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Running at 75% of HR

I_Need_To_Lose_30_PoundsI_Need_To_Lose_30_Pounds Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
I took the past year off from running for the most part. I logged 400 miles since last May- normal years are in the 1200-1400 mile range.

Anyway, I was never good at doing specific running workouts. I would know what distance I wanted to run, and other than doing a long run each week at a slow pace, I wouldn't prioritize certain workouts for intervals or easy runs. I would run each workout the same.

I've done some research and it seems like running 80% of your weekly volume at 75% or less than your max HR seems to be a common piece of advice. So I set out to run keeping my HR at 150 or less. My normal pace is in the 9:00 range, racing usually in the low 8s, sometimes high 7s if the weather is cool. My run today, which hit 150 a few times was at a 13:49 pace. It was not a hot day, 70 degrees, 50% humidity, 140 ft of elevation gain in 3 miles.

From what I understand, my body will eventually get faster running at a low intensity. Does anyone have different information or opinions to add? It feels like running so slow will actually reduce my physical fitness. For my higher intensity workouts, I was planning on running the last 1/4 of my long runs at race pace, and then do some intervals midweek.

Thx.

Replies

  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 2,060 Member Member Posts: 2,060 Member
    I'm no expert on running programs. But my first reaction when reading your post is: how did you arrive at your place heart rate of 200? Measured, or based on a formula? There can be large individual variations in max HR, those formulas are not correct for everyone.
    I don't use my HR for my runs, I just try to vary my workouts in length and intensity.
  • I_Need_To_Lose_30_PoundsI_Need_To_Lose_30_Pounds Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    I went 3X last week on 3 different occasions and after a 1.5M warm-up, I sprinted up a steep hill that took 2:30 to climb twice each day. I averaged the 6 highest readings I got. The average was 202 and I rounded down to 200 for ease of math. I am 35 so mathematically my max HR would be around 185 or so depending on the formula used. But I routinely hit 195 in races in 2019 when I was 33 so I knew my max HR was a little higher than normal/average.
    edited April 25
  • MissAtomicBomb238MissAtomicBomb238 Member Posts: 27 Member Member Posts: 27 Member
    Slow hr training is a thing. I do it and it totally works. There are a lot of resources out there. I like runtothefinish.com a lot
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,484 Member Member Posts: 2,484 Member
    You'll get a lot of variable answers on this, but I'm a firm believer in low HR (even lower than you're talking about -- 70% max HR) on your slow days. I ran for around 7 years and now I've switched to indoor rowing (and have done races in both). Same concepts.

    I know a lot of World Record holders in various age groups in rowing (one that was a world class runner) who religiously follows 70% of max HR when he does his easy days. The key is to first build base. If you're only doing 3X a week, though, that's not a lot of base. I would be doing two days really easy and then, once you're comfortable and feeling really good on the 3 days doing the slow work, start to incorporate speed work.

    You have to push hard on the hard workouts to see results. Really hard. So you are at 90% of max HR, just like you did on the hills. If you only have one day a week to push hard, I'd alternate shorter sprints one week with longer AT (anaerobic threshold work) on the other day, like Fartlek work or 1500m sprints or longer fill runs like you did, the next week.

    Nearly every novice makes the mistake of working the same intensity (too high to be easy and not hard to be really challenging) nearly every workout. That's not how to improve performance. As the temps climb, you might have to temper your expectations on pace. I row on my deck in AZ. It's not uncommon for it to be in the mid 90s. I have to really slow down pace in the heat, but it's also great for training.
    edited April 26
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,266 Member Member Posts: 10,266 Member
    A lot of people think slow means "junk miles," as if moderate intensity exercise isn't better for you than sitting on the couch.

    The down side of high intensity is it fatigues people. And one of two things happens: you take too much time to recover, or you go into your next run still partly worn down, and you can't do much very high intensity. It adds up so if you try to to run hard all the time you wind up in a state of constant fatigue and spend most of your running time in middling intensities. You get faster and fitter at first, but you plateau well below your potential.

    The upside of high volume low intensity training is that you're fresh during the 20% of your training that's hard. You're in a position to really nail the high intensity workouts. You wind up doing more quality work this way because you've managed your fatigue in a way that lets you be in top form when you need to.

    Final note. The type of training you describe is common among the fittest humans on earth, competitive Nordic skiers. It might feel like it'll hurt your fitness but it won't.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,266 Member Member Posts: 10,266 Member
    Also, if you're willing to do uphill sprints and math to find your MHR, you'll benefit from doing a few LTHR tests and then basing your zones off that.
  • I_Need_To_Lose_30_PoundsI_Need_To_Lose_30_Pounds Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    Thanks for the tips. I normally run 5 days a week, resting on Wednesdays and Saturdays with volume around 20-23 miles. Before 2019, I was hitting around 35 miles a week but no speed work- all my runs were in the 8:45-9:15 range, maybe 9:30 once I hit 10 miles for my long runs. I’ll keep at trying to maintain my 70-75% MHR for a majority of my volume.

    Should I focus more on tempo runs or intervals for speed? Other than Tuesdays, when I have to run on the treadmill because of my work schedule, I can run outside with decent elevation gains of 100ft per mile or so (or I can run relatively flat paths as well).

    My next race is October 16th. It’s a 15K. I ran it in 1:19:30 in 2019 so around 8:30/mile. I of course would like to be as close to that as possible. No other races planned between now and then.
  • lporter229lporter229 Member Posts: 4,906 Member Member Posts: 4,906 Member
    I have done heart rate training using the 80/20 approach and it does work, but there are some fine tuning things. If you can get a good estimate of your lactate threshold, that is a much better way to set your zones. I highly recommend the book "80/20 Running" to help with this.

    If your normal comfortable pace is around a 9 minute mile, then you definitely do not need to be running 13 minute miles to realize the benefit of slower running. The idea is not to keep your heart rate under 75% the whole time, but to make that close to your average. It will naturally go up when you are running up a hill and that is okay. Just try to keep it as comfortable as possible and then realize the benefits of the lower HR on the way back down. When I started this training approach my comfortable pace was around a 9 minute mile as well and I basically slowed it down to about a 9:30-9:40 and kept my average HR for a run HR in the intended zone. Within a few months, I was running 8:20-8:30 at that same effort.

    The flip side of this training is the other 20%. If you are doing 80% easy, to get the benefits, you need to really push hard on the other 20%. if you find a program that utilizes this approach (again, "80/20 Running), you will be doing intervals, hill sprints and tempo runs. This is where you really get the benefits. The theory is that most people either push too hard all of the time and never fully recover so they never reach their real potential on the hard runs.

    ETA: I just read the post from @NorthCascades above and I basically was parroting what he said.
    edited April 26
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,484 Member Member Posts: 2,484 Member
    Thanks for the tips. I normally run 5 days a week, resting on Wednesdays and Saturdays with volume around 20-23 miles. Before 2019, I was hitting around 35 miles a week but no speed work- all my runs were in the 8:45-9:15 range, maybe 9:30 once I hit 10 miles for my long runs. I’ll keep at trying to maintain my 70-75% MHR for a majority of my volume.

    Should I focus more on tempo runs or intervals for speed? Other than Tuesdays, when I have to run on the treadmill because of my work schedule, I can run outside with decent elevation gains of 100ft per mile or so (or I can run relatively flat paths as well).

    My next race is October 16th. It’s a 15K. I ran it in 1:19:30 in 2019 so around 8:30/mile. I of course would like to be as close to that as possible. No other races planned between now and then.

    Again, I don't run any longer (I row), but the same principles apply. To answer your question, both. If you're doing 5 days a week, I'd so short, hard intervals (like 100m or 200m runs) one week and the next week do tempo (Fartlek) run. Maybe 20 minutes warmup, 20 hard as you can sustain, 20 cooldown.

    I don't know if this is accurate or not, but I've read you want to build difference parts of your aerobic/anaerobic system by doing this and the you need to do each within 10 days or you don't make gains. Ideally, you could do (on a five day plan) 3 days easy, then one hard, rotating the different types of harder workouts. That might mean your hard day would differ according to your rotation, since you're doing 5 days a week, not 4. But that way you're getting closer to that 10 day window to work both your AT (aerobic threshold) and Anaerobic (sprinting) performance.
    edited April 26
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,484 Member Member Posts: 2,484 Member
    Thanks for the tips. I normally run 5 days a week, resting on Wednesdays and Saturdays with volume around 20-23 miles. Before 2019, I was hitting around 35 miles a week but no speed work- all my runs were in the 8:45-9:15 range, maybe 9:30 once I hit 10 miles for my long runs. I’ll keep at trying to maintain my 70-75% MHR for a majority of my volume.

    Should I focus more on tempo runs or intervals for speed? Other than Tuesdays, when I have to run on the treadmill because of my work schedule, I can run outside with decent elevation gains of 100ft per mile or so (or I can run relatively flat paths as well).

    My next race is October 16th. It’s a 15K. I ran it in 1:19:30 in 2019 so around 8:30/mile. I of course would like to be as close to that as possible. No other races planned between now and then.

    Again, I don't run any longer (I row), but the same principles apply. To answer your question, both. If you're doing 5 days a week, I'd so short, hard intervals (like 100m or 200m runs) one week and the next week do tempo (Fartlek) run. Maybe 20 minutes warmup, 20 hard as you can sustain, 20 cooldown.

    I don't know if this is accurate or not, but I've read you want to build difference parts of your aerobic/anaerobic system by doing this and the you need to do each within 10 days or you don't make gains. Ideally, you could do (on a five day plan) 3 days easy, then one hard, rotating the different types of harder workouts. That might mean your hard day would differ according to your rotation, since you're doing 5 days a week, not 4. But that way you're getting closer to that 10 day window to work both your AT (aerobic threshold) and Anaerobic (sprinting) performance.

    AT is Anaerobic threshold -- sorry.
  • DjproulxDjproulx Member Posts: 2,285 Member Member Posts: 2,285 Member
    OP, you've received some great suggestions already. I'll add my two cents:

    I worked with a running coach for several years. This coach taught me that many runners, even elite runners, don't create enough separation in intensity levels between easy runs and hard runs. His mantra was: "Easy runs should be EASY, and hard runs should be HARD". The 80/20 book referenced above gives great background on this concept.

    Even though the coach was a big fan of HR training, he also worked with new runners who didn't have a HRM. His advice to them was simply "Run at a conversational pace" i.e. - being able to speak a few sentences at a time while running without struggling for breath.

    Finally, since you're digging into building speed and endurance over a six month period prior to an October race, you may find the concepts of "Periodization" and "Super Compensation over Time" interesting and useful. And if you really want to geek out about this stuff, you could check out Bob Seebohar's book "Nutrition Periodization for Athletes" and tailor your nutrition plan to match your periodization approach. ;)


  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,266 Member Member Posts: 10,266 Member
    There's a lot of great info in this thread and it's really fun to see the motivation everyone is bringing to the table. 🙂
    Thanks for the tips. I normally run 5 days a week, resting on Wednesdays and Saturdays with volume around 20-23 miles. Before 2019, I was hitting around 35 miles a week but no speed work- all my runs were in the 8:45-9:15 range, maybe 9:30 once I hit 10 miles for my long runs. I’ll keep at trying to maintain my 70-75% MHR for a majority of my volume.

    Should I focus more on tempo runs or intervals for speed? Other than Tuesdays, when I have to run on the treadmill because of my work schedule, I can run outside with decent elevation gains of 100ft per mile or so (or I can run relatively flat paths as well).

    My next race is October 16th. It’s a 15K. I ran it in 1:19:30 in 2019 so around 8:30/mile. I of course would like to be as close to that as possible. No other races planned between now and then.

    Baked into party much every training plan except the bro science if it don't hurt it ain't worth doing one is an idea: long term fitness responds more to volume than intensity, and fatigue (ATL) decays slowly. That leads to: the best workout is usually the most (volume or intensity) that you can do and recover from by your next workout.

    I'm a cyclist, so grain of salt:

    Since you want to perform for ~80 minutes, I would do one long, easy run a week, and split the rest of your running time doing 30 - 60 minutes tempo mostly and one threshold workout. (I love/hate 20 minute intervals @ ~90% threshold, two in a ride, my endurance isn't what I'd like and doing them helps me slow down less as a ride wears on.)

    I don't think Z5 intervals are going to help that much unless your event is really undulating. They're bigly important in cycling because sprinting leads to drafting. But you can't run 1:19:30 over threshold and unless there are punchy hills you don't gain that much burning matches?
  • TonyTNT91TonyTNT91 Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member
    Running slow has its place like any other type of "run workout" variety is key! It's like a jigsaw puzzle you just gotta put all the right pieces in their correct place. I'd include long slower/aerobic runs, fast interval/repetition sessions, tempo sessions & recovery runs into the routine here's a 2 week example

    Sunday long run 70% MHR
    Monday recovery run 60% MHR
    Tuesday tempo run 85》90%
    Wednesday recovery run same as Monday
    Thursday aerobic run 75% MHR
    Friday speedwork 8-12x400m with 1-2 min recovery.
    Saturday easy run/elliptical or rest

    Sunday long run
    Monday recovery
    Tuesday hill sprint session 10x10s (2 min recoveries)
    Wednesday recovery
    Thursday aerobic 75%
    Friday tempo 85%
    Saturday recovery
    Sunday long run.

    Hope this helps
  • dewd2dewd2 Member Posts: 2,438 Member Member Posts: 2,438 Member
    I went 3X last week on 3 different occasions and after a 1.5M warm-up, I sprinted up a steep hill that took 2:30 to climb twice each day. I averaged the 6 highest readings I got. The average was 202 and I rounded down to 200 for ease of math. I am 35 so mathematically my max HR would be around 185 or so depending on the formula used. But I routinely hit 195 in races in 2019 when I was 33 so I knew my max HR was a little higher than normal/average.

    What device did you use to measure this? Unless it was a HRM on a chest strap I'd consider these numbers to be suspect. Wrist based HR can be off by a lot (not always but I'd still consider it much less reliable than a strap).
  • tsazanitsazani Member Posts: 696 Member Member Posts: 696 Member
    I agree with those here who advocate low HR training.

    I use an 80:20 MAF (google it). Over training is REAL.
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