Thursday, May 10, 2012

Back in the Saddle...and WHR explained

Saturday and Sundays runs last week were pleasant but slow and +10 on the HR..still tired from the marathon in some way? ....and the temps a bit warm..who knows?

Rest day Monday. 

Tuesday out for a 5 miles base run, plus lower body weights after:

Split Dist Pace HR % WHR Cad YPB
1 1.00 9:48 110 52.5 86 1.632
2 1.00 9:10 125 64.8 88 1.537
3 1.00 9:02 125 64.8 88 1.560
4 1.00 9:03 125 64.8 87 1.556
5 0.82 9:20 126 65.6 86 1.496
Sum 4.82 9:16 121.9 62.2 87.0 1.557

A great run! Felt wonderful. Amazing paces and HR,  easy breathing. We are back and feeling pretty fit.

Split Dist Pace HR % WHR Cad YPB
1 1.00 9:40 112 54.1 87 1.627
2 1.00 9:29 122 62.3 88 1.522
3 1.00 9:25 118 59.0 87 1.585
4 1.00 9:03 121 61.5 88 1.608
5 1.00 9:00 126 65.6 88 1.554
6 1.00 9:06 125 64.8 88 1.545
7 1.00 8:59 127 66.4 88 1.541
8 0.58 10:24 117 58.2 85 1.436
Sum 7.58 9:20 121.1 61.5 87.5 1.560

Another great run, this one shows great efficiency all the way through to the cooldown: 9:00-ish paces at 125bpm. I felt fast and easy again. Legs a bit sore later in the day. 

Today was "bike to work day" and I road in and didn't run today. Riding to work is so quick (I live about 3 miles away) and so tricky with morning traffic  (read crazy drivers) I'm not likely to make it a habit. I'd rather ride were and when there are no cars.

Pictures of Julie and Raina and I taken at their Eugene marathon post race pizza and beer get-together at "Pappys". 


Working Heart Range (WHR) also called HRR "heart rate reserve"

Raina asked me to explain WHR "working heart range". Many people track effort as a percent of HR max. For example I know I'm very close to my upper limit at 168 bpm. That's actually pretty close to the "220-age" formula but I also did a treadmill test for my wife's sake back in 2007 when I started running and I think it's still about there.

There are problems with using HR max as a guide. Lets take two people with an HR max of 200. (e.g. two 20 year olds)

Beginner runner A has a resting HR of 90. Fit runner B has a resting HR of 45.

If a training guide says to run at  "60%" of HR max to both of these runners that is the same number :  .6 * 200 = 120bpm.

For runner A this is 30 bpm faster than resting, for runner B that is 120-45 = 75 bpm faster than resting. Very different effort levels! 

WHR or "Working Heart Range" is a different scale that looks at the actual full dynamic output range your heart has ..not just the max... we look at the resting HR in our equations as well:

Runner B has a WHR of 200(max)-45(resting) = 155 bpm to play with from resting to all-out running.

Runner A has a WHR of 110 bpm...(200 - 90).   A "60%" WHR for Runner A would be 110 * .6  + 90(resting) = 66 + 90 = 156.

For Runner B would be 155 * .6 + 45 = 138. Runner B has a much bigger range of possible paces because of her larger WHR...shes going to be about to reach much higher paces. 

All heart rate "zones" should be percents out of WHR if you ask me.

None of this really matters when you are tuned in to what are your paces vs know what is sustainable for you (you can converse) and what  is difficult (no more talking) etc. You can feel it.

But I'm a data nerd and I like to also see the helps me feel more confident to see the objective fact supporting the notion, not just my feeling. By measuring my paces vs my WHR I can see when I am becoming more fit without running a time trial...which is nice. (Not that you don't need to also run fast and do time trials to figure out your fitness too!)

My HR Max is 168 and my resting HR is now 48-46. So my WHR is about 120 bpm. 

From Wikipedia here's the same story told another way: 

The Target Heart Rate or Training Heart Rate (THR) is a desired range of heart rate reached during aerobic exercise which enables one's heart and lungs to receive the most benefit from a workout. This theoretical range varies based mostly on age; however, a person's physical condition, gender, and previous training also are used in the calculation. Below are two ways to calculate one's THR. In each of these methods, there is an element called "intensity" which is expressed as a percentage. The THR can be calculated as a range of 65%–85% intensity. However, it is crucial to derive an accurate HRmax to ensure these calculations are meaningful (see above).
Example for someone with a HRmax of 180(age 40, estimating HRmax As 220 − age):
65% Intensity: (220 − (age = 40)) × 0.65 → 117 bpm
85% Intensity: (220 − (age = 40)) × 0.85 → 153 bpm

[edit]Karvonen method (this is the WHR or HRR method)

The Karvonen method factors in resting heart rate (HRrest) to calculate target heart rate (THR), using a range of 50–85% intensity:
THR = ((HRmax − HRrest) × % intensity) + HRrest
Example for someone with a HRmax of 180 and a HRrest of 70:
50% Intensity: ((180 − 70) × 0.50) + 70 = 125 bpm
85% Intensity: ((180 − 70) × 0.85) + 70 = 163 bpm



  1. I could probably get from work to home faster on a bike but I'm probably 10 miles away and I wear a suit so it's not really an option but I wish it were.

  2. This is very helpful, Paul. The best part is that we have almost identical max and resting numbers. So I can just do whatever you are doing for training and I will be golden. Thanks for the free coaching, Jill!

  3. Only joking about the second part, but thanks for explaining. :)

    1. Ha ha. yes I think you are very much faster at your 125bpm than I am it mine 8)

      You are very speedy!

    2. OK.. So I was looking at all of this stuff on a website I use today, and it refers to it as Heart rate reserve. These look like the same thing. Are they not? WHR and HRR? So Now I am less confused. Though I have been pretty lazy with figuring out heart rate reserve, I FINALLY decided to do it. Got all my training zones. I used my last HR max, but I think I need to re-test it. SO there ya go...impact made by your own post. :)

    3. Yup WHR is HRR ..same idea..take into account the resting HR not just the max.

      Glad we can have an impact..I think! 8-0

  4. I commute on my bike 2 days a week. I live about 7.5 miles from work, however, I on the way home I try to do, at least, 20 miles. So I actually pass my house and head down the road for more training miles. If I don't feel like going to far, then I will do hill repeats near my home.

    Oh, and thanks for explaining WHR. I wondered what that was on your tables, but I felt too dumb to ask.

  5. Read Raina's post and came here immediately. She knows you very well. I always enjoy your posts because of all the numbers, stats and science. Love it! Wish I could join a meetup like that one day.

  6. It was great to meet you, too, Paul! I'm so glad you had such a great race in Eugene!!!


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