Monday, October 2, 2006

More on Heart Rate Training

I found some more information about heart rate based training on Jeff Salvage's web site. He suggests using resting heart rate as part of the percentage of maximum heart rate calculation on his Heart Rate page. However, he is also using the old 220 - Age to determine maximum heart rate and Dave McGovern pretty much proved that is not accurate.

During Saturday's long walk my heart was beating faster than the 65 - 75% of maximum heart rate recommended for a general endurance workout. However, combining the maximum heart rate as calculated in the clinic with the resting heart rate from Jeff Salvage, things are starting to look much better.

Once again, my maximum heart rate as tested in the racewalking clinic was 191 and my resting heart rate as measured this morning was 63. These numbers will vary from day-to-day and hopefully improve over time so that I'll eventually have to re-evaluate, but they should be close enough for the next several weeks of training.

Here is the formula:

Goal Heart Rate = (Maximum Heart Rate - Resting Heart Rate) * Percentage of Max HR Desired + Resting Heart Rate

So plugging in the numbers, here are the various workouts, rounded off the the nearest heart beat:
Workout        % of MHR         Heart Rate Calculation        Heart Rate
Easy Distance 70 (191 - 63) * .70 + 63 153
Tempo/Interval 85 (191 - 63) * .85 + 63 172
Economy 90 (191 - 63) * .90 + 63 178
VO2 Max 95 (191 - 63) * .95 + 63 185

Those harder workouts look really scary. In the clinic I was able to get my heart rate up to 173, but more on that in a moment. How do these numbers compare with just a straight percentage of maximum heart rate?
Workout        % of MHR         Heart Rate Calculation        Heart Rate
Easy Distance 70 191 * .70 134
Tempo/Interval 85 191 * .85 162
Economy 90 191 * .90 172
VO2 Max 95 191 * .95 181

Again, I don't have enough experience with the heart rate monitor and haven't tried any economy or VO2 Max workouts to know what it feels like to approach these effort levels. The long walk I did on Saturday does seem to validate the formula with the resting heart rate factored in.

Finally, here are the numbers from the racewalk clinic. We did this on a 400 meter track, measuring our heart rate every 2 minutes for 8 minutes, taking a 1 minute rest and repeating 3 times:
_                Set 1             Set 2            Set 3
2 min. 168 166 172
4 min. 171 171 173
6 min. 169 169 173
8 min. 170 170 173

I don't have all of the recovery heart rates which were recorded 1 minute after each set, but my last was 137. That's a little too high and Dave McGovern recommended that I do some speed work to improve recovery.

According to the handout we got at the clinic, most people should get up to around 90-92% of maximum heart rate in this 30 minute workout. A 5K race could also be used for this test, spot checking the heart rate at about the 2 mile mark. Dividing that figure by .9 and that's a fairly close estimate of the maximum heart rate. In my case the average of all the readings is just over 171 so 172 / .9 =  191 maximum heart rate.