Run more effectively by working to your heart rate zones, advises celebrity personal trainer Ricardo Macedo
Monitoring your heart rate while you are training can make for a much more efficient workout, especially if you are aiming to increase your running speed or distance.
Any changes in your performance such as extra workload, speed, terrain or length of time will affect your heart rate. Thus, pinpointing what makes your heart work harder will allow you to identify your weaknesses and strengths in your fitness levels. From there you can work on your weaknesses and thus train more effectively.
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PT Ricardo Macedo says, 'Our heart rate is like the RPM in a car. It shows when you are overdoing it, or if you are putting in too little effort to make a difference.'
The first step in working out to your heart rate is to get a heart rate monitor (for example, the Suunto M4). This will help ensure you don't work too hard or take it too easy during training sessions.
Your resting heart rate is best taken in the morning while you are lying still, soon after you wake up. Take the average recorded over a few days.
Once you know your resting heart rate, use the following formula to measure your maximum heart rate: 209 - (0.9 x your age). More experienced runners can find their maximum heart rate through running.
Firstly, warm up, then run as fast as you can for three minutes (ideally on a treadmill), then gently run for 2-3 minutes, then repeat three minutes at your maximum run speed. During the second fast run session, you should record a higher maximum heart rate. Use your heart rate monitor to check readings throughout.
Subtract your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate, to calculate your working heart rate eg 206max - 55rest = 151 working heart rate.
Training zones to aim for:
How to know when you're 'in the zone':
Take whatever percentage of your working heart rate that you're aiming for eg 60% for an easy run.
Multiply your working heart rate by this percentage eg 151 working heart rate x 0.60 = 90
Add this figure to your resting heart rate eg 90 + 55 resting heart rate = 145. This is your personal target heart rate for an easy run.
Ricardo Macedo founded and runs the R-Fitness personal training gym in West London.
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