Finding it Hard to Stay in Heart Rate Monitor Training zones

by Paul
(Dublin, Ireland)

I have been following your 10k training program for 8 weeks. Up until week 8, I had not been using a heart rate monitor, however now that I am, I have been finding it very tough to stay in target heart rate zones (and this was supposed to be a recovery week!)

I build up to the bottom range of the target zone over about 5 minutes, but I find that I have to substantially decrease my speed as the workout progresses to avoid going above the maximum of the zone before the end of my run.

Have you got any tips on the best way to handle this problem?

Should I build up slower, or just try and maintain my pace and go above my target heart rate?

Thanks for your help, - great site by the way :)

(Male, 28 yrs, 92kgs, 194cm)

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Paul,
Thanks for your running training question. The weekend before we left to Australia (February 2006) I was in Dublin. A friend of mine married an Irish girl. Been there and to the west coast a few times during my time in Holland thanks to Ryanair. Great country, good golfing, despite the relentless wind and rain!

I went on a literary pub crawl once when I was in Dublin, good experience if you haven't done it yet in which beer and parts of plays/books and stories about writers were combined. Funny stories, good night, but probably a bit of a touristy thing. I liked it nevertheless.

Anyways, what were we talking about again, running, right?

Heart rate monitors can be your friend, but don't let them become your master!

Unless you have measured your maximum heart rate and rest heart rate scientifically, you can have made some measuring errors.

In addition to that your heart rate can be variable based on body temperature, stress, fatigue etc. You will find that often it can be a useful tool, but at other times you find it is a bit "off".

So, if you feel completely fine otherwise, I would not go by heart rate monitor alone. When you are supposed to do a Zone 2 run, then run easy, the pace at which you can have a conversation, regardless of whether your heart rate is pushed up a little out of your zone.

Rather than disrupting your running pace by walking or slowing down constantly, just go by pace. And similarly for other heart rate zones.

If you are fatigued or stressed, then your increased heart rate can provide you with that warning sign that you need to slow down or take a few days of rest.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck with the remainder of the 10k Running Program.

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