Questions for the heart rate trainers

I know there are quite a few of you out there who use heart rate based training methods.  Since my methods are based primarily on race performance and prescribed paces, I’m a little clueless about how you plan and log runs:

1)  How do you plan your runs?  Do you try to stay between some minimum and maximum heart rate?

2)  When doing tempo runs or intervals, do you plan a warmup in a certain zone, then intervals in another zone with recoveries in another zone?

3)  When you log your runs, what do you record?  Min heart rate?  Avg heart rate?  Max heart rate?

4)  Do you prefer to log heart rate information for each phase of your run?

I think that’s all I’ve got for now.  The more responses, the better.  Thanks.


  1. Hey Brian. After reading Advanced Marathoning by Pfitz, and after seeing my son coached by some elite rowing coaches (including a Gold and Silver medal winner), I whole heartedly endorse heart rate training.

    The real key is lactic acid buildup. With my son, he would actually go through blood draws every now and then of lactic acid at certain heart rate. Then, based on the graph, he knew which heart rate to work at to be right at lactate threshold, VO2Max, etc.

    To answer your questions – (1) I program my runs on my Garmin to keep me within a HR range. (2) Tempo runs are at lactate threshold (85% – 93% MHR). Intervals at VO2Max rate (93% – 98% MHR). Warmup and recovery in General Aerobic range (75% – 85% MHR). (3) Average heart rate, unless I have defined steps in my workout plan. Then I let my Garmin beep me. (4) Yes.

    The biggest downside to HR training is there are times that you will run a whol lot slower than you want to. Go with the flow. I’ve knocked 4 minutes off my 10K PR this year using this methodology. My HM is down 6 minutes and I have another the 1st of May that will really tell me how I’m doing.

    eMail me if you’d like to discuss more.

  2. 1) well i made a schedule from daniels’ book, so i mostly go by his paces. before using his plan i went by hr zones though, and they typically match up with his paces. so on an easy run day i aim for my pace and it just so happens to (usually) fall between 65-75% of my max hr. same for speed/etc days, similar to the zones glenn posted.

    2) technically yes, but again i’ve been going by pace lately. pace and hr have been matching up pretty well most days, so i’ll take my warm up in my easy pace/hr zone and then kick it up to interval pace/hr zone

    3) my hr monitor gives me my average and max, so that’s what i record in my nerdy spreadsheet. i try to record my rhr in the mornings but i’ve been a little slack at that lately.

    4) no, i just do avg and max. as long as i hit my splits for intervals/miles in a tempo run i could record the average hr for that period vs. the rest/recovery periods, but i don’t need any additional columns in my spreadsheet.

    so some days my easy pace puts me a little above the easy-hr i should aim for but obviously it can vary if your body is more tired than normal, dehydrated, warmer temps, etc. usually though my daniel paces and target hr zones (based off my max, taken from a 2-mile race) match up. hope i wasn’t too all-over-the-place…

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