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1970 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Dec 30, 2010 2:37 PM by LMWEL
LMWEL Pro 82 posts since
Aug 27, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 28, 2010 4:02 PM

Running Wrong ??

About twice a week for 7+ months I've been doing the same 4 mi. run . I've also been cycling and swimming and doing shorter and a few longer runs .  So today , I decided I'd try out the Garmin GPS, HR monitor I got my wife for Christmas . I thought it would be good to know how my pace and HR varied over the course . WHAT ???? I just got home and uploaded the session . I'm flabbergasted . I usually finish the run in 33-35 min averaging about 8.5 min miles .     Here's what the Garmin said that shocked me .


Mile 1 / Avg Pace  8:12      Avg HR  169   Max HR  180

Mile 2 / Avg Pace  8:37      Avg HR  179   Max HR  184

Mile 3 / Avg Pace  8:51      Avg HR  182   Max HR  185

Mile 4 / Avg Pace  9:09      Avg HR  184   Max HR  189


My average pace fell while my average HR climbed consistently . What am I doing wrong ? How do I improve my training, fitness etc ?  I'm pretty disheartened . My wife and I signed up on Christmas day for our first Half Marathon , which will be March 20 . I been thinking all along that with some good training I should be able to do it in < 2 hrs . Not to mention the Olympic and Half IM Triathlons I have planned for next year . Given that data I can't help but wonder if I can finish any of them . 

I'm 41, almost 42 years old . I've been exercising, training regularly for about a year and I love it . I'm now kind of afraid I'll have to slow down . I won't enjoy it nearly as much if I slow down .

Any and all suggestions and words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated .


The Monster Dash 5k . Halloween day - 26:08

The Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8k . Thanksgiving day - 41:57

The Jolly Elf 5k Trail Run . Dec 11 - 26:09

The Tobacco Road Half Marathon . March 20, 2011- 1:53.13

The Triangle Orthopedic Sprint Triathlon . April 23, 2011- 1:21.53 / 5k- 25:48

The White Lake International Triathlon . Sept 10, 2011- 2:59.45 / 10k- 56:27

The Washington Half Iron Triathlon . Oct 29, 2011- 5:49.44 / 13.1mi- 2:09.23

The Tobacco Road Marathon . March 18, 2012- 4:37.56

Currently Training For -

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 28, 2010 5:44 PM (in response to LMWEL)
    Re: Running Wrong ??

    I wouldn't worry too much about it.  HR: The first mile average will be lower because it's the first mile - you're just getting going.  I would say the difference between 179 and 184 is not significant.  Same for the time difference between mile 2 and mile 3.  Mile 4 is a little slower but could be due to other conditions - wind, hills, etc.  You need to look at long term trends over weeks/months, not mile-to-mile differences.  You also really should know your true maximum heart rate and resting heart rate to make sense of it all.  Take a look at a book like Precision Heart Rate Training (Edmund R. Burke, Ed.) and read the first couple chapters to see how various factors can affect your heart rate.




  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Dec 28, 2010 6:59 PM (in response to LMWEL)
    Re: Running Wrong ??

    Assuming this was a comfortable training pace, your max is probably 200 or higher, based on the numbers here.  Above 90% (or so) of maximum, you're running anaerobically.  You will quickly go into oxygen debt and you can't continue for long.




  • ragingsamster Amateur 25 posts since
    Oct 20, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Dec 30, 2010 6:52 AM (in response to LMWEL)
    Re: Running Wrong ??

    You are right, you will have to slow training. When you run at those heart rates constantly it's hard to improve - you are working anaerobically, forcing the muscles to work this hard is very innefficient on a cellular level. It's kind of like gunning an engine from a dead stop, the big cloud of black smoke coming out of the tailpipe at the cellular level is called lactic acid. Lactic acid will paralyze muscle cells and cause that pesky "next day" soreness. Anaerobic work has it's place in the workout regime but it is only a small percentage of the total workout time.

    Your wife got you the best present you could ever receive - the garmin heart rate meter is going to help you boost your times by knowing if you are running efficiently at or below your target heart rate, this is commonly referred to as "aerobic" running.   When you are running aerobically your cells are keeping up with demand and do not suffer the lactic acid build up,  while working aerobically your muscles will grow more mitochondria, this is the part of the cell that uses the glycogen that allows your muscles to function, if your cells have more mitochondria they can metabolyze more glycogen - performing more work at the same heart rate, so at a lower heart rate your pace will increase over time ( try it for two weeks, you WILL be amazed)


    So how do you figure out your target heart rate? For me I found my max with my Garmin 305 doing stairs, it turned out to be 183 which is higher than the charts available online indicated.  I subtracted 50 beats per minute and set my Garmin's heart rate alerts to low 130 and high 135. That's what I ran to. At first it was slow, painfully slow, embarrassingly slow. Once I got over myself and exercised some pretty intense self discipline I saw result listed below.


    As you can see from the times, they are slow, but that pace is at a significantly lower heart rate - note though the improvement over time in average pace ( dates are starting at the bottom and working up) Notice that the improvement came quickly, this is when I first started aerobic running, and the gains were huge. Give it a shot and see what you think. If you want a more intense explanation of this type of training here's the blog that changed how I run -

    Started exercising - 6/2009

    Started running - 9/2009

    First race - Kent Christmas rush finished 4th (from last!) in my age group 1:03:19 for 10K

    Longest run to date - 26 miles - Green River Marathon! June 5th 2010

    My blog -

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