Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Timewave - Salvation

Song Choice:- Here's a great running track to pick you up when you are out there pasting yourself into the pavement, especially when you feeling a little bit f***ed. It worked wonders for me last night and might do for you so take a listen here - and see what you think...If you like it, please let me know.

Anyway, after my previous blog about Brooks Running Shoes, I thought I'd continue with a bit of Heart Rate Training explanation. My take on how it works and why you should do it.

It's very much in vogue right now yet back in the good old days of my pre-heart rate monitor (HRM) owning, for my average training week I would run 8 miles slowly in the morning and 8 faster in the evening for four days, run a couple of long slow distance 20's at the weekend and have one complete day off from running every week. It was a  great way of running 100 miles a week, which I thought would make me indestructible and for many years I felt super-fit and got some great marathon and ultra-marathon results.

Many years and many hundreds of marathons later, I've become far more scientific with my training and it's something I very keen on sharing with my clients. It's in my running clinics with my clients, when I bring the subject of Heart Rate Training up with them, the replies are usually - 'I've got one but don't use it', 'I have a Garmin but I don't use the HRM function' or 'I use it log the information but it means nothing to me'.

And that's a real shame I think as the technology we now have on our wrists can be fun as well as be beneficial to our running...

The thing is it's actually a lot easier than you think and with the help of some on-line wizardry from www.mapmyrun.com, for instance, it's really easy to see how hard you are pushing yourself, which 'Zone' you are training in and how to get the most out of your training sessions. It shows up as one of five coloured bands, very simple and it provides a  very visual guide to how your training session or race actually went.

If you do some research on the internet, you'll see it's all about working in your 'Heart Rate Zones'... and that's where it gets confusing. So to make it easier, the Coleman Version has just three Zones that count. We'll call them up to 75%, 75-85% and 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (MHR) which for simplicity again we'll call 220 minus your Age. Mine is 167 (220-53) Beats Per Minute (BPM). And yes, I know you'll say yours goes over 200 , I've been clinically tested and it was 161BPM and it gets up to 178 on my Garmin sometimes when I'm killing myself on a hill climb, so there's a bit of latitude in there I'd say, so please let's go with the 220-53! It's a good guide and makes it easy to work out.

With that in mind, we have our 'Zones' and successful Heart Rate Training is about how much of your mileage you do in each Zone. The majority of your training and that's a whopping 80% of your mileage should be at a Long Slow Distance (LSD) of up to 75%MHR. This makes your heart bigger and stronger and greatly increases your endurance. A useful thing if you are looking at running for hours and hours on end like me.

Looking back at my first few years of running, I wasn't too far out in my approach with my 72/100 miles of long slow distance at around 9-10 minute miles. As my heart got stronger  it was like having a huge engine that I could then run really efficiently at lower revs. I did a lot of tempo and fartlek runs which covered my 10% or runs between 75-85% MHR but I could have done more speed work to make my times even better and maybe I would've done more 5kms if parkrun had only existed back then in the 90's.

Anyway, the rest it's history now and I can't change the past and wouldn't want to perhaps as I've had some amazing running experiences, however I can now shape my future and I'm still out there putting in the miles, lots of them at my LSD pace of 10-11min miles but I'm also doing some tempo and speed runs too. When I ran 28 marathons in 28 days my heart rate was around the 99BPM and I ran every step. At the end of that month, I felt so fit and just three weeks after that I ran a 3:37 marathon at Abingdon running at 150BPM - 95% MHR all the way, the work out is here - I did manage to forget to Stop my Garmin btw in the excitement.

Now the tricky part and one that takes a lot of practise is to be able to go out and train at an even pace throughout your run. Years of practise has helped and if you take a look at my run if yesterday, I spent 88% of my run in my Endurance Zone (my 65-75% MHR). It was very slow but the training effect felt great and if you look at my heart rate data you'll see it was pretty even running and it gave me a real mental boost. This workout is here.

As for what HRM to use, I've used the Garmin 910XT with it's HRM Strap very successfully for a couple of years now and it's certainly Cardiff (Wet) and Sahara (Hot) proof and at £234, it's a real bargain at www.handtec.co.uk. I recharged it at the MdS and got all my data and tracks from it which are really interesting to look back on. I think it's easier to use than the 920 and I'm waiting to see just how good the new wrist HRMs work.

I do hope that my take on Heart Rate Training helps you with your training. It's been worked out by trial and error on my part and it works for me and for my clients whom use it. Have a go yourself and see if it can help you too...

Happy Training...A Heart Rate Monitor might be your running Salvation and re-vitalise your approach to running or help you get to the finish line of the Marathon des Sables in a much fitter state.

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