Are you feeling bored with your workouts? Do you wonder if you’ve hit a plateau? Are you not losing weight or gaining fitness the way you imagined? Maybe it’s time for some heart-rate training. At this point, many at the gym or trail will wrinkle their brows and say, “What is heart-rate training, anyway?” Heart rate training is based on the basic premise that there are two kinds of workouts we’ll be doing: hard and easy. You have two different heart rate zones for each type of workout. Each person’s zones are slightly different, so there’s a little math involved:
- First, you must estimate your maximum heart rate. To do this, subtract your age from 220. For example, I am 44 years old, so my estimated maximum heart rate is 176.
- The “easy” heart rate zone is 65-70% of one’s max heart rate. For example, my easy heart rate zone is between 114 and 123.
- The “hard” heart rate zone is 80-90% of one’s max heart rate. For example, my hard heart rate zone is between 141 and 158.
- Now, with the help of a heart rate monitor, I can gauge whether I am exercising with enough effort (or too much effort). For example, if today is an easy run day for me, I can check my heart rate monitor to see if my heart rate is, in fact, in the “easy” zone.