava or whatever app you use then it's good to note your RPE for that training session or run.  

In comparison to heart rate this table will show how heart rate and RPE can be connected.  If you want to run at 70%-80% of Max HR the that would be an RPE of 4-6.