Heart Rate Training

So why do we need heart rate training? Why not follow the old saying: No Pain, No Gain. You can't go wrong with that right? Well, yes and no. How much pain is enough? Too much and you'll get injured or burn out; too little and you'll never get faster or fitter.

One of the keys to a successful marathon training program is to know exactly how hard to train. Heart rate training helps to answer this question. You want to balance your stress with recovery for maximum effect. In the words of Nike's co-founder Bill Bowerman, "Stress, recover, improve. That's all training is." But again, how much stress is too much, and how much do we need to recover? Basically, how hard and how much? Heart rate training helps answer these questions.

Your heart rate gives you an indication of how hard your body is working during exercise. Knowing your resting and maximal heart rate gives you the framework for understanding where your stress and recovery levels reside. This will give you and understanding of how hard to train. Also, tracking your resting heart rate will give you an indication of how well your body is recovering. This will let you know how much to train. Continue reading, and check out the links below to go into more detail on these topics and more.

Heart Rate Monitors

In order to perform effective heart rate training, you're going to need a heart rate monitor. While it is possible to check your heart rate without one during training, it is immeasurably impractical. Not only do you need a heart rate monitor to give quick reliable feedback, but they can also save the data to review laps, time, pace, and average heart rates after your workout (something that is almost impossible without one). Along with that, virtually all brands of monitors will come with features that let you up-load data to a computer for further analysis. The bottom line, research a good Heart Rate Monitor and buy one.

Target Heart Rate

So you've gotten yourself a heart rate monitor, now what? You'll need to know the best heart rate for your training runs. Your Target Heart Rate for any given run will be determined by your max and resting heart rates. The difference between your max heart rate and your resting heart rate is called your heart rate reserve. The appropriate training zone for any given workout will generally lie somewhere in the middle of your heart rate reserve. Click the link above to get an understanding of how to calculate your individual heart rate training zones.

Anaerobic Threshold - Lactic Acid

To get slightly more technical about our heart rate training, we should discuss your anaerobic threshold. Simply put, your anaerobic threshold (or lactate threshold) is the speed at which you can run for extended periods without succumbing to eventual exhaustion. More precisely, it is the exertion level at which the production of Lactic Acid out paces the bodies ability to remove or recycle it. There is a lot of information and misinformation about lactic acid on the web. And many of the ills and evils of over exertion have been blamed, undeservedly, on lactic acid. Click the link above to get an overview of training your lactate system and raising your anaerobic threshold.

Heart Rate Calculators

With all the information given on the above linked pages, there are a number of different calculators that derive the various heart rate zones and thresholds. Check out the Heart Rate Calculator page for a complete listing of all the calculators used on this site that are helpful in any marathon training program.

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