It is quite normal that the way we perceive certain things with our natural senses can be misleading at times. This is where the heart rate monitor comes in when it comes to marathon training. There are times when what seems like an intense workout is actually way below our optimal performance levels.
This article covers a lot more about How To Train for Marathon By Heart Rate in detail.
There is also the other side of the scale, where it seems like you can handle an intense workout and yet you are straining yourself beyond what your body can handle in one session. With the help of a heart rate monitor, you can clear up any misconceptions that could be a result of perception and train more effectively.
Using the Heart Rate Monitor for Training: Theory
One advantage of using a heart rate monitor for training is that it is easy to keep track of and monitor your progress. To be able to use this device for training you need to know what your maximum heart rate (MHR) is. This can either be calculated or deducted physically.
To calculate your MHR all you have to do is subtract your age from 220. For example, if you are 35 years old then your MHR = 185.
The other option is to carry out a field test. You can start by carrying timed interval runs, increasing in intensity with every run. On the last run, push yourself as hard as possible and as soon as you complete the last run then check the monitor.
The reading that it displays will be your maximum heart rate. When it comes to marathon training you do not want to exceed your MRH at any point ever.
Using the Heart Rate Monitor for Training: Practical
When following a marathon training program each run on the program or workout is meant to be a certain percentage of your MRH. It is quite simple really you just take your MRH or MHR and multiply it by that percentage and that will give you the heart rate (HR) for a particular work out.
Long Runs: This is a run that is at a relaxed and comfortable pace. You should be able to have a conversation when running at this pace and it is meant to be done at between 65 -75 % of your MRH. MHR
Tempo Runs: This is a run that is meant to be carried out at between 87 -92 % of your MRH. In terms of pace and speed, they are run at typically the speed you would use to run a 10k race. A tempo run can be 6.5 – 8 km.
Interval/ Speed runs: This is a rather intense work out that is carried at between 95 – 100 % of your MRH. The emphasis of this work out is on speed more than anything else.
Combining the Training Program with the Monitor
With the information above you can now effectively train using the training program that you have. There are 2 points of correction that arise with the information that you now have, overtraining and undertraining.
There are people that tend to push themselves more than what they can cope with. This could result in injury or loss of strength. However, if you know what your heart rate is supposed to be for a particular work out then you can avoid overtraining.
The other point of correction is undertraining. There are also some people who not training at their optimal level. Again with heart rate monitor, you can effectively determine how much you need to push yourself.
Keeping Track Of Your Progress
The nice thing about a heart rate monitor is that the information it records can be uploaded onto a PC or notebook. This allows you to create charts, graphs, or tables with which you can use to track your progress daily. The monitor also becomes quite handy during the actual race.
Rather than use the surrounding “noise” as a measure of your progress during a race, you can use the monitor. By surrounding noise during a race, I am referring to cheers of a crowd that might cause you to want to increase your pace when you are already at your optimal level.
Other runners passing you could also tempt you to take it up a notch or two when you could end up doing yourself a lot more harm than good.
Necessity or Extra
I am sure at some point you might have thought that a heart rate monitor is an extra when it comes to marathon training gear. After going through this tutorial I am sure your perception has somewhat changed. Personally, because of all the advantages and benefits the monitor has for runners, I would class it under necessity. If you are thinking about getting one, don’t even hesitate it will make your training that much easier.
Read also: Marathon Training For Beginners