Heart Rate Training Basics

Heart rate training basics - Heart-rate training is the most effective way to maintain and build endurance without causing systemic stress overload to your body. Heart-rate training helps newer runners develop an intuitive feel for what different intensities entail. Athletes need to learn what true recovery feels like, aerobic zones, tempo, threshold and max effort.


-       What is heart rate training?

  • It is the process of tracking your heart rate throughout your workout to maximize the efficiency of your fitness program. You can do this most easily using a wearable heart rate monitor which straps to the chest, or with wrist-based monitors from Garmin.
  • Heart rate training uses tested methods to determine the upper and lower intensity limits of your exercise routine so that you can analyze your workouts to optimize your results and get the most out of your time

-       Why should you Heart rate train?

  • Simply put, heart rate training is the best way to know you’re truly getting the most out of your workouts. If you’re serious about fitness, a quality heart rate monitor is essential to heart rate training so that you can measure how well and for how long you’re hitting your target heart rate.

-       Why should I take a heart rate test like VO2max?

  • Because there is little accuracy in best guess analysis, and generic calculations that are based off a sedentary lifestyle.

-       Heart rate guided training

  • (220 – age) is the standard maximum HR prediction equation
  • Professional endurance athletes utilize HR guided training
  • HR Zones
    • Zone 1 = Very easy. Active recovery. Slowly jogging or walking. Improves overall health.
    • Zone 2 = Easy. Long slow distance; i.e. Saturday workouts! Just jogging, or brisk walking J Develops endurance.
    • Zone 3 = Moderate. Tempo. Steadily striding. Improves cardiovascular fitness.
    • Zone 4 = Hard. Interval I. Rapidly running. Increases performance capacity.
    • Zone 5 = Max effort. Interval II. Seriously sprinting. Like running from a bear sprinting. Develops speed.
  • Anaerobic threshold is top of Zone 3, and where tempo runs should be.  “Comfortably hard” effort.
  • Most amateur endurance athletes train far too hard, far too often.  Need to slow down pace.

-       VO2max tests

  • Only way to truly and accurately identify individual maximum heart rate (HR)
  • Allows precise tailoring of individualized HR training zones
  • Working on solution to provide at Fit For Life Physical Therapy




Types of workouts


-       What types

  • Active Recovery - Improves overall health.
  • Long, slow distance - Develops endurance.
  • Tempo - Improves cardiovascular fitness.
  • Intervals - Increases performance capacity.
  • Max Effort - Develops speed.

-       When to incorporate them

  • Active recovery, and recovery is crucial to the success of our training program.
  • Long, slow distance is the cornerstone of our training. Most important workout of the week.
  • Participants should do at least 1 tempo run per week (no more than 2).  
  • Interval workouts can be incorporated to improve performance.
  • Max effort workout have some importance for those with aggressive goals, but should not be a primary concern.

-       Who should do them

  • Active recovery & long, slow distance should be the primary focus for all MIT participants
  • Tempo workouts should be incorporated by all MIT athletes. One of the many reasons our participants join us is to improve their cardiovascular fitness. Long, slow distance doesn’t accomplish this. Jeff caters the Wednesday workouts to all abilities, and provides risk averse, yet productive alternative tempo workouts for beginners.

-       Other types of workouts

  • Hill workouts can be woven into interval days.
    • Hill workouts provide sport specific resistance training.  Hill provides resistance, and you are using your “running muscles” to overcome the resistance.  Perfect combination.
  • Core strength training
  • Resistance training


Heart Rate Training Basics More Info »

Connect With Us

see the latest from Fleet Feet + FrontRunner