Different sessions should be run at different effort levels to create a physiological (& physical?) change in your body.
Monitoring your heart rate (HR) is a simple method, to establish how much effort you are sustaining. Many watches now have built in wrist HR monitors, although not always accurate may I add. Mine does but I always wear the chest strap for better accuracy. Many people find chest straps uncomfortable however?
Another method of monitoring HR is RPE also know as Rate of Perceived Exertion. Here’s the scale on a 1-10 :
1 - Watching TV just Being alive
6 Easy run
7 Steady Run
8 Tempo Run
9/10 Intervals or 5-10K race pace
10 All out maximum sprint
The HR zones to match this scale are :
* Easy run 6/10 or 65% of max HR
* Steady run 7/10 or 70-75% max HR
* Tempo run 8/9 or 80-85% max HR
* Intervals or 5-10 race pace 9/10 or 85-90% max HR
So the easy run, many people find it ‘hard’ to run easy I personally love it! You deserve it your body’s tired and gives you a chance to recover and adapt to the efforts of previous sessions. Looking for 6/10 or 65% max HR.
Steady run this is how most of your runs will be done but you have to stick to it pushing too hard will jeopardise the more challenging sessions in your plan. You should still be able to hold a conversation but not as comfortable as you could during an easy run.
Tempo run as I said before on tempo Tuesday video is described as comfortably hard. You should only be able to manage 3-4 words at a time now. If less, slow down. If more, speed up... simples! You will only do very short tempos initially 1-3 miles. These runs are what make you fitter and faster so trust the numbers.
8/9 or 80-85% max HR
Intervals or 5-10 race pace
These are the next level from a tempo run and are horrible! This is an advanced session and for a new runner a 5-10K pace could be your easy run pace. The fitter you get the longer you will be able to hold this higher heart rate over longer distances.
With this, consistency is key. Going off too fast and dying half a mile in isn’t the affect we’re after. These sessions are designed to improve your VO2 max giving you a bigger engine to work with. VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen you can use during exercise. You wouldn’t do this session more than once a week as it’s really demanding. A tip is to do it with a friend on your own mentally it’s a killer!
So there’s an overview of each effort of running and what RPE or HR you should be aiming for.
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