Heart Rate – Pace Judgement For Greater Success (Part 2) Posted on February 9, 2018

By Rameshon


Picture 1 – Heart Rate can be taken manually or by a Heart Rate Monitor

At the onset of a race or time trial, one usually goes faster than usual and I have spoken about that in Part 1 of Pace Judgement and Greater Success of my earlier blog post. The idea is to go hard, but not very hard. An extremely hard pace,  is at first good to experience, but after an enjoyable short spurt of very fast running into the race, between 1min and 10min, depending on how hard you have pushed, one usually feel too fatigued and feel the run as a torture rather than something to look forward for the next time.

Hence, most runners want to fine tune this. It is not easy to run a pace which going to make you complete and also give you a very good time as one needs to be more precise.  

So, what is the best thing to do? That is why a Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale was developed. During my studies in Loughborough University of Technology, in my own research on the effect of Heart Rate during 1500m meter run, it was found during VO2 max Test, that when a subject (athlete or participant) of the research researches an RPE of 7, it is alright to continue the run and hold and it is a hard intensity, one do not go into maximum intensity, where the activity can only last for a minute. So, the key word is feeling becomes very important. That simply means that if one runs to a very hard intensity in an exercise,  the chances of continuing steady state activity is not easy. It will become very difficult as one will go through a breathlessness situation, and one do not like to experience this sensation as there is pain involved. They can only last like this just for a while and not too long. 


Picture 2 – Heart Rate should be guided by Rate of Perceived Exertion 

When I was in Kenya in year 2004, I have seen this taking place. The coach, who was an Olympic gold medalist, once told me that it is important to ask the feeling  of the athlete before every workout and the coach will then plan the programme for the day. The coach do not go by just planning first and wait for something to happen when runners suddenly stop etc. They go by feeling before planning and the best way is to find out when the runners report to the coach for training. They don’t simply follow the plan blindly, without checking on feeling of the body. If one is too tired, the coach, there and then, will make changes to the training programme to adapt the training to suit the situation such that the training is not just maximised but optimised as well.  

Likewise, during the run, the training is given hard for a workout, not very hard and they go by feeling. The coach knows that by giving very hard, the runners goes to a breathless state and might throw out or stop activity due to dizziness, etc. In the past, I have heard that people train until the throw out, and they praise themselves. I feel that this is actually overdoing it and that is why many runners out they have given up running, and it is due to getting burnout. 

Coming back to our topic on running, with steady state intensity during a run of 90% maximum heart rate, instead of 100%, one should be able to run for as long as how one has trained. I could run the marathon distance with this pace of near maximum, but not maximum, and it can be a time trial. Usually the blood lactate at this pace can be below 2 blood millimole, about 1.4 to 1.7, and not 2. When one goes to 2 blood millimole, it is not easy to hold this back as one will go through breathing difficulty and a corresponding fatigue coming from an increase of hydrogen ions in the body, when bicarbonate in the body is not able to clear the hydrogen ions in the body at cellular level, causing discomfort in sensation and a corresponding increase in pain, especially from half-way to the end of the race. 

Once I was training Daniel Ling for 2007, Stanchart Marathon, where he came in first and I was second. He did 2hr 46min for the race. 

During our training, he was doing a steady state run per week for the last 7 weeks to the race day itself, he was doing 4min per kilometre for 10km. Later on, the following week of the workout day, he shifted down to 3min 55sec per km for 10km. By 6th week, he did 15km in 56min for 15km. The effort on the run was the same 90% of maximum heart rate, not maximum, but the time kept improving over time. Going beyond the 7th week would have given him a burnout sensation effect, which usually comes one month after the 7th week workout. This point is called peaked condition, and the performance will remain the same although the timing has improved a lot. It stays for a month. Subsequent intensity in training is just detrimental to performance, as one needs to take time off for a week and revisit the cycle of periodisation again. 

Edited By Tan Mariviv