Updating max heart rate with a random time trial

After taking basically the whole weekend off from training, I had planned on an easy Monday. But after losing morning training to stomach issues (that went away once I got to work, go figure), and having no big training plans tonight, I decided on a whim at my 10am break at work to try a Hadd HR-max test:

  • You run 800 meters as hard as you can manage. Your time isn’t relevant.
  • You rest for 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • You run 400 meters as hard as you can manage. Your time isn’t relevant.
  • Your max heart rate out of the whole thing is probably your actual current max heart rate.

Not a bad way to start out year 45, I guess.

Though I got it done without wishing death, let’s just say breathing was hard for a little while afterward, and even now (breathing better and able to function) I still feel like I’m recovering from the experience. I’ll probably need a good night’s sleep before I feel totally fine.

Also important, my max heart rate was 180, a couple ticks below my prior estimates. This makes sense as I haven’t been training like I was in Chicago, where my max frequently exceeded estimates.

As for HR training zones, I had historically warned against conventional 50-60-70-80-90% HRmax training zones (e.g. Zone 1 is 50-60% of HRmax, Zone 2 60-70%, etc). Those 50-60-70-80-90 zones were originally meant to be used with the Karvonen formula, which were based on a percentage of heart rate reserve (the difference between your resting HR and HR max), not a percentage of HR max itself!

As most people run, the zones are far too low for running, even if they work fine for other cross training. Most of us running naturally quickly exceed 70-75% without trying. With those zones, most wouldn’t be able to run at all! (For other cross training, they’re fine, as most don’t go hard enough to exceed 70-80% of max.)

Since reading Douillard and starting serious nose breathing, however, I’ve been able to jog at 60-65% for the first time ever (albeit very slowly). I still think for most the zones I recommended (65-70-80-85ish-90ish% of max, or using 50-60-70-80-90 of heart rate reserve) are the best ones to use.

Right now 60-70% is 108-126 bpm. If I get on a treadmill and go super slow, I can probably hang there for a good while, at least 30-45min. The pace is obviously not much of a problem. That’s not a bad starting point for building volume.

This past week, between any running, cross training, walking, I logged over 12 hours training, the most I’ve done since Vancouver this year. And it was probably the least stressful block of training I’ve done in a while. Sure, it still tired me out, but I didn’t feel run ragged after any of it like… well, after this time trial! This is sustainable.

Meanwhile, now I’m approaching a block of Saturday races, three in a row starting this weekend (the first two are 10K, the last is currently a Half Marathon, though I’m open to dropping down to that event’s 10K if not ready).

So now’s not the time to pile on volume. In fact, not being able to go this morning helped a bit with tapering for this Saturday’s 10K. But the trial did give me a bit of hard running stimulus ahead of the race, plus gave me an idea of what intensity I can do this weekend.

More to come as I start putting pieces together on training, but the real meat and potatoes probably won’t come before November, when this race block is done.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: