Reply To: Running Demons 2023 Mile Campaign

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John Zombro

Howdy Bill,

Thanks for the input. It sounds like you had a good test. I don’t think you need to repeat it right now and I also would not worry that 187 is high for your age. Here’s the interesting thing. Maximum heart rate is genetically determined. We can’t really change it. It usually declines with age in most people, but at different rates. So it’s plausible that your max was actually near 200 bpm when you were younger. This is not uncommon. During exercise, our bodies are dependent on the heart to deliver oxygen, via blood flow, to the working muscles and other tissues. This is known as cardiac output and is usually expressed in Liters per Minute. Cardiac output is the product of Heart Rate x Stroke Volume (the amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle with each contraction cycle). Everyone’s body is a little different in how much stroke volume they produce and consequently how fast their heart needs to beat to meet the demands. One person’s heart may beat at 200 bpm with 1.4 L/m and another can be at 160 bpm with 1.7 L/m. So the variability is natural and nothing to worry about.

For the good stuff, we now know that your 70% HR for recovery and aerobic exercise is around 130 (I rounded down for simplicity). If we make sure that 80%(ish) of your running is done at or below this zone, you’ll build the aerobic foundation for health, fitness, and performance. That ratio will change a little in May when we do more hard training. The other 20% of our training will not actually be heart rate based because it’s during the intervals where we focus on pace instead. The trick in getting fitter and faster is going easy most of the time, and then going fast the other. All the world class athletes do this and it’s incredibly well researched and proven, yet most of the people we know live in the middle a bit too much. They go a little too hard most of the time and when it’s time to hammer, they don’t go fast enough. This isn’t a character flaw, just a human tendency.

We however, are superhuman.