Monday, March 8, 2010

Using MHR and RHR to calculate out everything necessary for your running program

So you have your MHR and RHR rates, now it's time to use these numbers to determine all of your heart zones.

Let's use an example to demonstrate the zones. First take you MHR and subtract your RHR. For our example, we will use 185 for the MHR and 55 for the RHR. Using the result, multiply it by .60, .70, .80, .85, and .90 and add your RHR to all of these percentages. Let's look at the example:

185 – 55 = 130

.50 – (130 x .5) + 55 = 120

.60 = (130 x .6) + 55 = 133

.70 = (130 x .7) + 55 = 146

.80 = (130 x .8) + 55 = 159

.85 = (130 x .85) + 55 = 166

.90 = (130 x .9) + 55 = 172

Your probably wondering why we use 85% for one of our calculations while all other calculations are done on increments of ten. 85% is used as a common threshold for the body moving from an aerobic state to an anaerobic state. This means that you are using your muscles without oxygen, which will limit the amount of time you can continue running before the muscles will give out. Outside of speed workouts, you normally don't want to exceed the 85% even in your running or risk failure of your muscles to continue to perform. 50% is widely accepted as the minimum training threshold for gaining any type of endurance for running.

So how should we use these zones? Well, from my past post, remember that you can use these zones to determine what zone you should be training in for each running day:

50-60% (120-133) is usually considered warm-up or if you are going very easy, as in recovery, from a heard workout the day before.

60-75% (133- 152) is considered Aerobic Development – Long Slow Distance, or easy days.

75-85% (152-166) is when you are trying to build aerobic endurance.

85-95% (166- 179) is all anaerobic endurance, so this for distance that is ¼ to 1 mile in distance.

95-100% (179 and above) all speed, going more than a quarter mile at this level is very, very difficult.

Now I want to stress that these are just averages. If you have your maximum and threshold rates determined by a certified health club trainer, the reading will be a lot more accurate. For example, I have a 185 MHR and 55 RHR. When I have been tested, my zones end up like this:

Warm-up = 127 – 142

Aerobic Development = 142 – 152

Aerobic Endurance = 152 – 162

Anaerobic Endurance = 162 -172

Speed/Power – 172 plus.

As you can see, the feedback from the testing done at a health club monitoring my heart rate through various speeds, inclines and stresses is a lot more accurate than using the percentage formulas. Again, not a wide margin of difference, but still more accurate to the point of letting me know the exact number of beats for the training, especially in terms of moving from aerobic to anaerobic.

Tomorrow, we will put this together to put together a weekly training program for your running improvement.

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