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 HR||Effort||Aim|
|50 – 60||Relaxed, easy pace, rhythmic breathing||Beginning-level aerobic training, reduces stress|
|60 – 70||Comfortable pace, slightly deeper breathing, conversation possible||Basic cardiovascular training, good recovery pace|
|70 – 80||Moderate pace, more difficult to hold conversation||Improved aerobic capacity, optimal cardiovascular training|
|80 – 90||Fast pace and a bit uncomfortable, breathing forceful||Improved anaerobic capacity and threshold, improved speed|
|90 – 100||Sprinting pace, unsustainable for long period of time, labored breathing||Anaerobic 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.