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Heart Exercise
Running a Marathon - Beginners

Jogging and Running

I've been running for about 10 years (started late in life) (at age 50). The first five years was nothing more than getting in some sort of shape to run in a fun 10K (6.2) miles. I used the old aerobics methods that I had taught in the 60's. As long as I could sing the first two verses of the star spangled banner while I was running along I knew that my heart rate was with-in the appropriate aerobic range.

After five years of running and various leg / knee problems, I purchased a Polar Heart Rate monitor. The first day of running with the monitor was around the High School track. I had completed a couple of miles, feeling rather good, observing my heart rate, I noticed it was at 165. I sang the first two verses of the star spangled banner - no problems. I did a fast calculation to determine my maximum heart rate (the number 220 minus my age of 55) equaled 165. According to all of the literature, no one can maintain an effort that maintains a maximum heart rate for more than a very short period of time. It certainly raised a couple of questions. Maybe 165 was not my maximum heart rate, and/or my standard (the Star Spangled Banner) was faulty.

Two days later I decided to see what my true heart rate was. I ran out about a mile and a half and then proceeded up a slight hill running as hard as I could. I took my heart rate up to 181 before I had to stop. The next day I duplicated my path of the day before but drove myself much harder going up the hill. My heart rate went to 184, gasping, panting and ready to faint I knew that my heart rate was as high as I could get it.

In retrospect, I realized that I was really going about this in the wrong manner. I called the hospital and set myself up for a treadmill test. We confirmed that I should consider 178 as my maximum, as that was the point that my heart fluttered a little. I recovered is less than 60 seconds and with that the doctor said I had nothing to worry about.

Maximum Heart Rate: The maximum rate that the heart beat and with added stress or exercise will not rise above that level. To determine a calculated heart rate, take the number 220 and minus your age.

Further study uncovered other numbers:
Fat Burning Zone: 50 to 65% of your maximum heart rate.
Aerobic Zone: 65 to 80% of your maximum heart rate.
Anaerobic / Red zone: 80 to 90% of your maximum heart rate.

Stay with me, what I discovered was for me amazing to say the least. If I maintained a heart rate of 165, my time for running a mile was 10 minutes. When I brought my heart rate into the aerobic zone my time for running a mile increased to 13.5 minutes.

This is what I discovered. If I maintained my original training schedule (remember the Star Spangled Banner) I would have taken forever to improve. I was over working my heart muscle to a point where it could not recover and regenerate. My heart was not working in the best zone for it to improve. What it showed me was that
I had to slow down to speed up.

01/05/03 - Determined that Heart Rate is controlled by: (1) how much or how many of the large muscles in the body you use. I.E. Leg muscles and how long your stride is. (2) How much internal heat the body is able to release.

I now can put together miles with out running out of steam. I ran my first half marathon at age 59 and my first marathon (Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego) at age 60. If I am running 3 to 4 miles my pace is around 10.5 minutes per mile, if running 6 miles I drop my pace to 11 to 11.5 minutes per mile and anything over that I normally run at 12 to 12.5 minutes per mile. Running at those paces allows me to stay in my aerobic zone.