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Running and Your Heart Rate: What You Need to Know

Stew Smith, CSCS

Here is a great question from a sailor seeking to better his PFT run time and has gathered extra information about training with heart rate monitor training.

How much emphasis should I put on target heart rate while training for the PRT run? The Navy PRT web page says the target heart rate for my age group (25 years) is 117-146bpm, with a max HR of 195. I’m working on faster run times, which means I’m pacing faster and really pushing myself. I don’t own a HR monitor, but the treadmill I used today indicated that I quickly worked my HR up to a pretty steady 172 BPM. I was physically comfortable with that, but is this a problem, or is this what to expect when pushing yourself to a new level? I tried staying in the “target zone,” but that was just way too slow.

All I’m trying to do is get faster, not lose weight, so what’s the use of a target heart rate in PRT training?

Training using a heart rate monitor can offer immediate feedback and give you an indication of effort, but if you workout enough you know when you are at your peak exertion levels. I have used and still use my Polar Heart Rate monitor infrequently especially when I start a new phase of my workout. When I change my routine and lift harder or do distance running instead of speed work. I like to gauge where my heart rate is when I reach muscle failure or a comfortable running pace. Where I personally get the most use is observing my recovery time from near max heart rate to 40-50%. This is a good way to gauge if you are getting more fit with your routine. If your recovery time decreases with PFT type exercises you are getting in better shape.

To answer your question, no you really do not need to adhere to the 117-146bpm zone for your PRT training. If you are training for ace the PT and the run, you will need to build speed through interval and faster pace training. Typically the heart rate zone you see on the cardio machines are target zones for you to optimally burn fat (staying aerobic) and not pushing the envelope of increasing your PRT scores. Now, if you can run faster at your PRT goal pace and have your heart rate in the aerobic target zone, that is impressive! This is how champion marathon runners can hit 5 minute miles for 26 miles! This takes hardcore conditioning training and that that level a heart rate monitor is almost essential to improving performance.

At the National Strength and Conditioning Association the Tactical Strength and Conditioning component utilizes the information obtained from heart rate monitors when worn by Special Ops, Police SWAT Team, and Fire Fighters when they perform their job. Heart rate monitors are useful in seeing exertion and adrenaline rushes occur during the performance of their duties. Using this information, you can create workout plans that can better simulate the job experience by adding in short sprints in between sets of weight training or calisthenics for instance. Learning how to recover from the adrenalin rush is helpful in managing stress either on the job or not.

So in a nutshell, heart rate monitors are very useful whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete or tactical athlete. However, for improvement of running, I would focus on speed and endurance workouts. Check out the article archive for previous running articles to help you.


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    SupraSneaker

    almost 4 years ago

    32 Comments

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    SupraSneaker

    almost 4 years ago

    32 Comments

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    SupraSneaker

    almost 4 years ago

    32 Comments

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    SupraSneaker

    almost 4 years ago

    32 Comments

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    SupraSneaker

    almost 4 years ago

    32 Comments

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    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    what kinds of food do you eat to stay healthy but not to ruin your ability to keep moving forward and running faster??

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ary

    about 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    What is the best way to learn how to run if you were never a runner before. Also when it involves traing for a agility test.

  • 2009_cbr1000rr_2000x1275_blueorangewhitered_42515b_max50

    code4

    about 6 years ago

    358 Comments

    Outstanding information to improve speed and stamina! Good read!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    pinkpanther

    about 6 years ago

    30 Comments

    Im just getting back in the swing of things and im pretty sure that info will help out alot of us who wants to get back in shape or feel better about ourselves by getting in shape.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    After having asked doctors, so-called PT experts, and others with knowledge in this area, this is the best and most useful answer I've heard yet. And the older you get, the more important this type of information becomes. Thanks much!

  • 4006742807_max600_max600_max50

    Elektra

    about 6 years ago

    214 Comments

    Very good info. I just started running so it was nice to read this!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    Good information to "take to heart". :-)

  • Ronnie_max50

    Rocc

    about 6 years ago

    38 Comments

    This is a good read for anyone starting to run or whose been runnning for a while.

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    JAG45

    about 6 years ago

    90 Comments

    Good info.

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