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Heart Rate Monitor Training (Karvonen)



When you are interested in heart rate monitor training, you'll want to know your heart rate training zones.

You see, every running pace has its own heart rate zone.

Your heart rate zones can be determined in different ways.

One of the methods is the Karvonen method. The heart rate monitor training zones according to Karvonen are explained in this section.

Martti Karvonen is a Finnish scientist.

He is best known for his method to predict the optimal exercise training heart rate. He developed his "Karvonen Formula".


For his Karvonen Formula he introduced the heart rate reserve:
the difference between the maximum heart rate and the rest heart rate.


E.g. suppose your maximum heart rate is 195. And your rest heart rate is 50. Then your heart rate reserve is 195 - 50 = 145.

Don’t know how to establish your maximum heart rate? Click here!

Don’t know how to establish your rest heart rate? Click here!


How does Karvonen Use This Heart Rate Reserve to Establish the Heart Rate Monitor Training Zones?

Just like Zoladz, Karvonen identifies heart rate monitor training zones. Each zone represents a certain exercise level. He expresses those heart rate monitor training zones in percentages of the heart rate reserve.


60-70% 70-75% 75–80% 80–85% 85–95%

Zone 1 is for your long, slow runs.

Zone 2 is for your regular easy runs.

Zone 2.5 is a zone I identified myself. You don't see any running books talk about it, but it's actually an important running training zone. It's your steady-state pace.

For more about Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 2.5, check out the Base Running Drills page.

Zone 3 is for your tempo runs. Check out the tempo running page for more information.

Zone 4 is for your intervals. Check out the interval running page if you'd like to know a bit more about that.

How Does the Calculation Work?

To establish your heart rate monitor training zones you do the following:

1. Take your rest heart rate.

2. Then add the percentage of the heart rate reserve as above.


Unclear? Then follow the example below...

So, my maximum heart rate is 195.
My rest heart rate is 50.
My heart rate reserve is 145.

My zone 1 (long slow run, recovery runs) would be in between:
Low value: 50 + 60 % * 145 = 137 beats per minute
High value: 50 + 70 % * 145 = 151,5 bpm (round to 152 bpm)

My zone 2 (easy runs) would be in between:
Low value: 50 + 70 % * 145 = 151,5 bpm (round to 152 bpm)
High value: 50 + 75 % * 145 = 158,75 bpm (round to 159 bpm)

My zone 2 1/2 (steady state run) would be in between:
Low value: 50 + 75 % * 145 = 158,75 bpm (round to 159 bpm)
High value: 50 + 80 % * 145 = 166 bpm

My zone 3 (tempo run) would be in between:
Low value: 50 + 80% * 145 = 166 bpm
High value: 50 + 85% * 145 = 173,25 bpm (round to 173 bpm)

My zone 4 (short repeats) would be in between:
Low value: 50 + 85 % * 145 = 173,25 bpm (round to 173 bpm)
High value: 50 + 95 % * 145 = 187,75 bpm (round to 188 bpm)

Compare these to my values as identified by the Zoladz heart rate monitor training zone method. They are pretty close to each other aren’t they?

The Karvonen Heart Rate Zone Calculator

Now, just sensing that you'd rather not do the above calculations yourself, I have created the below calculator. All you do is enter your maximum heart rate and rest heart rate. 

Then click the "click me"-button and there are your heart rate monitor training zones!



Enter your maximum heart rate
Enter your rest heart rate


Press the button, don't click Enter


Zone 1 : to
Zone 2 : to
Zone 2 1/2 : to
Zone 3 : to
Zone 4 : to
Zone 5 : to



Training with a heart rate monitor can really benefit your performance. Especially when you are just starting out with running it is good to have that extra little bit of guidance that helps you determine the right running pace for you.

Further Recommended Reading


Heart Rate Monitor Pitfalls - Some things to look out for when training with a heart rate monitor.

GPS Running Watch Page - Check out some cool heart rate monitors that allow you to track heart rate, speed, calories, distance, etc.

Maximum Heart Rate - How to establish your maximum heart rate.

Rest Heart Rate - How to establish your rest heart rate.


Also make sure to check out the above links regarding base running, tempo running and intervals. You will want to make sure you understand a little bit more about your running, so you know how each type of workout helps you.

In addition to that, the Running Training Section is filled with articles about different types of running workouts.



Interested in heart rate monitors and their use in running training ?
Consider subscribing to my newsletter or my site blog.



Go from Karvonen Heart Rate Monitor Training to Heart Rate Monitor Page



Go from Karvonen Heart Rate Monitor Training to Best Running Tips Homepage






Heart Rate Monitor
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Heart Rate Monitor Reviews: Best GPS Running Watch | Polar Heart Rate Monitors
Garmin Heart Rate Monitors | Nike Heart Rate Monitors
CardioSport Heart Rate Monitors | Mio Heart Rate Monitors
Timex Heart Rate Monitors | Reebok Heart Rate Monitors
Reviews of Individual Models: Adidas miCoach Pacer Review | Garmin Forerunner 310XT Review
Garmin Forerunner 110 Review | Garmin Forerunner 405cx Review
Heart Rate Monitor Training Information: Heart Rate Monitor Training | Heart Rate Monitor Training (Karvonen Method)
Heart Rate Monitor Training (Zoladz Method) | Maximum Heart Rate
Rest Heart Rate | Heart Rate Monitor Training Pitfalls



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