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Need rest? Your heart rate will tell you.

Many people still run by pace and not how they feel as a result of having a GPS watch.  As I’ve mentioned before the GPS watch, although a fantastic tool, is probably one of the worst things that could happen to the sport of running if used incorrectly.  Don’t focus on your pace.  Your heart rate will tell you how fast or slow you should be running.  I’m working on a post that will discuss this in more detail and how staying out of what I call the “red zone” will help you become more efficient and in turn a faster and more healthier runner.  Here’s quick look at what happens if you run when your not rested or if your body is not feeling well.

The following chart shows a run at heart rate of 134 BPM which is actually 6 BPM slower than what my aerobic training pace should be during the base building period of running.  This is probably a good pace for me on an easy or recovery day.  The pace was a 9:28 mile.

Rested body with a HR of 134 at a pace of 9:28 per mile


This graph shows my pace a few days later after a night of not feeling well and staying up late.  My lack of sleep had me feeling terrible the next day and not well rested.  I was not sick and had no cold or flu, just had a long day and was up very late.  I chose to run anyway.  Look at my HR and pace!!!  144BPM and a pace of 11:24 min/mile!!!  Amazing huh?? If I would have ran by my pace and not my HR could you imagine what my HR would have been?  This would have put me high in the red zone and made for a longer recovery going into my subsequent runs.

NOT rested with a HR of 144 and a pace of 11:24 per mile.


To put this pace into perspective, my tempo run pace is 7:30-7:40, 5k pace is 6:40 and marathon pace is 8:57.

See how listening to your body by using your heart rate you can perform at the proper capacity and not overdo your physiologic capability allowing your body to recover and overtime make huge improvements?  Look forward to my upcoming post on staying out of the red zone which will explain heart rate training in a more simplified and visual manner.

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