Lately, I often get asked how to start training using heart ❤️ rate (HR) so I thought about writing an article to put out my position. If you train following your HR, you are not making the most of the time ⏰ allocated to training.

We all have a limited amount of time to dedicate to training, most of us have other commitments (i.e. work, family) so we should all aim at maximizing the benefits of each session. Hence the question, why would you choose deliberately to under train?

As you progress within your workout, even if at low intensity, your heart rate will increase as you become more tired. This is called cardiac drift. As your heart rate goes above the prescribed HR zone, you have to slow down to allow for your HR to decrease. Now, the question I ask myself is "as I become more tired, is my perceived effort different from before?" If the answer to this question is no, then by slowing down, I am under training on purpose.

How to train then? Well, the answer is above, use your perceived exertion. There is one concept that those preaching for HR training get right, most of your training should be at low intensity. If the level of effort you put in your workout is the same throughout the workout then there is no need to slow down. In that way, you are making the most of the time allocated to training.

How do you stay accountable and true to the low intensity training? This is easy to answer too. If you can talk on your run then your training is below your ventilatory threshold, this corresponds to easy running. If you can't talk, then you have to slow down. If you have no one to talk to, then you can do like me: just count to ten every kilometre!


I’m a UESCA© Ultra Coach, get in touch at werunultras.com