Anyone who just starts training based on heart rate needs patience. Lots of patience. Your heart rate won’t fall perfectly into your training zone overnight, and it may even swing out of control on some days. How come? We will go into this further in this article.
Would you like to know more about heart rate zones, available heart rate monitors for our app and the corresponding intensity? Then read our blog post “training on heart rate“.
Your heart rate and your running speed
Later in this article we look at possible factors that can influence your heart rate, but first we start from the ideal scenario to explain the connection between heart rate and running speed. When you start running, your workouts are controlled based on the intensity, ranging from a very light to heavy feeling. For each training intensity you will develop a running pace that you can fall back on in normal circumstances. Just as your running pace is very individual, so is your heart rate. A running pace that feels very light to one person may be a bit heavy for another. Your heart rate follows the line of your training intensity and will increase as the intensity increases. But just like with the running pace, a heart rate of 160 beats per minute will feel like a heart rate in which some can continue training, and others will find too demanding. Therefore, do not compare your running pace and your heart rate zones one by one with another runner, but start from your own feeling and experience.
Your heart rate and your feeling
Your heart rate is not only determined by the intensity of your training. Many other factors can also have an influence. We’ve listed a few possible causes for a higher/lower heart rate:
- weather conditions
Training in strong headwinds, in too hot or too cold conditions or with a higher/lower humidity will feel different from the normal training sessions you are used to. Weather conditions can push your heart rate up or down (think of a strong tailwind almost pushing you forward), so don’t worry if you can’t track your heart rate zones as you faced the snow to get your training session in.
Are you at the start of your (first) running event? Then immediately add a few beats. The healthy tension gives your body an adrenaline rush and automatically increases your heart rate.
Do you feel stressed and your thoughts are spinning out of control? Go for a run outside, fill your lungs (and brain) with oxygen and don’t watch your heart rate zones for a while.
A clear example of overtraining or fatigue is the moment when your heart rate rises less quickly than normal. Give yourself extra rest to recover. Exercising with an non-rested body will only make it worse.
Keep listening to your gut feeling and don’t focus on your heart rate graph after training.
Your heart rate zones are always in a zone of 10 beats. Try to stay in between, and don’t always test your boundaries. This gives you some margin to correct where necessary. Also give your body time to let your heart rate gradually rise & fall. When transitioning to a new training segment, your heart rate will not be in the correct zone after 1 second. Rely on your usual running pace in the desired zone so that your heart rate can gradually adjust.
Precisely for this reason, a heart rate monitor is not useful for short interval training sessions where, for example, you increase your pace for 10 seconds. Rely on your feeling for this training to determine the right intensity.
Test your fitness through your heart rate
Do you feel that your fitness is improving? Put it to the test! For example, plan an identical training once every 2 months, for example a fixed round of 5 km. During your training, stick to the upper limit of your heart rate zone (your heart rate should not exceed X) and try to break the time of your previous test. Do you need less time for the same lap & has your heart rate not gone higher than the predetermined upper limit? Then your fitness has improved.
Pair your heart rate monitor
Do you have a chest strap or band with a bluetooth connection, or a smartwatch that can send heart rate via bluetooth? Then it can be linked in our Start 2 Run app.
Do you have a heart rate monitor at home? Then quickly check whether it is already compatible with our Start 2 Run app. Any heart rate monitor that can send the heart rate via bluetooth can be connected. In practice, we have been able to register successful tests with:
• Polar ignite 2 fitness watch
• Polar Verity Sense optical heart rate sensor
• Polar H10 heart rate sensor
• Polar H9 heart rate sensor
• Garmin forerunner 245 running watch
• Garmin forerunner 745 running watch
• Garmin forerunner 945 smartwatch
• Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate monitor
• Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor
• Wahoo Tickr X heart rate monitor
Reliable sources have already announced that Polar will probably be able to release a software update in October that will ensure that all recent Polar sports watches can be used as heart rate sensors in the Start 2 Run app.
Your heart rate graph
Once you’ve finished your workout, you’ll get a detailed picture of your heart rate. In the graph you can see in which zone you trained, at the bottom of the graph your target zones are displayed, i.e. the zone in which it was proposed to train. This way you can compare and estimate immediately to what extent you have completed your training correctly. Via the handy slider you can look up your heart rate at a specific time or distance point.