When not racing, I have a bad habit of running too hard or not mixing up the pace of my runs. Using a heart rate monitor or pace calculator can be a good way to make sure you’re making the most of your training runs.

Training with heart rate

If you’re lucky enough to have a watch with a built in heart rate monitor or wear a chest strap to link with your watch, you can set your max heart rate and work out your different training zones. Garmin will automatically do this for you but I think it’s best to set your own max heart rate then let it set the other zones. The zones are:

Zone% of Max HREffortAim
Warm Up
50 – 60Relaxed, easy pace, rhythmic breathingBeginning-level aerobic training, reduces stress
60 – 70Comfortable pace, slightly deeper breathing, conversation possibleBasic cardiovascular training, good recovery pace
70 – 80Moderate pace, more difficult to hold conversationImproved aerobic capacity, optimal cardiovascular training
80 – 90Fast pace and a bit uncomfortable, breathing forcefulImproved anaerobic capacity and threshold, improved speed
90 – 100Sprinting pace, unsustainable for long period of time, labored breathingAnaerobic and muscular endurance, increased power
Taken from Garmin 230/235 online manual

You can read more about heart rate zones and training at Wareable’s heart rate training zones guide.

Training with pace

If you prefer to use pace as a marker of your effort, Runners World has a handy training pace calculator. This is very handy if, like me, you’ve no idea where to start when training plans start talking about marathon pace, recovery pace and just how slow should a long slow run be? Just fire in a recent race time and distance, and it will spit out a range of training paces. The Runners World page also gives a good insight into some of the different runs you can add into your training mix – easy, tempo, VO2 max runs and more.