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?