What heart rate is too low for training?

  • Creator
  • #22582

    When I train by myself I usually will average 145-160 bpm (my AeT is 164, max HR is 202). I occasionally hike with a friend who does not train for endurance sports. To keep a pace suitable for them, my heart rate during this activity is extremely low (average 110 over 2.5 hours) – is this so low that I shouldn’t count this as training, or am I still stressing my body enough to elicit a significant training response?

  • Participant
    pshyvers on #22592

    That counts alright, it’s low end Z1 or recovery pace. The response may not be “significant” but it counts as part of your total aerobic base.

    Anonymous on #22596

    psyhyvers is right. This counts in the base training volume.


    Jan on #22657

    @Scott: But what about page 56 of TftnA? “These sessions [in Recovery Zone, less than 55 % of max HR] are not meant to give you a training effect, so don’t think of them as training.”

    cramblda on #22686


    I’m sure Scott will jump in a flush your question out further. However, here are a couple of thoughts based on what I have heard on these forums in the past and my own experience.

    – The 110 HR average is right on the line of the 55% of Max HR you’re referring too. Thus, the answer will likely be very athlete specific (training goals, training history, etc.)

    – Average HR for a workout is only one piece of information. In a longer workout (1 – 6 hours) we can hit a range of heart rates, and average HR alone won’t tell the whole story.

    – Training Goals we’ll be a factor. How important is it for an athlete to hike with his/her friend once and awhile? What are athletes goals for training (Become a world champion, just improve by some metrict, etc.)?

    – Training history will be a big factor in this discussion as well.

    Here is an example: When I first started training, I could barely hold down a “running” pace with an Avg HR in the 135 range on flat terrain. After several years of training, I can hit much faster running paces at a HR of 120 on flat terrain. Four years ago if had done an Aerobic Base run at 120 HR I would have been walking really slowly and not getting much of a workout . Now, it’s actually a decent workout, so much so, that trying to run on flat terrain at a HR of 146 (AeT) would be a semi-hard workout for me. As such, I try to stay on the trail with hills most of the time. Some days when I “feel strong” I’ll run with an Avg HR in the 140 range. On days I feel fatigued, I run with an average HR in the 120 range. Compare that to my first year where I always ran around a 135 HR and that worked just fine.

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