For those of you building up for a long distance race or event, I hope you are doing your long slow runs. The long slow run is what helps us build up to the target distance without getting hurt. I like to wear a heart rate monitor for my long slow runs. I have learned that 120-130 beats per minute is my ideal range for the long slow run. It is okay, if I go up to 140 BPM for short durations. My long slow run for today was 8 miles long. I maintained a constant HR of 133 for most of the runs duration. I went up to 140 for the home stretch because I have that old horse heading to the barn mentality and pick up the pace as I get close to home. When I realized my heart rate was at 140, I slowed down until my heart rate was 120 then I started to walk for the cool down portion of the run. It is important to cool down for 5-10 minutes after a long slow run. There are a lot of arguments about stretching for runners. I like to gently stretch by bending over for 30-60 seconds. I don’t do anything aggressive; I just bend over and let my arms hang. How you want to stretch is up to you. I recommend reading up on stretching and running and find something that works for you.
One of the standards for determining your maximum heart rate is 208-(age*0.7)
The long slow run is an aerobic run at 50%-75% of your max heart rate. That is a huge span. I recommend 50% max for beginners who are just starting to increase your mileage. At 50% max hr you should be able to converse comfortably and joke around. At 75%, you should be able to talk but joking around will be difficult.
Here is an explanation of the heart rate theories. We like to call them rules but people are not created equally so things can vary a lot.
Aerobic training is officially 50%-85% of your maximum heart rate. The long slow run is typically 50%-75% of your maximum heart rate. As you progress, the lower number will gradually increase. My long slow runs are usually at 65%-75% max heart rate.
Long slow runs are fat burners. The long slow run trains your body how to burn fat. As your long slow runs increase in time and distance, your body gets better at burning fat and other types of fuel.
They say, you officially start burning fat between 60-90 minutes depending on who you ask. I don’t care when I officially start burning fat. I like to look at my watch and tell myself how close I am getting to burning fat. When I am in the fat burning stage, I tell myself “Burn, baby, burn”.
The higher your heart rate, the higher the risk for injury.
Heart rate example for a 52 year old. Since this is general in nature, I will use whole numbers.
208-(52*0.7) =208-36=172 max hr
50%*172=0.5*172=86 lower aerobic hr
75%*172=0.75*172=129 maximum long slow run aerobic hr
85%*172=0.85*172=146 maximum aerobic hr
Ted’s long slow run at an hr of 133=77.5% of max hr. When my long runs get longer than 15 miles, I will probably lower the max to a max of 130.
I don’t usually eat during any exercise that is less than 2 hours. When the workouts are longer than 2 hours, I like to practice eating. I don’t like to eat when I exercise. That is very bad for endurance athletes so I practice eating all of the time.