Your heart seems to do a lot... you have it broken, you give it away, you put it in sentences “I ❤ you”, it even keeps you alive – what!? So you should listen to that over working, not so good looking on the inside, little ticker!
So... the question is... what the hell am I on about? Well as a runner your heart is the boss, upset the little guy and he’s going to put you in a lactic state which will be hard to climb out of...
I always ran without a Heart Rate Monitor, running on feel and yes it’s good to do so once in a while – but if you looking for a PB you better start paying attention to that dude in your chest. Go find out what your maximum Heart Rate is via a VO2 test, or do the default (however not the most accurate) minus your age from 220. Go buy a chest strapped HR Monitor as they are more accurate than the wrist HR Monitors.
Your example is a 30 year old man with a resting HR of 60. 220 – 30 = 190MHR
Now what? Now there 4 zones you need to work on to go find that PB for any distance. Zone 1 is 60% to 70% (138 to 151 for your 30 year old estimate of your MHR), stay in this zone for your long easy/recovery runs – even if it feels too slow. Zone 2 is Aerobic where your focus is an uncomfortable pace but manageable in the 70% to 80% (151 to 164 of your MHR). Zone 3 is Anaerobic 80% to 90% these are your hard sessions where your muscles are burning and your breathing is hard (164 to 177 of you MHR). Finally Zone 4 is Lactic Threshold %90 to 100%, you only train in this zone once you’ve built a solid endurance base and your fitness has improved drastically, train short periods in this zone with efficient rest (177 to 190 of your MHR).
Sometimes it feels like your body can do more but rather keep an eye on that HR, eventually you start to notice how that pace per kilometre decreases and your HR stays in the desired zones. Before you know it those PB’s are dropping like flies being sprayed with Doom...
Added benefits to keep track of your runs, download those runners apps. Strava, TomTom Active, Garmin Connect and many others... this will enable you to see detailed information on your runs and not only that – give motivation to get out there and run. Start tracking your food intake and water consumption, doing this will find you the perfect combination the next time you head out for a Trail Race.
My heart right now... it’s telling me it wants pizza... I better listen – the heart knows best!