Skip to main content

Heart Rate & Race Pacing

Tonight I gave a talk to the 10K and 1/2 Marathon Clinics at the Sheridan Running Room. The topic was Heart Rate and Race Pacing. Here is the worksheet I put together as a supplemental to my presentation:

Determining Exercise Heart Rate (ExHR)

1.) Determine maximum heart rate (MaxHR) Based on age only

220 –  (_Age in Years_)  =  __Max HR__

Max HR x .9 = Upper Target HR
Max HR x .55 = Lower Target HR

2.) Heart Rate Reserve HRR - takes into account resting HR and is a more accurately individual calculation.

Target HR = [(HR Max - Resting HR) x %] + Resting HR

Use .85 for Upper Target HR and .5 for Lower Target HR when using HRR formula.

3.) To find your resting heart rate (RestHR)

              Check pulse for 6 seconds:  ___________
              Multiply number of heart beats by 10:  ___________

• Maintain or lose weight, your TZ is 60% - 70% of maximum HR
• Reach cardiovascular fitness, your TZ is 70% - 80% of maximum HR
• Increase athletic performance, your TZ is 80% + of maximum HR

4.) Consider how your HR relates to your RPE - Rate of Perceived Exertion


Pacing skills are crucial to achieving best results on race day. Typically the challenge on race day originates from starting out either too fast or too slow. By starting out too fast you fatigue over the distance. Starting too slow you may find your legs will not respond to increases in pace as the legs become tired stride length and turnover will not increase.It is defeating to start out too fast at the beginning and fade badly- when other runners pass you one-by-one along the course it is negative feedback.

Every aerobic workout is subject to increase in heart rate [HR] as it progresses. Your HR increases both during warm-up and then more gradually as you continue at the same pace. This is what we call heart rate drift and it is influenced by both weather conditions and hydration.

A negative split is when your speed increases during the run so the second half is faster than the first. As you take HR drift into consideration, adjustments must be made to keep consistent pacing. For most workouts with a specified HR, you'll need to begin by holding your HR a little lower and finish a little higher than the desired average for the entire workout.

Practical Strategy: What does this mean on race day?

For the first ½ mile go mostly by feel, making sure to not go too high too soon. By the mile mark look for about 72-75% HR and maintain that for the first half of the race, then raise the RPE or simply hold RPE as the heart rate drifts up above 75% to get that even or negative split. In this example HR would be about 75-78% for the second half of the race. You may also need to adjust for hills on the course that will take the HR higher, making sure HR comes back down to the target range on the course.

ZoneBenefitsFrequencyHeart rate
% of reserve
Recovery runsGives you time to recover from harder workouts.Use recovery runs the day after hard workouts.< 70%
Long, slow runs.Builds endurance, and develop the strength of your muscles, bones and joints. Helps develop the metabolic system to enable you to burn more fat. Burn more calories, and so reduce weight. At least one long, slow run a week. 80-90% of your training mileage should be at recovery run pace or long slow run pace.67% - 77%
Lactate (or anaerobic)
threshold pace
Increases the ability of the running muscles to use available oxygen to convert carbohydrate and fat fuel into output.No more than once a week. No more than 10 to 15 percent of total training mileage. About 3-8 miles a week.Beginner:
77% - 83%
82% - 88%
VO2 max paceImproves the body's ability to transport blood and oxygen. Improves running economy.No more than once a week. No more than 4 to 8 percent of total training mileage. 95% -98%


Popular posts from this blog

I don’t have a Diastasis- Why is my abdomen still distended postpartum?

I get asked this question all the time! Here is my answer:
Research has shown that 100% of pregnant women will develop some degree of diastasis recti. A diastasis is a lateral separation in the abdominal wall between the recti or “six pack”, due to a stretching of the midline connective tissue or “linea alba”. Although some diastasis will heal postpartum, in many cases a separation will remain without restorative exercise.
Distention from DR will present as a doming in the midline. Women who heal a diastasis spontaneously or through restorative exercise may still find that their abdomens are distended, particularly after a meal and/or at the end of the day. If there is no diastasis, why is this?
This abdominal distention does not occur in the midline, but rather across the entire abdominal wall. This is due to a weakened hypotonic TVA- transverse abdominis muscle. The TVA is the deepest anterior abdominal muscle, wrapping around the midsection like a girdle, with a left and right side. T…

BulletProof Coffee

I have a client who regularly makes us a cup of BulletProof coffee before our workouts. I have come to enjoy its flavor. BulletProof Coffee is simply black coffee blended in a blender (not mixed with a spoon), with clarified grass fed butter (Ghee) and a medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil (Coconut oil works).

Apparently there are benefits to brain function by blending healthy fats with your morning coffee. Also it has ketonic diet sympathies, as the fasted body in the morning continues burning healthy fat as energy, reducing hunger and helping with weight management. This is my understanding, anyway. I find it tasty and it perks me up :)

Interested in making this for myself, I went to Amazon looking for products. Here is what I found- typical of protein powders and health food supplements, I found a lot of packaging and marketing.

This BulletProof coffee package which costs $75.99 for coffee and some hyped up coconut oil? Then there is this Ghee at $57.99. As I added these items to my …

Hello Fresh- An Option for Healthy Meal Planning!

I had an opportunity to try a food delivery service called Hello Fresh. A lot of people have been talking about it and it is becoming a popular option for people who are too busy to shop and plan for meals. It is a much cheaper and healthier option to eating out.  Most meals cost approx $12 per person and the portions are generous.

I am always nervous about subscription services, and in order to redeem the coupon I was gifted I had to signup with payment information. I reviewed the cancellation policy which seemed very uncomplicated. Further to, I can skip weeks as I choose, pausing my subscription. It seemed fair.

My resident kitchen helper Ben volunteered to blog about the meal preparation. Ben is a fantastic creative cook and hobby chef. As we have prepared more Hello Fresh meals he has “beefed up” the ingredients to make extra portions from the same recipe, as well as kid friendly (plainer) versions. Here is Ben’s review of our first Hello Fresh Meal, a Pork Schnitzel.

We received o…