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Running at the right pace with heart rate

The HR is not the perfect training solution, but it is a starting point, which will help you to become a more complete runner.


Heart rate is the tachometer of your engine

When starting out, runners frequently run too quickly compared with their initial level of ability. You will tire yourself out and may simply take no pleasure in running, leading to the feeling that the sport is too difficult and not suited to you. This is despite the fact that almost everyone (apart from those who suffer from certain particular pathologies) is capable of running, even if the level of ability varies from one person to another.

Firstly, regardless of your personal objective, you must complete a test to work out your maximum HR, as well as your HR at rest (which needs to be checked frequently). These two elements of information can then be used to work out your different exercise zones.

Beginner runners should not reasonably exceed 70% of their HR. This will ensure that you experience no real discomfort and can increase the duration of your outings as you progress without incurring any specific risk.

But as the saying goes, 'Whatever the speed at which you run, you will always go quicker than someone sitting in a sofa'


Control your effort thanks to heart rate

Another major advantage of training while monitoring your HR is the ability to control your level of effort at all times, and therefore to 'target' the objective you wish to attain during a particular session. This can be done, regardless of whether you are running on level terrain, hilly terrain, on a slope, road or footpath etc. However, if you use a particular speed rather than the heart rate as your benchmark, you will have to take into account all of these external factors.


Heart rate enables progression

Then, as you improve beyond the level of a beginner, or you are already an experienced runner, you will naturally want to improve and attain new targets. To do this, you will use different percentages of your max HR: 80-85-90-95%.

This will also involve sticking to a training plan. There is a very wide and varied range of different training plans to choose from, when seeking the one that will help you reach your future objectives.

The heart rate at rest must be checked once a week. It will decrease during the course of your training until it reaches a certain level. An unexpected change in the latter, such as increasing trend (lasting several weeks) or, conversely, a rapid drop, would indicate fatigue, which may be due to excessive training or the cumulative effect of a strenuous daily routine and sports.


Heart rate: the perfect indicator?

The HR is not the perfect training solution, but it is a starting point, which will help you to become a more complete runner.

The heart rate is a particularly good indicator for novice runners to avoid any risk of error or for experienced runners seeking to improve and attain higher levels of performance.

Then as you begin to perform at a high level on a regular basis, you will be able to add other tools (calculation of your vVO2max, utilisation of the vVO2max, etc.) to the HR tools.

However, whatever the situation and whatever your level of ability, you must always enjoy what you are doing, otherwise your level of improvement will diminish and you will soon get bored of it.


Never forget that despite the new technologies available, the main driver for improving is the level of enjoyment you get from running!