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The best heart rate to maximise the training effect – Dr. Simone Wirth explains

The best heart rate to maximise the training effect – Dr. Simone Wirth explains

Depending on your goal and what stage of training you’re at, it may make more sense to either train at the basic level or use targeted intervals to additionally boost your heart rate and challenge your body. Dr Simone Wirth, sports medicine specialist and sports instructor, explains what kind of training is appropriate.

 

What's the right heart rate when you're jogging?

It depends on what you’re aiming for. If you’re jogging for fitness or leisure you should run at a fairly easy pace. Ideally you should be able to talk easily in full sentences.

But if you’re aiming for systematic improvement you have to run in various different heart rate zones. To boost your performance it’s important to regularly give your body a bit of a challenge during training.

First you should run short intervals at a higher heart rate, gradually increasing the intervals.

Phase 1

  • 10 mins walk
  • 1 min easy jog
  • 10 mins walk
  • 1 min easy jog
  • 10 mins walk

 

Phase 2

  • 8 mins walk
  • 3 mins easy jog
  • 8 mins walk
  • 3 mins easy jog
  • 8 mins walk

 

Phase 3

  • 5 mins walk
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 5 mins walk
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 5 mins walk

Phase 1

  • 15 mins easy warm up
  • 30 seconds sprinting
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 30 seconds sprinting
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 30 seconds sprinting
  • 10 mins easy warm-down

 

Phase 2

  • 15 mins easy warm up
  • 45 seconds sprinting
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 45 seconds sprinting
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 45 seconds sprinting
  • 10 mins easy warm-down

 

Phase 3

  • 15 mins easy warm up
  • 1 min sprinting
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 1 min sprinting
  • 5 mins easy jog
  • 1 min sprinting
  • 15 mins easy warm-down

Many people train at too high a heart rate

Leisure runners often train at too high a heart rate. They start with great enthusiasm, and don’t want to be slower than their friends. As a result they overstrain themselves and neglect their basic level training.

This basic level training is the foundation, and should account for most of the session. Occasionally you can build on this with units of intensive training. 

 

Do you burn more fat at a low or high heart rate?

Here it’s important to distinguish between relative and absolute percentages. At low heart rates the percentage of energy made available by the body is in the form of fat.

Maximum fat burning is said to take place at around 75% of maximum heart rate. The higher your pulse, the smaller the proportion of fat in the energy made available. That rule continues until you reach a point where the body is no longer burning any fat at all.

However, if you train for ten minutes at a high heart rate, you burn more calories overall than if you train for ten minutes at a low heart rate.


Find out more

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