Get Faster With Heart Rate Training

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If you're a serious runner, one of your New Year's resolutions is likely to get fitter and faster in 2019. Now, what if we told you the best way is to slow down?

Professional runners all know to include a slower training day in their schedules, but the rest of us are often plagued by "numbers" - how far we ran, how fast we ran, how many times we tied last week running shoes.

The problem with this approach is that you work so hard every time you exercise, your muscles -- including your heart -- don't have time to recover, rebuild, and get stronger.

A better plan is to combine long, slow days with shorter-paced workouts and more intense workouts, said Cris Dobrosielski, a spokesman for the U.S. Athletic Commission and owner of Memorial Achievement in San Diego. Rhythm running combined.

This is where heart rate training comes in. The idea is to use your heart rate (or beats per minute) to measure your exercise intensity. Not all exercise should be at peak intensity. By calculating your maximum heart rate, you will be able to identify your various heart rate training zones and use these numbers to plan your exercise so that you can train your body to run faster without compromising your cardiovascular or Excessive stress on the musculoskeletal system.

"If we could sprint 10K, we would all set records, which would be great, but there are a number of reasons why we can't, not the least of which is that your body has a threshold for aerobic and anaerobic exercise," Dobrosi Elski said his clients include elite runners and swimmers. Your aerobic threshold is the level at which your aerobic performance improves; your anaerobic threshold is the level at which lactate is more easily excreted from your blood.

Heart rate training allows you to gradually increase these thresholds so that you can work out at a higher level and then get faster.

Here's how to get started:

1. Calculate your maximum heart rate. The most common formula for calculating your maximum heart rate (MHR) is to subtract your age from 220. So, if you are 35 years old, your MHR will be 220–35 = 185. This is your maximum heartbeat per minute that the cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity.

While this formula is fairly accurate in calculating heart rate training zones for most people (see #2 below), Dobrosielski prefers to use heart rate reserve, which is:

Max Heart Rate = 220 – Age

Heart rate reserve = maximum heart rate - resting heart rate

Fortunately, your Fitbit device calculates your resting heart rate, so you don't have to. Click here to learn more about tracking heart rate with Fitbit devices.

2. Determine your heart rate training zone. Dobrosielski identified five training areas:

1: 50-60% of maximum heart rate. It's a relaxing or active recovery day, and it's likely to be the area you'll be training for the day after a hard workout. At this rate, you can easily keep the conversation going.
2: 60-70% of maximum heart rate. This is the low-end cardio zone, and is your training rhythm on long and slow days (usually once a week). You should still be able to talk to friends without breathing difficulties.
Zone 3: 75-80% of maximum heart rate. It's a high-end aerobic pace, and it's more difficult to speak (maybe short sentences to keep breathing). This is the area where you train most of the week and where you may build your endurance.
Zone 4: 85-90% of maximum heart rate. This is the anaerobic threshold and the upper limit of your abilities. You can't maintain this speed indefinitely, but it's an important training area if you want to improve your 5k or 10k race speed.
Zone 5: 90-100% of maximum heart rate. Usually you can only hold that speed for 20 to 30 seconds, but it's important to incorporate these bursts of speed for the final 200-300 meters of "kicks" at the end of the race. Allows you to overtake your competition not far from the finish line.
3. Plan your weekly workouts. The number of days you train in each training zone largely depends on how many days per week you can train, Dobrosielski says. "When you're trying to develop an exercise program to increase speed or lose weight, you have to consider three variables: frequency, intensity, and time. All three are important. If your time is short, then your effort must be higher; you Most of your work will be in the high-end cardio range. If you want to burn fat, then you're really talking about more 45 minutes or more."

4. Get faster with this plan. Ideally, a commitment of 5 or 6 days a week produces the best results. Dobrosielski recommends two of them be high-intensity (zones 4 and 5) -- think track and field or mountain repetition. You'll want to spread out these days as much as possible (e.g., Wednesday and Saturday). During this period, there will be two days of high-end cardio, running at a controlled pace in zone 3. Finally, you'll want to spend a long, slow day in zone 2. If you add a sixth day, you'll want it to be an "active recovery" day for Zone 1.

5. How can I tell if I am overtraining? One final note: as long as you check your heart rate regularly, it's a good idea to record your resting heart rate every morning. Dobrosielski says that if you notice your RHR is going up a few beats, that could be a sign that you need to take a day or two off, and take a day or two off. Then it's time to get back to work!