Heart Rate Zone Calculator | 2:19 Marathoner Tips

Are you seeking a legitimate heart rate zone calculator in order to better understand your training? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am glad you have made it here. Heart rate monitor training has been a key component in my own racing and training. I regularly use the Garmin 245. It helps me to stay in the correct heart rate zones and not over training.

There are many calculators online but the best heart rate zone calculator I have found is over at Calculator Soup. You simply input your age and it breaks down your paces easily. That being said, the method of calculating your max heart rate of subtracting your age from 220 is not always accurate. I recently wrote an article about Jack Daniels VDOT scores you may want check out.

The most accurate way of getting your max heart rate is to run an all out 400m or 800m on the track. Once completed check your heart rate immediately. You can compare the max heart rate Calculator Soup gave you compared with the VDOT calculator. I would best bet that the paces you need to run are more accurate with VDOT.

How Do I Calculate My Heart Rate Zones?

As mentioned above, the most widely known method is to subtract your age from 220. There are numerous methods to do this. The most accurate is, as mentioned above, is to run an all out 800m on the track. Of course, you could also get a vo2 max stress test completed as well. The majority of athletes don’t have access to a test or facility that can do this. So, subtracting your age from 220 is the simplest method.

marathon sub 4 hour training plan
Coach Pennington undergoing a vo2 max stress test at the USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Are you seeking to run faster from the mile to the marathon distances? If so, my goal with this post is to share with you some running tips to help set you up for success. Once you have your paces given to you from the heart rate zone calculator you can start training at the correct paces. I use Jack Daniel’s VDOT scores with the athletes that I coach. The VDOT02 platform easily helps athletes run at the correct paces based on their current race performances.

What is a Dangerously High Heart Rate When Exercising?

Anything above 200 beats per minute is too high and can be dangerous. Remember, the end goal as runners is to improve your body’s lactate tolerance. Easy running is also vital for running success. The real benefits of your hard training come from within the rest period. So, we need to stress the energy systems of the body adequately. That being said, you also need to run easy enough for adaptation to occur.

The world’s top runners are running between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below their anaerobic threshold. We run between 85 to 89 percent of our max heart rate at our lactate threshold. So, the longer you can train at these intensities the more efficient you will handle your goal race pace. Sure, many runners can sustain race pace for a portion of their races. The problem is they have problems sustaining it from start to finish. So, longer tempo runs can help you better manage the goal pace you have in mind.

What Heart Rate Zone Should I Be in to Burn Fat?

The heart rate zone calculator you choose to use should tell you this. That being said, I would recommend running around 65% of your maximum heart rate for your best fat burning zone. Of course, not every runner has a race goal in mind. You may simply enjoy running just for the experience and to stay active. There are many runners out there who do have race specific times in mind.

I have created training plans and running courses built specifically for you. Pace sustainment gives most runners the biggest issues. Yes, you still need to burn fat and build endurance to be a great runner. That being said, you also need to train for longer periods of time at your anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid begins to rise in the body.

The most important tip is to focus first for 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage. You don’t want to rush your fitness. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. I always tell my athletes to focus on a longer rather than a shorter build up. The optimal time frame is a minimum of 16 and preferably 20 to 24 weeks in length.

Why is My Heart Rate So High on Easy Runs?

Heart rate monitors are not always accurate. In addition, your heart rate will be much higher in hot and humid conditions. Your heart rate may be high on easy runs because you still need another day of recovery. The faster we run the more oxygen is required. So, heart rate will rise significantly the faster you are training. That being said, some days your heart rate will be higher even while running at easier paces.

Of course, this could be for various reasons. You may still need more time to recover from a faster workout you did previously. As mentioned above, it could also be the temperatures outside. Also, it could be the terrain you are training on as well.

Naturally, your heart rate is going to rise while running over hills and go down while running down hill. So, be cognizant of these factors when out training. The heart rate zone calculator is just a tool. You will have to go off of “feel” most of the time.

How Do I Lower My Heart Rate while Running?

The faster you train the less your heart will have to work weeks down the line when you adapt. I am a big believer in faster, varied paced long runs. I used this tactic to lower my marathon PR from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. The long run was the hardest workout that I did during my 30 year racing career. Below are some examples of the faster long runs I was doing prior to breaking the 2:20 marathon barrier.

  • 2 mile jog, 7 miles@5:35 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:15, 6 miles@5:55 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 2 mile jog (23 miles)
  • 2 mile jog, 5 miles@5:25 mile pace, 5 miles@6:00 mile pace, 5 miles@5:45 mile pace, 3 mile jog (20 miles

I would always run the following weekend’s long run slow and easy around 9 minute mile pace. I see a lot of runners running slow and easy every single weekend. Remember, the body always adapts to the stresses being placed on it. Your heart rate will lower and your paces will quicken the fitter you get. That being said, you need to be jogging on recovery days to ensure adaptation takes place.

What is Ideal Heart Rate Zone?

The majority of well-trained athletes have resting heart rates between 30 to 60 beats per minute while resting. The most optimal heart rate training zone to run faster is between 85 to 89 percent of max heart rate. Again, this is training at your lactate threshold. The end goal is to improve the body’s lactate tolerance. So, you can race faster and slow down less in the race.

You also need to train once per week at your vo2 max. Our vo2 max is our body’s maximum oxygen uptake. It is running at speeds so aggressive that we can’t clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Naturally, we have to stop and take small breaks to recover. Workouts like these, tempo runs and faster long runs help us to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers.

The more of fast twitch muscle fibers we can recruit the more efficient we are going to race. More importantly, the easier your goal race pace is going to feel. We run between 95 to 105% of our maximum heart rate at vo2 max effort. Examples of vo2 max workouts are fartlek training, speed intervals on the roads and track and hill repetitions.

Closing Thoughts

So, use the heart rate zone calculator as a tool. That being said, listen to what your body is telling you as well. Do you feel aweful running on a particular day? If so, give yourself an additional 24 hours of rest. I would like to keep in touch with you. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. My focus there is to create at least 2 new training videos to help you get to the next level with your running.

Do you pay any attention to mental training? If not, start implementing this into your training routine. The world’s top runners combine both mental as well as physical training to produce superior results. So, take 10 to 15 minutes daily and visualize crossing the finish line in your goal time. Also, passing people and running relaxed. It has to happen in the mind first. You need to train the mind as you do the body.

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