Lately I’ve mentioned several times about using heart rate to guide your training sessions, so today I’ll attempt to elucidate the benefits of doing so as well as teach you how to make the appropriate calculations.
To effectively determine intensities based upon heart rates, it is first critical to establish a few things:
1. An average resting heart rate, by taking it upon waking daily. My athletes enter the data into a spreadsheet that spits out an average, which is beneficial to both training as well as determining an athlete’s training status or preparedness for continued loading.
2. A maximum heart rate. We determine this with a graded treadmill test using the iMett, when available, or within workouts. Athletes are always monitoring and recording new maximum heart rates with the help of GPS watches that save data. You can use the figurative MHR of 220 minus your age in a pinch, but I find it to be less than superior due to individual variation.
With data in hand, let’s determine averages. Our example athlete has a MHR of 200 and a resting heart rate of 45 and wants to determine 75% of MHR.
1. Determine heart rate reserve.
Subtract your resting HR from your maximum HR.
200 bpm – 45 bpm = 155 bpm HRR
2. Multiply HRR by desired percentage of intensity.
155 bpm X 75% = 116.25 bpm % HRR
3. Add resting heart rate on top of % HRR figure.
116.25 bpm + 45 bpm = 161.25 bpm
The last figure is then 75% of maximum heart rate.