How to do base HR training with AF

  • Creator
  • #43125

    Really enjoying the Training for the Uphill Athlete book and have learnt so much from it already. My problem is trying to accurately assess where I am without using my heart rate as a guide because I cant rely on it.

    I have Lone Atrial Fibrillation (it doesn’t come and go its permanent, always there). Iv had it at least 20 years probably longer, been under cardiologists etc and don’t need any treatment for it, they are happy with the way it behaves and so am I, it causes me no issues other than I naturally have a higher resting heartbeat than most. I have always previously run 10k’s & half marathon trail races (all with medical approval to do so) but approx 4 years ago I lost interest and stopped running. Now enjoying running again and want to take a more holistic approach and try MAF Method base training instead of how I trained previously. The problem is, as always, I can’t get a steady heartbeat due the how AF works, it can fluctuate from 90 – 150BPM in less than a minute due to the way the faulty electrical signals operate with this condition and AF sufferers naturally have a faster heartbeat anyway.

    Any ideas on how I could incorporate the principles of the MAF Method and staying in HR Zones 1 & 2 when running without the need to follow my heart beat as its not possible for me and i’m struggling to know how to accurately measure whether I am in an aerobic state or i’m moving out of this state in to more anaerobic zone 3 training etc. Also LT testing isnt possible because i dont have the data to calculate my progerssion. Up to now I have been basically running very slowly (just a fraction faster than walking pace) and breathing through my nose only, three second inbreath and 5-6 second outbreath. I can do this quite easily with very little effort over 7 miles plus but its still not an accurate measurement it’s more a guess as to what is actually happening internally and whether I am operating within my personal aerobic zones only.

    Iv just ordered an optical arm strap to see if that might work as a chest strap just picks all the chaotic elecrtical signals my heart produces so the data is of no use.

    If there any any other good approaches i would love to hear.

  • Participant
    Dada on #43128

    Hi John,

    what you do in statistics when you have such a signal, you use some kind of filter or smoothening. A smoothing could be something like a moving average.

    If you own a Garmin watch which supports custom data fields, it could be an option to find someone who will implement such a moving average HR field for you. I know it’s probably a lot of effort, but it might yield the desired outcome. Maybe this field is already implemented in the connect IQ store.

    Best regards

    john-3536 on #43151

    Thanks for your help Dada I will have a look on Garmin and see if there is anything there.

    It’s so frustrating having to kind of guess or feel instinctively where I am up to all the time and not be able to accurately calculate what stage I am at from data like your heartbeat, its like being blind to your own heartbeat, most people don’t realise how lucky they are!

    It also makes a lot of the newer books and websites on endurance training a lot harder to utilise properly due to nearly all the information, calculators and data collection mainly being directed towards a person’s performance based on your heartbeat. I find I have to rely more on older books and info from a time when they relied less on this and more on the body itself.

    I suppose as I get more use to not relying on my heartbeat for guidance it should get easier to understand myself and how my body is behaving.

    Dada on #43152

    Another option which came to my mind: some Garmins support breathing frequency. Maybe this could help you as well.

    Best regards

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