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Hi everyone - I'm new to this forum so I'll start off with an introduction. I'm a 30 year old living in Toronto (Canada - hopefully everyone knew that). I used to run in approximately 25-30 mi per week when in University but stopped not long after after I graduated to the real world. Over this past summer I started running again and remebered how much I love it. I'm now back to running the same mileage as I did 6 years ago (slightly slower pace) and just recently bought a HRM.

My goal right now is to increase both mileage and pace and I want to use the HRM to its fullest potential. I know that almost everything I've read says that I should train at ~70% max HR which works out to ~150 bpm for a man of my age. To maintain that I have to run a painfully slow 9:30 - 10:00/mi pace. Right now I'm running 5-6 miles 4-5 times a week. I like to run around 8:00 - 8:30/mi pace but that gets my HR up to around 176 bpm over a 6 mile course - that's 90% max HR!

Am I doing more harm than good running at this pace and HR? Can I at least do 1 or 2 runs a week at a higher pace and then do a couple of slow runs? Or should I just stick to 150 bpm until I see my conditioning improving? Running in the 90% range doesn't seem to have any ill effects - and feels much more invigorating/rewarding than maintaining 70%. Maybe somebody can offer some advise based on their experience. I know there are some good books on HRM training out there and I plan to pick up a couple of them.

Thanks for hearing out yet another blathering newbie.

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90% of MHR seems a little high if that is what you have been doing consistently. You should try and maintain the 70-75% at least a few times a week, which is better known as the recovery zone

Based on my calculations, your max HR is around 192. The 70-75% range would be you in the 144-152 range


I suspect as you get more conditioned the heart rate numbers will come down.
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Don't forget that your pace will quicken a little while staying in the same % range over time.

I started HRM training 2 weeks ago and have been running <70%. My pace is about 11:00 miles (compared to ~ 9 min miles before I started using the HRM). After a couple of months, I should have a solid base of 30 miles a week and I'll begin a good speedwork program.
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Do I even need to use my HRM when doing speedwork?
I used it during speedwork. My goal was 80-85% of MHR.
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I did 6 miles last night (on treadmill) and limited my HR to 155 bpm. By the final mile my speed was down to 10:30/mi pace (almost walking!). But I'll stick to it for a couple of months and see how it goes (and I have to admit that I sprinted out the last 1/4 mile ).
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I used John Parkers book "Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat id**t" and thought it was a great help and encouragement (especially when running so darn slow the first several weeks) You may enjoy it and feel better about your training after reading it!

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Thanks! I'll look into it.

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If you're a newbie, it's important to keep in mind with HRMs that most 'formulas' used to calculate max heart rates can be really inaccurate. The only true way is to get out there and run some hills til you feel like puking, then check the HRM. That's the less scientific explanation.
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That's what I did. I think its a more accurate way to measure/calculate your MHR
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I keep meaning to try this, I'll be staying at my mother's house over Christmas and she lives at the bottom of the perfect hill...
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