General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Controlling Heart Rate While Running Rss Feed  
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2006-02-16 12:36 PM

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Subject: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
Hi, I am new here. I am an "adult onset athlete" (to borrow a phrase from another post, lol) and I am training for several events that include running. I am planning to do a sprint tri in June, and my ultimate goal this year is to do an Olympic tri in September.

Since I am new to multisport training, I have been reading a lot here and in books. I have a heart rate monitor and am working on increasing my endurance. Here is my problem: if I walk briskly at 4.0 mph, I can keep my HR around 140 bpm. However, if I jog slowly (like 5.0 mph), my HR shoots up to 160-170! I don't feel like I am using that much more effort to jog than I am to walk. I know I can run 3 miles and my HR will stay high. But for a triathlon, it seems like I need to control my running HR or else I might run out of steam during the run (having already expended so much during swim and cycling).

I was wondering if you have any suggestions about how to train for the run given this information. Should I continue training at a low intensity even if it means walking? I am planning to do an 8k race at the end of April, so I really want to start running in a couple weeks (not just walking).

Thank you in advance for your feedback!


2006-02-16 12:48 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
Hi and welcome!

As far as the HR - you can try doing run/walk intervals. Run until your HR climbs too high (this will really just be a judgement call at this point) and then walk until it settles back down. Repeat until you've finished your scheduled time.

Keeping your HR low is more for training than for racing - when racing you definitely need to pace yourself but you will probably be going faster than most of your workouts. By keeping your HR low you will train your aerobic system and become more efficient at running so you will therefore be able to maintain the same HR but go at a faster pace.

If you are a beginning runner, I would highly recommend one of the run/walk programs on this site to get you going.

Good luck!

Shane
2006-02-16 12:58 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
Hey Kelly J, welcome!!

In part it depends on how long you've been training at low intensity, but I would say - Yes, keep takin it easy....Establish some HR zones for yourself (by either using ones programmed on your HRM, charts, or VO2 max) and start out easy, like stay in yor medium HR zone and if you start to go out of it slow down until you are back in the zone do this for about 4 weeks, then start to sprinkle in some milage increases and intensity increases (some training in your higher HR zone), the rule of thumb is 10% more, of your milage (can't remember if it is per week or per month..) Don't worry about your speed right now, focus on building a base...people will pass you, you will get frustrated at going slow, but it will pay off when you start to ramp up (at least that is what I am hoping, this is my first time at doing this base training stuff too, but I hear people raving about it). The good thing about HR zones is that you will be able to guage how long you can sustain a higher HR.

One of the main things to remember is to have lots of fun...On my first tri I floated thru some of the swim..my goal was to finish..I did, I had a blast too...
2006-02-16 12:58 PM
in reply to: #347402

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Cycling Guru
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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
If/when you become a more "efficient" runner than you will use less energy and your HR will be in lower range for the speed you are at.

Look into the Chi Running and Evolution Running books that the site is sponsored by/recommends. Or read "Advanced Marathoning" by Pfitzinger-Douglas.

Any of those books will give a good explanation on running technique to make you more efficient and less injury prone. There is debate as to which one is really effective in the long run, but for a beginner runner they are great resources.

And continuing the walk/run set-up is not a bad idea. But running slower for longer will work as well in building up your abilities and fitness.

HTH and welcome to the site!
2006-02-16 1:34 PM
in reply to: #347386

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, Texas
Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
I started in a simliar situation last March. My "easy" run had min in the high 170's, low 180's. I had no problem doing this for over 1 hour and didn't feel exhausted (or sore) after. But I knew I needed to work on a base.

I tried the run/walk thing for a little while but quit for a few reasons:
1) I just spent the past 3 months getting to the point where I *could* run
2) Even if I did walk, my HR immediatly shot up as soon as I started jogging again

What I ended up doing was that I jogged at the slowest possible (12 - 13 min/mi) and kept my HR as low as possible. What I saw was that gradually, my HR came down. In May, my aveHR was in the low to mid 170s for an hour run. Now, my aveHR is mainly in the low to mid 150s. The only problem I see with this method is that I'm still at the 12 min/mi pace, but I'm just to the point where my HR is where I want it, so I'm beginning to be able to pick up my pace a bit without going too high with HR.

Even though just about all of my run training was slow and easy, I ran a 9:15 pace for the three miles in first tri.
2006-02-16 3:21 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Lethbridge, Alberta
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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
I don't know if this is the right approach but I found a way to 'run' with my heart rate down very low. See what your HR is if you run on the spot, keeping your turnover up but barely lifting your feet. Last summer I did a LT test during a 5k run and got 180 but I can run on the spot like that with a HR under 120. Then, let the spot you are running on slowly drift forward. Don't worry about speed. If I work at it I can 'run' slowly with a HR in the 120's, and when I was recovering from an injury last year I did that sometimes. Early mornings are good since there are fewer fast walkers passing you then. It's easy to lean forward a bit to adjust your HR and speed upwards from there to whatever target you choose.

Of course, I'm not a real runner and I've just been winging it here so if this is a really stupid idea, would someone please let me know?


2006-02-16 3:32 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
This may be a repeat of what was already covered, but this is what I do.  I use a treadmill and keep lowering or raising the pace until I have reached 75 to 80% of my herat rate zone.  Mine is 148.  When I'm finished the average hr should read 148.  If it reads lower for three consecitive runs, I move the pace up by 1 notch.  I originally started out with a 12 minute pace, which felt like I was walking.  Before my IM race I was up to a 7:30 pace while holding the 148 heart rate.  I like the treadmill for this because its a controlled environment.  Sometimes your heart rate starts off lower and then increases later on, this is why its important to access the average heart rate at the end of your run and make adjustments for the following run.  This is not an easy program to do, but it does increase your speed and lowers your heart rate while increasing efficiency. 
2006-02-16 4:19 PM
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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
Great thread!

Any advice on how to balance competing goals? I want to keep my HR lower, but when I slow down , my turnover slows too. And when I run at a slower cadence, my hip hurts the next day. When I keep my cadence up, my hip doesn't bother me. Can I keep my cadence up and my HR down? Arghh, I think I am going insane!
2006-02-16 4:46 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Champion
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Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
You can definitely have a high turnover with a lower HR - you just need to working on shortening your stride. It will feel like you are taking baby steps but you will be able to keep the cadence up. When you first start this you may notice that your HR is slightly higher than normal as your body adapts to the higher turnover at low speeds but it will quickly become second nature.

Shane
2006-02-16 6:00 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
Kelly,
My run situation is identical to yours and is normal. When you go from 4.0 MPH to 5.0 MPH that is a 25% increase in speed and power required (forget wind resistance at these speeds). If your 4 MPH HR is 140 then you would expect your 5 MPH HR to go up 25% to 175. Use the talk test to figure out the max HR you want to train at. As you run your HR will slowly go up. When it gets to the upper limit, walk until it drops about 20 BPM, then start jogging again. Pretty soon you wont have to walk much. When you get to where you can jog for 30 minutes straight, then you can start working on different training methods to increase your speed. I am new at this also, but this is what I have read from many sources. Hope it helps.
2006-02-16 6:14 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
What is the goal in watching your HR? Is it purely for training reasons or safety reasons? I thought that I should just train as hard as I feel comfortable, but do I need to purchase a HR monitor of some kind to monitor that?


2006-02-16 7:06 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Champion
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Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
You definitely don't need a HRM - however it can help you get the most out of your training. Watching your HRM isn't for safety reasons, rather it is to ensure that you are training the correct systems and going easy or hard enough for the specific workout. There is a quote that you will often see that states most triathletes train too hard on their easy days and too easy on their hard days.

If you have a HRM you will be able to do a field test for your LT from which you can base training zones and train more effectively.

Shane
2006-02-16 7:09 PM
in reply to: #347844

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
what is LT?
2006-02-16 9:05 PM
in reply to: #347846

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Lethbridge, Alberta
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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
mandy7741 - 2006-02-16 6:09 PM

what is LT?


Lactate Threshold

Check in the BT articles under training for some heart rate training info. A while back, there was a long thread on HR training and lactate threshold.
2006-02-17 5:30 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running

Here'a a good article by Mark Allen on how to train to develop your aerobic system:

 

http://www.xtri.com/article.asp?id=448&offset=0

 

 

2006-02-17 5:42 PM
in reply to: #347386

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Master
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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
I started training/running last May and did my first Tri last Sept. I started run/walking just to survive. Then I just kept trying to run more than I had run the time before. I didn't even begin monitoring my hr until I could run 40 minutes (wasn't able to do this until after I had completed my tri). Soooo....being disappointed in my run time from my race (I ended up having to walk some of it) I decided I would dedicate my off season to improving my run. And I have! I started with a hr monitor and doing 1-2 short runs and one long run per week. It makes running so much more fun to slow down! My long run (my longest was actually today!) is up to 1 hr, 20 minutes....that's non-stop and keeping my hr under 144/146. I'm still slow, but I could run for days.Good luck.....and being here is half the battle. All the run improvements I have enjoyed have mainly come from tips from the GREAT people at this site.


2006-02-20 9:44 AM
in reply to: #347386

Member
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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
Thank you everyone for your replies. I tried the run/walk method this morning on the treadmill. I also slowed the run down. I will give this a try for a while. I need to be patient though, because I feel like I am going soooo slow!
2006-02-20 9:57 AM
in reply to: #349920

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running

everybody has given great advice about how to control your HR, but here's my question... Do you need to?

I suggest that before you start trying to keep your HR in a particular area, that you do a LT test as outlined in those articles. Once you find your LT and set your zones you can see if your HR jumping to 170 is really a problem.

My HR is around 120 when I'm walking before a run, but the top of my zone two is 172. So even if my HR jumps up to 170 while I'm running, I'm still running aerobicly and don't need to slow down.  Also if you are running in the aerobic zones (1&2), you should feel like you arne't putting out much effort.  That should be the place that you feel you can run all day long.  

Since everybody's LT is different, you really can't just see a HR on the monitor and equate it to intensity level unless you know your LT for reference.

So go suffer your 30 min of pain and get you LT!



Edited by vortmax 2006-02-20 9:58 AM
2006-02-20 10:39 AM
in reply to: #349930

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, Texas
Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
I would not recommend an LT test for someone that cannot run for 1+ hours straight. The test may be doable, but I doubt it would be accurate. My guess is the muscles would tire too quickly which could lead to a low LT HR.
2006-02-21 8:34 PM
in reply to: #347693

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Subject: RE: Controlling Heart Rate While Running
Below is an article that might help you maintain high turnover for slow running - which is VERY important. Hope it helps.

Ken

Maintaining High Turnover When Running Slowly
© 2005 by Ken Mierke

Running with high turnover (180-182 foot-strikes per minute) increases running efficiency and reduces the risk of injury. Many runners maintain high turnover during tempo runs, track workouts, and races, but fail to do so when running at a basic endurance pace. Learning to maintain the same turnover when running at any speed will improve your training and racing.

Elite runners of any height and leg length, generally run with a cadence between 180 and 182 steps per minute. Watch the lead pack in a road race the next time you get the opportunity. You will be amazed at the incredible synchronicity of the runner’s strides. Efficient runners of significantly different height and leg length consistently chose almost identical turnover rates. Why would a 6’2” professional runner use the same turnover rate and significantly shorter stride length (proportionate to height) than a 5’4” runner?

One major reason for this is caused by the nature of the elastic responses of human tissue. At a given pace, longer strides mean more contact time with the ground. This reduces the benefit of elastic recoil, causing the muscles to contract more forcefully. Even though a taller runner’s legs may be longer, his elastic tissues respond just like shorter runners’. When human tissue is stretched and released, it snaps back forcefully. This enables runners to store energy in the Plantar Fascia, the Achilles tendon, and the Soleus and Gastrocnemius muscles from one stride and return that energy as propulsion in the next stride. Optimal use of elastic recoil is a major difference in efficiency differences between runners.

Runners’ tissues snap back forcefully when stretched and released, but they do not when stretched and held, even for a very short time period. When the stretch is held, even for a fraction of a second, the stored energy dissipates, resulting in far less energy returned as elastic recoil. The taller runner must take strides that are proportionally shorter (compared to leg length) in order to keep contact time between the feet and ground short to enable the energy return from elastic recoil.

The second reason is that a longer stride necessitates greater vertical displacement. If I wanted to throw a baseball 20 feet, I could basically throw it on a straight line without much arc. To throw the ball 50 yards, however, I would have to arc it upward, because gravity would have a long time to act on the ball. In the same way, running with long strides forces runners to move up and down more than shorter strides.

Longer strides also require the muscles to contract more forcefully to create horizontal propulsion. First of all, to cover 20% more ground, even with optimal efficiency, 20% more force at push-off would be required. Factoring in the need for vertical displacement and the loss of power from elastic recoil, and the increase in force required at push-off is staggering.

Contracting muscles more forcefully fatigues them far more than contracting them frequently with less force. Each of our muscles is made up of thousands of different muscle fibers. These muscle fibers fall into two basic categories (though there are also several sub-categories), slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Fast-twitch fibers are tremendously powerful, but fatigue very quickly. Slow twitch muscle fibers have tremendous endurance, but are not very powerful. One major problem with taking long strides is that the slow-twitch fibers are not able to provide the majority of the power required for push-off and the fast-twitch fibers are required to contribute significantly. Running with longer strides and slower turnover requires much more power at push-off than the slow-twitch fibers can produce. This means the fast-twitch, sprint muscle fibers must contract to make up the difference, which leads to lactic acid accumulation and premature fatigue.

Running with a slow turnover requires increased vertical displacement, greater contact time with the ground, and more forceful contractions at push-off, all of which impair economy and lead to local muscular fatigue and greater risk of injuries. Improving this aspect of technique pays big dividends.

Our research has shown that, for durations of the range of triathlon race durations, optimal turnover is about 180 – 182 steps per minute, regardless of running speed. This is considerably higher turnover than most runners naturally use, especially on long, slow runs.

Learning to keep turnover higher on your easy runs is a critical part of efficient training. Good cyclists keep cadence relatively high even on an easy zone 1-2 ride. Keeping turnover high on easy runs is even more important because slow turnover training does not effectively train the elastic response that you need to run your best on race day. If a runner uses slow turnover for basic endurance training, he/she is asking his/her muscles to create force on race day in a way that has been trained for a small fraction of training mileage. That is not the way to produce optimal results.

Running with quick, short strides is unnatural for all runners, but especially for taller runners, who have been told to take advantage of their long legs by using a long strides. To gain the “free speed” of elastic recoil, tall runners must use the same high turnover as shorter runners. This means they must learn to use steps which seem proportionally shorter for their leg length. I have had tremendous success teaching tall runners to take quick, short strides and increase their efficiency. My wife, who is 6 feet tall, learned to run with high turnover and as a result won a triathlon national championship, turning in the fastest run split.

Certain biomechanical techniques are key to increasing turnover to maximize efficiency.
1. Efficient runners have no pause at the completion of the leg’s follow through. The leg pulls back to provide propulsion and then immediately the knee drives forward. Leg recovery must be initiated as the leg is still moving backward in follow through from the propulsive phase.

2. During leg recovery, the knee is driven forward powerfully by the hip flexor muscles at the front of the upper thigh. The forward movement must be quick and powerful, with full knee bend, but the range of motion of leg recovery must be very short. The forward knee drive is completed when the knee is only slightly in front of the hip and the foot is directly beneath the knee.

3. The foot lands directly beneath the hips to prevent braking, instead of landing out in front.

4. Contact time between the feet and ground is minimized.

5. Pushoff is not created by forceful contractions, but by light, quick movements. Bodybuilders don’t win 10Ks or marathons.

6. Extend the knee and foot well behind your hips, but never very far in front. Your feet should stay under and behind you all the time, even at slow paces.

7. All this is accomplished while maintaining relaxation.

Make sure that you do not attempt to increase turnover by pulling the leg back faster during the weight bearing phase of running. That will increase both turnover and stride length, leading to incorrect training intensity and possibly premature fatigue. That isn’t efficient running; that is going too hard. Work toward a significantly higher turnover with slightly shorter steps and you will increase speed without increasing energy expenditure.

Many of the athletes we coach use metronomes during running. A modern metronome is just slightly larger than a credit card and will beep at any rate you set it for. (Most music stores carry these devices) We usually have runners determine their natural turnover and gradually increase it over time, with the ultimate goal being approximately 180 steps per minute. We generally have runners increase turnover by three to five steps-per-minute each week until approximately 180 steps per minute feels natural.

Learning to run in a relaxed manner at high turnover with short to moderate stride length takes concentration, effort and patience, but these techniques will help almost every runner to maximize efficiency and minimize the risk for injuries. Take the time and effort to evolve your running and you will run faster with fewer injuries.


Ken Mierke,author of The Triathlete’s Guide to Run Training, is a two-time World Champion triathlete (Disabled Division, 1997,1998) an exercise physiologist, and developer of the techniques of Evolution Running. Two of Ken’s 15 clients won world championships in 2005 and he has coached 13 National Champions and 28 Team USA athletes. Find more about Ken at www.Fitness-Concepts.com or www.EvolutionRunning.com



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