Heart Rate Training for Endurance Sports

By: Coach Kevin Multisport

High Level Concepts:

*ATHR = the point at which your lactic acid in your blood can no longer be used by your body. Excess lactic acid builds in your blood negatively affecting your performance, causing you to slow down.

*Knowing your 'estimated' ATHR will assist you in setting up heart rate zones that are specific to you. See examples below!

*Re-test your ATHR every 6 weeks if you are new to endurance sports. After 3 months of consistent testing, the tests can be performed once to twice a year.

*What you are looking for in future tests is not so much a change in your ATHR in beats per min (although that will most likely happen at first), but your efficiency at that heart rate.

*A considerable amount of your training will be done in Zones 1 & 2. Once you have a base of 10 weeks of consistent training in Zones 1 & 2, the other zones can be used to help get you race ready.

*Training near your ATHR will increase your ability to perform at a higher intensity.

*Always remember to start easy and increase both duration and intensity at a slow rate. In 99.9% of situations less is better.

*Your maximum Heart rate is the highest bpm you have witnessed your heart rate at. I have included a calculation below to assist new athletes in identifying a number. Do not get hung up on what that number is. Based on that calculation my Max HR is 184 bpm. I have gotten my HR up to 222 during a running race. I have found that people can go harder than they thought (especially well trained ones). Do not be limited by a statistical calculation.

(Resting Heart Rate is a great indicator of improved fitness and can also indicate if you are not fully recovered or are becoming ill. For 7 days straight take your HR when you awake (approx same time each day). Do not do this right when the alarm goes off, wait a few mins after the alarm. Record your HR and avg them together to get a resting HR.

Heart Rate Testing Protocols:

Swimming Threshold (T-Pace) Test:
WU: Start slow and gradually build pace/effort.
50 swim, 50 kick.
MS: This set will establish your "T-time." After the warm-up, swim 1000 yards/meters at a constant pace and good effort-as if racing. Record the time in your log. Record your average pace per 50 and 100. The pace will be called your "T-pace."
CD: At and easy pace/effort swim 50.
Total-1150

Cycling ATHR (Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate) Test Description:
Warm up well. Then ride a 30 minute time trial on flat course. Punch HR monitor 'lap' button 10 minutes into Time Trial. Average heart rate for last 20 minutes predicts Lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). Record your average speed for the last 20 mins of the test and save to compare with future tests.

Running ATHR (Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate) Test Description:
Warm up well. Then run a 30 minute time trial on flat course/track. Punch HR monitor 'lap' button 10 minutes into Time Trial. Average heart rate for last 20 minutes predicts Lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). Record your pace for the last 20 mins of the test and save to compare with future tests.

Bike Heart Rate Zone Calculations:
Zone 1 = < (ATHR - 31)
Zone 2 = (ATHR - 31 to ATHR - 18)
Zone 3 = (ATHR - 17 to ATHR - 12)
Zone 4 = (ATHR - 11 to ATHR - 1)
Zone 5 = (ATHR to Max HR)

Run Heart Rate Zone Calculations:
Zone 1 = < (ATHR - 25)
Zone 2 = (ATHR - 25 to ATHR - 15)
Zone 3 = (ATHR - 14 to ATHR - 8)
Zone 4 = (ATHR - 7 to ATHR - 1)
Zone 5 = (ATHR to Max HR)

Heart Rate Zone Descriptions:
Zone 1 = Base / Recovery
Zone 2 = Base / Endurance
Zone 3 = Muscular Endurance
Zone 4 = Moderate - High Intensity
Zone 5 = Threshold - High Intensity

Maximum Heart Rate Calculation:
(this is a text book calculation, if you know your actual - use that number as your max)
Males = 214 minus (.8 x age)
Females = 209 minus (.7 x age)

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