Why Heart Rate Is Not a Good Training Tool for Ultrarunning
Jason Koop/CTS, May 18 2017
If you are going to use interval training to accumulate time at intensity and target specific areas of your fitness, you need a way to figure out how hard you are working. In some sports this is simple. As mentioned earlier, a cyclist with a power meter can directly measure workload in watts, determine how many watts he or she can produce at lactate threshold, and then create intensity ranges based on percentages of lactate threshold power. Ultrarunners don’t have it so easy. For a long time, runners have tried to use heart rate to gauge intensity, intensity ranges based on percentages of lactate threshold heart rate or the average heart rate recorded during a 5K time trial. Others have used pace ranges based on time trials or goal race paces, or a combination of heart rate and pace ranges. Prescribing intensity based on either heart rate or pace is notoriously difficult in ultrarunning, and after trying all manner of methods, I found the greatest success in a remarkably simple, nontechnical, yet scientifically accurate method: rating of perceived exertion...
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