Training with Heart Rate Zones is becoming more popular but still causes a lot of confusion.
HEART RATE ZONES EXPLAINED
Many find that the ‘zone’ they’re working in based on their maximal heart rate doesn’t match up with how easy or hard the exercise feels. For example, clients report going out for an ‘easy’ run that’s then recorded as zone 4 on their watch or phone.
MAXIMAL HEART RATE
A common reason for this is that everyone’s heart responds slightly differently to exercise. And everyone’s maximal heart rate is different. Fitness devices use a formula to ‘predict’ maximum heart rate (which is then used to set the zones) – and for many, this works fine. However, if your maximal heart rate falls outside of the average used in the formula by 10-15 beats per minute, this will skew your numbers.
TESTING YOUR HEART RATE
You can get around this by ‘testing’ your maximal heart rate out on a run – an example of this might be running for 1-2km (after warming up) as fast as you can and taking the highest heart rate reading seen on your fitness device as your maximum. Many apps will then let you adjust the zones, so doing this test should let you come up with zones that are more specific to you.
HEART RATE MARKERS
We can also use other markers like race paces (as shown in the picture) to give us an idea of what zone we are working in. These aren’t perfect, and will also differ from person to person, but they can help to guide us in the right direction.
Do you need some help with Heart Rate Training for your next big event?
Why not get in touch and speak to one of our practitioners today!