My HR zones

Here’s a good paragraph from Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 book I’m reading just now, and one of the main reasons I run to my heart rate:

I find that so many people can get hung up on pace and times, and as a result maybe push themselves too hard, too often. Whereas because I run and train to heart rate, I tend to take it easy (by using my heart rate as a measure.

I’ve mentioned before, people focus on trying to get fast and don’t like the idea of being slow. But I think of it in terms of hard and easy, where fast is hard, and slow is easy. I much prefer running at an easy pace than making life hard, so ‘slow’ it is for me, or easy in fact. 🙂


I’ve figured out, through Stu Mittleman’s heart rate calculations, and through trying heart rate running over thousands of miles… that these are my zones:

150 = ventilatory threshold
160 = lactate threshold

Zone 1: very easy: 130-140
Zone 2: easy: 140-150
Zone 3: comfortable-getting hard: 150-160
Zone 4: hard: 160-170
Zone 5: hard: 170+

Or in simple terms (as detailed in the book ‘Slow burn’):

HR = effort (1-5 perceived effort) : type
<150 = easy (1-2) : aerobic
150-160 = moderate (3) : effective
>160 = hard (4-5) : anaerobic

Where anything less than 150 is easy and where I try to keep my heart rate below when running (to keep it easy) the majority of the time.


Want to know more? Read:

‘Slow Burn’ by Stu Mittleman
’80/20′ by Matt Fitzgerald

Or go here for more information about the three zones above and how to work out your three heart rate zones (aerobic, effective & anaerobic):

Ps: I showed one of my friends Janice how to use her heart rate to run and she said it was ‘a light bulb moment’ for her. Hope it works for you too if you try it. 🙂

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