Thanks to my knee putting me out of running and messing with my Triathlon plans, I am getting back into running using a 5k training plan from the Garmin web site.
What’s cool is that it drops the workouts into my Garmin 910XT watch, and then it tells me what to do.
I’m already up to 15 minutes of easy jogging using a very basic interval process: 5 minutes jogging, 5 minutes walking. The knee is holding up nicely and now it’s only really getting up and down, squats and lunges that really kill it.
Don’t tell my physiotherapist. I think she’d be disappointed.
I chose a beginners heart rate based program, thinking that it would help me ensure I don’t go too hard or too fast. As it turns out, this heart rate business is the odd part of the program.
It asks me to try to run with my heart rate between 135-147 bpm. I have found that I can’t run any slower than I am and still be running, but my heart rate is consistently higher than 147. In fact, for a whole 5 minutes of my jog, the watch beeps and tweets at me: “heart rate too high”.
I’m usually sitting around 160bpm when I’m running. And I feel like I’m not going too hard. This is meant to be an easy run, “zone 2”, and I think zone 4 or 5 is the highest in the training plan.
So, I had to wonder, how was this setting determined? What % of my max heart rate are they asking me to work in?
If we use the very basic calculation of 220-age to get Max HR, then work out percentages, we can decide if this is even a reasonable request.
But, because I’m not a fan of math, and because I think 220-age is too simplistic, I’ve used an online calculator at Calculate Now. Their page isn’t the shiniest, but I do like their calculations. Going through their steps leads me to this information:
Calculate your Heart Rate Reserve and Training Zones
|Resting Heart Rate:||Resting Heart Rate(RHR):||70||Calculate MHR|
|Maximum Heart Rate:||Maximum Heart Rate(MHR):||185|
|Heart Rate Reserve(HRR):||115|
|Fat Burning: From||128||to||139||beats per minute|
|Aerobic: From||139||to||151||beats per minute|
|Steady State: From||151||to||162||beats per minute|
|Anaerobic: From||162||to||174||beats per minute|
|Maximal: From||174||to||185||beats per minute|
This suggests to me that I am still working in a zone that is not over-reaching, and probably zone 3, but honestly, I cannot figure out how to run ‘easier’. Maybe I’m out of shape, or maybe it’s my age, the heat, or maybe I am just running too fast, but this just seems to be where I settle.
I’ve read plenty of running column advice that summarizes excellent training into:
Make your easy runs easier. Make your hard runs harder.
But right now, I don’t think I could do either and still accomplish anything.
I want to build fitness, lose weight, fix this silly knee… so I’m not going to stress too much about being in the higher heart rate zone.
I think, instead, I might ignore the beeps, tweets, and whistles from the watch that says I’m going too fast, and instead, think of it as saying, “Keep going, you’re doing great!”
Perhaps, once my fitness is up and my knee is happy, I’ll have a much better play with my zones, but for now, I think I will stick to ‘feels good and safe’ as my guide.