Heart rate training run: Slow enough is good enough

The rules about recovery running/base building are easy: Run slow.

Slow enough to breath easy. To talk. Be comfortable. Run so slow that you could easily run the same distance again at the same or even a faster pace.

Sometimes, you think you are running slow. You pass the talk test. After the run, you feel like you could have done it again. But then, you put on a heart rate monitor, like I did this morning, and you realize that you don’t really know what it means to run slow.

Today, for the first time in months, I put the heart rate monitor on and forced myself to keep my heart rate below 80 percent of maximum for the entire five miles around the flat Town Lake in Austin. I thought I could do this and average pace no slower than 8:45 min/mile.

Um, no. Try 9:45 pace for the entire run and an average heart rate of 150 (which for me is 75 percent of maximum).

The splits:

Mile…. Pace…. HR (Pct. max)

1………. 10:33… 136 (68%)

2………9:26…..148 (74%)

3………9:31…..155 (77%)

4………9:22…..154 (77%)

5………9:29…..154 (77%)

I usually run 8:30s for what I think are recovery runs. Clearly, 8:30s, in this heat, is too fast for recovery. As you can see from the splits, I averaged about 9:30 pace for the last four miles, which is about 3 minutes slower per mile than my 5k pace.

I’m going to do this kind of run twice a week – Wednesdays and Sundays and hopefully, this kind of heart rate training yields a big base when its time to kick up my marathon training.