Category Archives: Base Training

A Look at Heart Rate Training

After a scare on a run in January where it felt like my heart was in my throat the doctor encouraged me to start wearing a heart rate monitor and to keep my workouts under 60% of my Maximum Heart Rate.

Note: The doctors said my heart appeared to be very healthy and they assumed I had had a cold (weather) induced asthma attack.  The heart rate is more of a precautionary tool to monitor my pulse during workouts in case it happens again.  They prescribed an inhaler and wearing something to cover my mouth/nose to help warm up the air.

Remember the conversion?  220 minus your age equals maximum heart rate.  So my current max is 220 – 29 = 191.  60% of that is 114.  If you’ve followed my workouts you know that I’ve not been anywhere close to that.  That is super low. I used an online calculator to determine my training zones and came up with these zones:

  • Fat Burning: From 128 to 141 beats per minute
  • Aerobic: From 141 to 153 beats per minute
  • Steady State: From 153 to 166 beats per minute
  • Anaerobic: From 166 to 178 beats per minute
  • Maximal: From 178 to 191 beats per minute

There is some variation in terms and the number of training zones.  For example, Polar share three – light, moderate, and hard. So here is how the web calculator breaks it down:
Fat Burning (50 to 60%) In this range you are developing your basic endurance and aerobic capacity. This zone is great for burning fat compared to the effort you put in. Other zones will also burn up your fat but you will have to work harder to burn up the same amount.

Aerobic (60 to 70%) This zone is great for your cardiovascular system. This helps your muscles become stronger and more efficient and you develop your bodies ability to transport oxygen to (and carbon dioxide away from) your muscles. You should be spending the majority of your training time in this zone.

Steady State (70 to 80%) Think tempo run.  This is not an easy workout but not super hard or stressful.

Anaerobic (80 to 90%) Entering this zone is a sign that you have become serious about your sport. In this zone your body develops its ability to handle lactic acid. An anaerobic workout takes place when you are working so hard that your body cannot keep up with the production of fuel and oxygen and so you need to dip into your reserves. When you dip into your reserves you produce numerous waste products – principally lactic acid.

Maximal (over 90%) Develops maximum speed and should only be used for short bursts of activity.

I’ve started listening to a podcast produced by Jeff and Diane Kline of PRS Fit and they are huge proponents of heart rate training.  It seems like they would concur with my doctor and that I should spend a lot of time training at the Fat/Aerobic training zones.  They say it will feel really slow at first but over time my speed would come back and my splits would drop.   What do you think about that?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Running Groups are Great!

It was great to run with a group of people again last Saturday. I ran with the Polar Bears a group from the Minnesota Distance Running Association. I ran with the second pack at around 8 minute pace. We ran out 45 minutes along the Minnehaha Parkway and then turned around and came back. It was very nice to run with other people and made the run go by a lot easier. The front pack of guys are training for Boston, so they went longer at a pretty steady pace.

It is amazing how much difference it can make running with other people. Even without talking the pace just kind of moves you and you feel like no effort has been exerted. Now it did feel like we ran almost 11 miles when we finished, but it was a good feeling! Crunch, Crunch, Crunch – the sound of a group running along the snow-covered trails!

I ran with them again this past week. I went out with the front group which was running around 7 minute pace. This was perfect for the workout schedule. They made it a lot easier to stay motivated and focused on pushing through the pain!

Do you train with a group?? Which one?? If you are a Twin Cities runner which running club(s) do you belong to?

[tags] Running Clubs, Minnesota, MDRA, Minnesota Distance Running Association [/tags]

5 Facts About Base Training

I believe that most runners are enjoying the doldrums of winter by slogging away at miles, on the treadmill or braving the cold. I know some are fortunate enough to be racing as many completed the Disney World races and the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon.

For those of us training for a spring race, most are in the midst of Base Training. What is Base Training? Base training is essentially the time when you are creating a base that your eventual race and season will be based off. If you think of something like a pyramid, then the base is… you guess it the bottom! Generally speaking the broader your base the more stable the rest of the pyramid will be. According to Running Planet base training is “designed to refocus and strengthen the base that has already been built over years of consistent running.”

  1. Base Training builds endurance – this training is designed to be easy runs while increasing your mileage. You can do some Fartleks for a little speed, but most should be run at conversational pace.
  2. Base Training is great for drills and skills – this is a good time to work on your overall running form and overall efficiency. It is also a great time to begin weight lifting which will help improve the aforementioned form and efficiency.
  3. Focus and Plan – You may have already selected a goal race, how about a goal pace? If you haven’t selected a race yet, this is a good time to do so. You might not currently feel very fit, but in a few short weeks you will be. This is also a good time to plan ahead for your overall training schedule and make sure that you plan for your long runs later in the year.
  4. Base Training aka Pre-Season Training – Running Planet actually calls their base phase: “Pre-Season Training.” I like their thoughts that for most of us we already have a base, we just need to get back in shape. They say, ” I do not like the term “base building” because it suggests that something must be built from the ground up. As I said earlier, competitive runners are never far from their base and never far from race shape.” I would agree that for most competitive runners that is definitely the case. I’m not sure how many age-groupers would fall into that category, so base training might still be the best term, if not the most common!
  5. Quantity over Quality – it is worth mentioning again that Base Training is about running miles, not speed. Focus on conversational pace (there is a really in-depth scientific reason for this, I promise) runs and increasing your miles. Note: For this point Quality is referring to speed not things like form. You should be running at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate and should easily be able to converse with training partners. This is hard for me because I don’t like seeing slow paces show up in my log. But it is important. If you want to add “quality” or speed work, keep it simple, things like longer tempo runs or fartleks are perfect.

Keep running and logging the miles. They have revised our forecasts and we aren’t getting single digit high temperatures as previously expected.

Sources include: Runner’s World, Running Planet, and Tri-fuel.

Yesterday’s Workout

Even though it was warmer than expected I hit the treadmill today. I did a lousy 2.5 miles in 21:05 and then the bike for 15 minutes or 4.25 miles. It was really really hot in the gym and I hate being stuck inside!

[tags] Base Training, Training [/tags]