Ever since I’ve gotten my new Garmin Forerunner 235, I’ve been a bit obsessed with heart rate training.  I’ve been watching my resting HR, and watching to see how high it gets when I run.  Based on my resting HR (which is calculated for me) of 51, and the max I’ve seen my HR go to (198), I’ve determined that I’m running my “easy” runs too hard!  Take a look at my graphs from my most recent long run…


Average HR = 172.  That was the run which I ran 12 miles at 8:55 avg.  Given that my target race pace is 8:45, for a long run, the pace was a bit too fast.  It should have been closer to 9:45!  It felt OK, but if it had been longer than 12 miles I probably would have run out of steam.  Also a factor, we were talking during this run, but I was probably only doing 25% of the talking!

At the beginning of my training plan I was struggling with my long runs.  I was frustrated because I couldn’t finish my long run without walking.  I wasn’t wearing my HR monitor at the time, and even though I thought I was “taking it easy”, I’m guessing I was overexerting myself.  Every time I’d get on the treadmill in the morning I’d be sore and my run was an effort at the start.  Almost all of my soreness is from my glutes.  I’m doing strength training related to the hips and glutes and making sure to do simple PT exercises almost every day, so hopefully that will help out that situation.  But still, running all of my miles faster than I need to is not the way to achieve my goals.

So moving forward, I’m taking the approach of keeping my easy runs easy, so my hard days can be run hard!   Starting with today’s recovery run, which should be right around zone 2 or 3, so HR less than 155 bpm.  I made sure I ran really easy.  I mean REALLY easy.  I would typically run this around 9:50, but today I took it down to 10:30.  It felt very slow, and this is what I came up with for my 4 mile recovery run:

recovery recoveryhr

Avg HR 136.  It’s a pretty good mix, so I think I hit my goal on that one.  And you know what, I felt like I could go run 20 more miles after running that pace!  I know it’s going to feel odd running slower, to get faster.  But what the heck, I’m willing to give it a try!

I’ve been wearing the HR strap on the treadmill along with my watch to see how similar the readings are.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the two readings have been very similar.  The watch does have a little bit of a lag when doing speed work, and sometimes it will read a little higher, but really nothing more than 5 bpm between the two.

Plan for tomorrow’s 18 mile long run – get closer to 9:45 for most of the run.  And not to feel bad that I did.  Slowing down is not a bad thing 🙂


Q:  Do you often feel like your satisfaction for your run depends solely on the pace you get?

Guilty as charged.

Q:  Anyone racing this weekend?  Or have any travel plans?

Q:  Oh yeah, I hear there is a big sporting event going on Sunday.  Will you be watching the Super Bowl??  

Not really – but we will watch the halftime show on the DVR after the ski trip!

3 thoughts on “What’s up with my heart rate? Literally.”
  1. I don’t really have much interest in this Super Bowl since I am not a big fan of either team, but I will be watching just to keep my streak alive. I have watched every Super Bowl ever played. Yes. I am really THAT old!

    1. I had to Google and see how many years it’s been going on. That’s cool you have that streak going! I’m sure the TV commercials have gotten much more interesting over the years.

  2. Pace is one aspect that I judge a run on, but the effort is probably more important. I’d rather run a 7:45 pace that felt really easy and knowing I could have gone much faster vs. a 7:30 pace that was really hard to do.

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