App \ Injury prevention \ running technique

Training on heart rate

Home » Tips » Training on heart rate

Since the rise of smartwatches, our heart rate is literally within reach. A huge improvement … provided you can correctly interpret your heart rate and take advantage of it during your workouts. In the article below we discuss training based on heart rate, the factors that can influence your heart rate, the correct calculation and setting of your heart rate zones and the interpretation of your heart rate graph in the Start 2 Run app. 


In the Start 2 Run app we consciously choose to train purely by feel in the first schedule. In the 24 other schedules you can choose to train based on feel only or based on feel and heart rate. You cannot blindly follow your heart rate. Always keep listening to your body. 

When you train by feel in the Start 2 Run app, you get an indication of the training intensity with each lesson, ranging from walking with a very light to light feeling and a pace that you can easily follow to a pace where the intensity is somewhat heavy or is experienced as heavy. 


There are many formulas to get an idea of your personal heart rate zones. In our app we opt for the Karvonen formula, which is based on your resting heart rate and your maximum heart rate during exercise. This calculation is more accurate than the calculation 220 – your age to measure your maximum heart rate. 

Do you want a more accurate estimate of your heart rate zones? Then visit the Energy Lab testing labs for a Start 2 Run fitness test. More details about this test on the treadmill can be found here. 

Although we all have a maximum heart rate of 220, our heart rate zones are very personal. Therefore, do not compare your zones with others, what you experience as high is normal for someone else. 


In the app you will find 5 heart rate zones on which your training sessions are based. Zone 5 is not covered in our schedules, this form of training is reserved for those who are already very advanced at running and who are individually guided by a professional sports coach. 

zone1 50-60% of your max heart rate  
very relaxed running with a very light to light feeling 
zone2 60-70%  
run slowly at an intensity that you can easily sustain 
zone3 70-80%  
running at a slightly higher pace, with the intensity perceived as somewhat heavy. 
zone4 up 80-90%  
running with pace, but don’t go all the way into the red. This intensity is experienced as heavy 
zone5 90-100% of your max heart rate  
Firm acceleration and going into the red. This intensity is very heavy. 
The majority of your workouts, up to 80-90% of your training volume, you will train in zone 2. In this zone you train aerobically, longer training sessions at a lower intensity where your body uses the sugars and burns fat to continue to supply energy. A well-developed aerobic endurance is the basis of your running condition. 


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. 

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. 


Your heart rate says a lot, but not everything. Always keep in mind that your heart rate can be influenced by several factors, including 

• fatigue 
• weather conditions 
• stress 
• coffee 
• the healthy tension at a sporting event 
• … 

Always listen to your gut feeling & allow yourself enough rest when your body asks for it.