Heart Rate Too High - Running Slowly, but Heart Rate Still 167-177bpm

heart rate is too high

I am training for a Half Ironman next year. I have been working out with a trainer and also have 7-9 workouts a week. Running is up to four miles one day and a mile after 16 mile bike another day.

Running has always been difficult for me, mainly due to my breathing. I just don't feel I have the endurance for it. Heart rate is always skyrocketing. I can get down to about 155 if I am running downhill after about 3 miles of running. I just never feel truly settled in.

My legs can handle it (slight calf soreness) but it's my breathing and mindset. My mental state goes downhill very fast. I've concentrated on breathing, foot placement, posture, with music, without music, with a friend, without, and my speed is generally 12-minute miles.

So, it's not as simple as just slowing down. I am struggling, because although I've been active for a few years, my running is still very basic, and I want to get better.

How can I reduce heart rate and increase stamina more quickly?

Answer by Dominique:
Hey there! First off, congrats on setting the amazing goal of training for a Half Ironman next year. That's an incredible challenge and it's awesome that you're putting in the hard work with a trainer and 7-9 workouts per week. Running four miles one day and a mile after a 16-mile bike ride is no joke!

I totally hear you on the struggles with running, especially when it comes to breathing and feeling like you don't have the endurance. It's super frustrating when your heart rate skyrockets and you can't seem to settle into a comfortable pace. Let's break this down and see if we can find some strategies to help you improve your running and feel more confident. I have structured my answer as follows:

1. Slow and steady wins the race
2. Embrace the Run/Walk Method
3. Once a week do a quality session
4. Be patient and trust the process

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

heart rate is too high
I know you said it's not as simple as just slowing down, but hear me out. Sometimes, the key to building endurance and lowering your heart rate is to take things slow and steady. Instead of pushing yourself to maintain a 12-minute mile pace, try easing off a bit and aiming for a 13-minute mile.

See how that feels and if it allows you to breathe a bit easier and keep your heart rate more controlled. If it's still too challenging, don't be afraid to slow down even more. The goal is to find a pace that you can sustain comfortably for longer distances.

The irony is that when you find a pace you can maintain comfortably, you can run for longer. And that means you will build more endurance. Which will translate in being able to run faster. So, eventhough it may not be what you want to hear, slow and steady wins the race.

Embrace the Run/Walk Method

heart rate is too high
When you find that slowing down does not work, I'd encourage you to slow down even more... Another great strategy for building stamina is the run/walk method.

This involves alternating between running and walking intervals. For example, you could run for half a mile, then walk for a minute or two, and repeat that cycle.

This approach allows you to cover more distance while giving your body brief recovery periods. Over time, you can gradually increase the running intervals and decrease the walking breaks as your fitness improves.

Once a Week, Do A Quality Session

To further build fitness, do a quality running session once a week. With quality, I am referring to anything that is not easy, slower running. It could include some tempo work or intervals. Check out the running workouts page for workout ideas.

Workouts can help give you that little bit of extra speed. Don't overdo it with the quality work, most of your improvement will flow from building endurance. After all, the half ironman will require endurance first and foremost.

Be Patient and Trust the Process

heart rate is too high
Running is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. It's totally normal to have moments where your mind starts to spiral and you feel like giving up. The key is to develop mental strategies to push through those tough patches.

Try focusing on the present moment rather than thinking about how much further you have to go. Break the run down into smaller, more manageable chunks and celebrate each milestone along the way. Develop a mantra or positive affirmation that you can repeat to yourself when things get tough, like "I am strong" or "I can do this."

Additionally, building endurance and improving your running takes time and consistency. It's important to be patient with yourself and trust that the work you're putting in will pay off. Celebrate the small victories along the way, like running extra distance without stopping.

Remember, progress isn't always linear. There will be days when running feels easier and days when it feels incredibly hard. That's all part of the journey. Just keep showing up, putting in the effort, and believing in yourself.

You've got this! Keep up the amazing work and know that with time and dedication, you'll be crushing that Half Ironman next year. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need any other tips or encouragement along the way.

Best of luck with the Half Ironman preparations.
Kind regards,

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