Heart Rate Training: How Does it Work?

I am an avid runner and have recently started heart rate training.  I did this about five years ago, but after some time it fell to the wayside.  Now, I am back at it!  As I remembered, slowing myself down is the hardest part!

I figured I would read up on the facts this time around. Your heart rate tells you the intensity of your work out. How intense you train depends on your fitness goals.  If you are a beginner runner, heart rate training can help you understand how your body reacts to running.  It also helps you control your workouts so that you don’t over train or hurt yourself.   If you have some experience with running, heart rate training can help you fine-tune your running.  If you are a serious runner, it helps you to monitor your running against your training program or routine.  For example, your routine may include a mix of intervals, long distance running, and recovery exercise.  You want to keep your heart rate low if you are trying to loose weight and high if you are working to increase your cardiovascular abilities.

The first step is determining your max heart rate.  The max heart rate is 90-100%. To get 100%, you take 220 – your age.  To get 90%, you take 220 – your age – 10% of the remainder.  So if you are 40, 100% is : 220-40 = 180 and 90% is 220 – 40 – 18 = 162.

You can use this equation to the following 5 training levels by adjusting the percentage subtracted.

Light Exercise Maintain Healthy Heart/Get Fit 50% – 60%
Weight Management Lose Weight/ Burn Fat 60% – 70%
Aerobic Base Building Increase Stamina Aerobic Endurance 70% – 80%
Optimal Conditioning Maintain Excellent Fitness Condition 80% – 90%
Elite Athlete Maintain Superb Athletic Condition 90% – 100%

What are your thoughts? Have you tried heart rate training? Did you enjoy it? Did it improve your performance?

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