I've been putting a big focus on heart rate training these days, and my body is really responding to it. I wish I had gotten into it more a long time ago.
I have two main heart rate workouts I'm doing. One is my one hour negative split Tuesday tempo run. I run down the bike path for 31:30 keeping my heart rate at 75% of max. Then I turn around and keep my HR at 90% of max on the way back (8 miles total). It's mostly downhill going out, and uphill coming back. I've done this workout 5, maybe 6 times now and I'm seeing my times improve a lot. Last week and this week were really good, and the weather was identical so I was able to compare workouts. My tempo pace improved by 8 seconds per mile this week. All total my tempo pace has improved by almost 40 seconds over the last 2 months. I'm due for a bad tempo run, but I'm hoping I can get in a few more weeks of improvement before I hit a plateau.
The other workout is my long run. I'm trying to keep my heart rate at 151 (or below) on my long runs. This is to build my aerobic endurance. Sunday my average heart rate was 151 so I finished right on the edge, which is what I was aiming for. If you're wondering where I came up with 151 as the magic number, here's the formula:
1. Take 180
2. Subtract your age
3. Take this number and correct it by the following:
-If you do not workout, subtract another 5 beats.
-If you workout only 1-2 days a week, only subtract 2 or 3 beats.
-If you workout 3-4 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 5-6 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 7 or more times a week and have done so for over a year, add 5 beats to the number.
-If you are over about 55 years old or younger than about 25 years old, add another 5 beats to whatever number you now have.
-If you are about 60 years old or older OR if you are about 20 years old or younger, add an additional 5 beats to the corrected number you now have.
For my other runs, I keep my heart rate below 151 also with a few exceptions. I do a recovery run with 3 20-second surges in it and I think my HR creeps up above 151 briefly while doing those. I'm also now doing a hill workout every week (just started last week) and my HR goes up while doing hills, but I take it easy running to and from the hill.
I'm really getting hooked on running these days, and I'm starting to think about spending more time running and less time on triathlon. Maybe it's just a phase, but I'd kind of like to learn more about Arthur Lydiard's methods and see if I can get my mileage up to 100 miles per week. I'm a long way away from that now (35-40 mpw), but I'd love to see if I can do it and how my body would respond to that kind of mileage. It might break me, but then again it might get me to the starting line at Boston.
Speaking of Boston, here's a video of Kara Goucher preparing for this year's Boston Marathon...