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Heart Rate Zones for Running - Use Them to Build Stamina

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Staying fit is the key to a healthy and wholesome life, and most people who run are aware of that fact. Some people run to lose weight; few do it to maintain their fit body, and yet others either run to improve their health or to break away from the monotony of a sedentary lifestyle. But do you think you are making the most out of your running time? Experts say, “Run with your heart, not with your legs.” Your heart rate is a good indicator of the intensity of your workout. Want to know about heart rate zones or what is target heart rate training?

Monitoring the Heart Rate 

A good workout regime encompasses a balance of frequency, duration, mode of exercise, and intensity. While the first three are simple concepts, the twist here is the intensity. Intensity defines how hard you exert your body while you are exercising. By measuring your heartbeat, you can set the pace of your training session and gradually increase the intensity. Thus, monitoring the heart rate is extremely important especially in cardiovascular assessment and training programs.

But, you need to remember something!

Pushing your body beyond the permissible heart rate can be detrimental to your body and may cast negative and long-lasting effects.

If you have just shifted from a sedentary lifestyle, then going for high-intensity running training is a strict no-no. You need to make the transition gradual while continuously measuring and logging your heart rate. This will enable you to measure your progress in quantifiable terms and allow you to step up the heat in your exercise schedule slowly.

Heart rate zones

Learn to Build Stamina and Strength With Heart Rate Zones

What is Heart Rate Zones

Heart rate zones are a range that defines the upper and lower limits of training intensities. It is linked to aerobic and anaerobic thresholds. The aerobic heart rate zone is different for each exercise or sport. For example, for fat burning, the range is 50–75% of your heart reserve rate, while for fitness it is 75–85%.

Learn what is normal heart rate for men, what is a good resting heart rate, and what is normal heart rate for women.

For defining your heart rate zones, you must acquaint yourself with some basic terminology. However, first of all, you should know your normal heart rate. Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply it by 6; the number is your heart beats per minute. The normal heart rate for men is between 70 and 72 beats per minute, while the normal heart rate for women is between 78 and 82 beats. This variation is due to the difference in the size of the heart, which is typically smaller in females than males.

A smaller heart will pump less blood with each beat, and therefore needs to beat at a faster rate.

Resting Heart Rate (RHR)

You can check this in the morning immediately after you wake up but before getting out of bed. Count the number of heartbeats per minute. The average resting heart rates for children above 10 years and adults is 60–100 beats per minute. For adults and athletes, the average resting heart rate is 40–60 beats per minute.

Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)

Heart rate reserve is the difference between your resting heart rate and the maximum heart rate. The reserve denotes the extra heartbeats you have available for exercise.

Target Training Heart Rate

Soon after the running workout, you can calculate your target training heart rate using the target heart rate zones calculator.

How to Calculate Heart Rate

Calculating the heart rate gives you your ideal heart rate zones, for training. There are several different ways to calculate your heart rate, for different situations, like calculating the maximum heart rate, resting heart rate, heart rate reserve, and aerobic training heart rate. You can calculate the maximum heart rate per minute by simply subtracting your age from 220; the result may vary by 10 to 20 beats.

Another way to calculate this is to have a supervised exercise tolerance test. To determine the resting heart rate, note your pulse before leaving the bed. Do this for a few days to get a consistent reading. To get your heart rate reserve, first, subtract your current age from the maximum heart rate, and then subtract it from your resting heart rate.

Is Your Heart Rate Training Right?

The best way to know if your heart rate training is right is to use a heart rate monitor, because it tells you how your heart is working in different situations. It helps you to know your heart rate zones and hence protects you from the most common mistake of exhausting and burnout. The best way to avoid any injury is to know your limits as per your heart rate zones.

Light, Moderate, and Hard Workout

The intensity of a workout means knowing how hard your body is working out in different heart rate zones. When the heart rate is 50-60% of the maximum heart rate, it means the body is working out in a very light intensity; if it goes above 70-80%, then the workout is moderate; and if it crosses the threshold of 80-90% of the maximum heart rate, then the workout is very hard and the heart rate is near its limits.

Why does your heart rate number matter to you?

Well, by knowing your heart rate percentage, even if you don’t run or play sports, you can catch the signs of early heart disease, defects, or other related health conditions. While running, it is very useful to know the beats per minute to understand the way you are running and make changes if necessary. If the percentage of beats per minute is too high, then you are exerting yourself more than usual. This means you should naturally slow down. But if the beats per minute are too low, then you can push yourself to move a little faster, to your best capacity.

If you do find that you have a heart-related condition, then consult a professional physician to check which types of exercises and workouts to avoid. You should check the types of activities you can engage in and if you require monitoring. With this information at hand, you can begin planning your customized target ranges and goals. Do not be disappointed if you cannot attain a higher target than you hoped for, everyone has varying ranges. Now that you know your body and limitations, you will be able to surpass your own range in no time! Remember, this is a major achievement.

What should your heart rate be when running?

While you are checking your heart beats per minute and running, try to reach a target area of 50 percent in the first few weeks. Eventually, as you train, move up to a higher target of around 85 percent. You will be surprised how naturally and easier it is for you maintain an increased heart rate while running.

The target heart rate range should be 50–85% of your maximum heart rate. If you want to know how to calculate maximum heart rate, then read the heart rate chart. The following heart rate chart or pulse rate chart shows the estimated target heart rates for different ages.

Heart and Pulse Rate Chart  
Heart or Pulse Rate Chart

Now you can use the following equations for making your calculations:

THR Zone Calculator 
Target Heart Rate Zone Calculator

In the first method, there can be a variation of 10–20 beats per minute. The second method is an exercise tolerance or stress test. It is done under a physician’s supervision using a treadmill, wherein the speed and incline of the treadmill is gradually increased to elevate the heart rate until it reaches its highest level. However, before learning how to calculate and monitor your heart rate, you need to first know your resting heart rate.

Types of Heart Rate Zones

Below are five different heart rate zones; plan your training sessions according to these zones and see the difference in the results:

Heart Rate Zones 
Heart Rate Zones

Zone I (Recovery Zone)

In this zone, the heart rate range is 50–60% of the maximum heart rate; it is a very light-intensity zone and is suitable for beginners, who can get ready to train in higher heart rate zones. At this stage, you can indulge in sports like jogging or brisk walking.

Zone II (Endurance Zone)

This is an endurance improvement zone where your heart rate range is 60–70% of the maximum heart rate. Your body is working toward breaking down of body fats and getting you in shape. This stage is a crucial part of every runner’s training program.

Read our article Proper Running Form for Beginners: Guidelines to Follow”

Zone III (Aerobic Zone)

Zone III improves your blood circulation in the body and breaks down the sugars in your body for energy. Thus, this zone improves your efficiency and adeptness. At this stage, you can easily upgrade from a beginner to a moderate zone.

Zone IV (Threshold Zone)

From this zone, high-intensity workout begins. Your heart rate range is 80–90% of the maximum heart rate. Your body is burning glycogen to meet its energy requirements. This zone includes activities like sprinting, high-intensity interval training, powerlifting, and most athletic sports.

Do not give up; remember, “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

Zone V (Anaerobic Zone)

This is the maximum heart rate zone where the range is 90–100 % of the maximum heart rate. Your body – heart, respiratory system, and blood—will be working at its maximum capacity. Like Zone IV, this can be incorporated into an interval training in your training schedule.

Customize Heart Rate Zones for Running

Heart Rate Zones - Use Them To Build Stamina 
Customize Your Heart rate Zone

If you think the ones mentioned above are not working out for you, then you can even customize your heart rate zone. You can check your heart rate using the formulas discussed above and set your own heart zone. Another easy way to customize your heart rate zone is using Fitbit apps like iCardio, iRunner, and iBiker. They will personalize your heart rate zones for the best workout experience.

Check out the Top Android Running Apps for Tracking Your Run

Monitoring the cardio heart rate is vital for your own safety. By tracking your heart rate during exercise you can ensure that the workout or training program you are following is safe. If you go beyond your normal range, that is, 60 to 100 heart beats per minute while exercising and 40 heart beats per minute while resting, then you are going beyond the safe heart rate zone. You should look for alternatives or take rest, or you can even consult your physician.

Recording your heart rate is, therefore, an excellent tool to gauge your progress. By regularly tracking it you can easily achieve your desired goal. While working out, if your heart rate is not going beyond your resting heart rate, then it is time to put in some more efforts. Improving your heart rate zones will boost your performance and will fetch you favorable results in less time.

Know about the Benefits of Long Distance Running

So start with measuring your resting heart rate and include the different heart rate zones in your training schedule to reap the benefits. There are four crucial factors to fitness: assess, enable, sweat, and succeed.

Remember, “Good things come to those who sweat.”

Get ready to sweat and sweat it right. Tell us in the comment box which zone you belong to and how you included your heart rate zones in your training schedule.

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