Get Your Heart Racing – Fitbit x Royal Parks Half

Welcome to the second instalment of my four part training series ahead of the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October. Check out the video above for a greater insight into maximising performance by monitoring heart rate.

Using a heart-rate monitor is a great way to track progress. By controlling the pace of long runs using a HR monitor, such as the Fitbit Blaze, it’s relatively easy to establish a steady, average pace. I recommend performing these long runs at 70% of your maximum HR, particularly when gradually increasing weekly milage with the aim to improve both endurance and running efficiency. The more efficient you are able to run, the easier it will be to maintain a ‘race pace’, achieving a faster overall time. It’s important to allow your body to adapt to running slower and over a sustained period to build slow-twitch muscles, essential for endurance races like a half marathon. These runs are not designed to leave you feeling particularly breathless; a greater workout on your body than your lungs.

Heart rate tracking allows you to monitor the intensity of your workouts and can be simplified with ‘heart rate zones’. While I recommend performing long runs in the ‘cardio zone’, interval or tempo training should be targeting your peak zone, when heart rate is around 85% of your maximum. An example workout would be 5 x 400m (with each 400m performed in your peak zone). These workouts will really push your limits, focusing on speed and performance while building lung capacity.

These are two really easy ways that continuous heart rate tracking can help with specific training runs. I find it really useful to track this kind of data for reassurance that I am running at the right intensity for any given workout.

Have another great week of training and if you have any questions related to heart-rate based workouts, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer those for you. It really feels like winter has arrived in London this week: it’s freezing! Sure, it’s become that bit more difficult to get up early for training but it’s nothing a post-run coffee can’t cure…!

Next week: “The art of stretching”