Friday, August 10, 2007

Hadd Heart Rate Test No 2

My blogging mate and aerobic heart rate training devotee Ewen recently ran a Hadd heart rate evaluation and posted about it here. This was enough to make me get off my butt and do my second test, the first having been on June 20th. There were about five of us did the first test, but this time everyone else seems to be away or sick or having their nails done...getting the bumper bar re-chromed...anyway, I had to face it on my own.

Rather than the full 2,400 m, I run five laps, or 2,000 m per rep (five laps of a 400 m track). This makes each rep last about the same time as Hadd's runner, "Joe". The conditions can play an important role. During the first test it was 24 degrees and humid. On Wednesday it was 28 degrees and not so humid. All in all, I don't think the difference in temperature had too great an influence. So, the idea of the test, if you didn't read Ewen's post, is to run a series of consecutively higher heart rates, starting around 70 to 75% of maximum and then 10 beats higher each time with the last one being around 90% of max. In so doing, you should be able to identify your lactic accumulation threshold, where your muscles tip over from being able to clear lactic acid as fast as it forms to a state of net lactic acid accumulation, in other words, unsustainable.

Here are my results given as average pace (minutes per km) for the entire 2000 m:
Date 135 (73%) 145 (78%) 154 (83%) 165 (89%) 175 (94%)
20 Jun 5:08 4:50 4:13 3:52 3:40
8 Aug 5:09 4:41 4:10 3:51 3:40
*Percentages are percent of maximum heart rate.

It is easy to run a little erratically in the first couple of laps as you bring heart rate up to target, so I thought it would also be helpful to look only at the average pace of the last two laps. If there is more fade in one test than another, the data of the last two laps should highlight that.

Results as average pace (minutes per km) for just the last 800 m
Date 135 145 154 165 175
20 Jun na 4:50 4:17 3:54 3:44
8 Aug 5:15 4:37 4:13 3:54 3:43

There are two main points to take out of these numbers:

1) I have shown a fairly dramatic improvement at the 145 (178% HRmax) level. This is logical because it is where I have been spending a lot of my time in training AND, I think I tended to neglect it in the past, running either harder or easier than the low 140s.
2) There has been no noticeable improvement at the 165 and 175 levels. I attribute this to a combination of a few things. i. It was warmer on Wednesday, so maybe I was starting to get some heat accumulation. ii. I just haven't run enough km or at high enough heart rates to move these limits yet. iii. My aerobic fitness for these heart rates was already pretty well trained on June 20.

By the time of the next test the weather will be starting to get milder and I will have been doing more distance at upper aerobic pace, exhausting though it is. So it will be interesting to see what will happen next.


Ewen said...

What a corker Steve - "aerobic heart rate training devotee"! Next it'll be "evangelical espouser of Lydiard".

I noticed the improvement at 145 and I tend to agree with your explanation. Hadd's tube of toothpaste analogy coming in to it... the need to work at the lower HRs as well as the middle and upper.

Regarding the erratic pacing - timing the last two laps could also be erratic if you go too slowly in the first 3 and just hit target at the start of the fourth (or too fast and then ease off).

My next blog post will be 'Hadd for Queenslanders'.

By the way, I'm missing the 94% column in my browser (fixed width table?).

Christian said...

wow, this is really professional... i changed from natural running to taking times and measuring heart rates, but going to your level is many steps ahead ;-)
keep running and improving!

Stephen Lacey said...

I think I sorta kinda fixed the first table Ewen.
In practice, I don't agree with the bit about potential for erratic pacing in the last two laps. I do find you have to concentrate and there are times the HR slips or goes over, but generally I am at or about the right HR getting into the second lap, certainly by the third. And the actual recorded average HR has been spot on for the last two laps of most reps. It is mainly the first lap when you can run faster than your sustainable pace for the target heart rate and still be below target HR that is the problem.
I have to talk to you about your question about Lydiard steady state pace too ... um, in short, during the buildup phase, no you rarely run as fast as the steady state pace. Once a week perhaps, on Saturday. (That's in theory of course). But the rest of the time is only up to 10% slower.

Ewen said...

Yes Steve, the upper table now works - although you have cellspacing=1 and no cellspacing in the bottom table.

I was thinking that if you take longer to hit target HR, your overall time for the 2k will be slower, therefore less fatigue/lactate and possibly a quicker time at target HR for the last two laps.

Do you think your pace at 73% would benefit from some regular 10 milers at 65% (5:45/km?) by becoming efficient at a much slower pace than you are used to running.

Stephen Lacey said...

Table. As long as you can read it, I'm happy.

Yes, you don't want to dawdle too much on the first couple of laps. I don't. I have a pretty good idea what pace I need to run at to get close to the heart rate, and with the footpod pace readout that means I am pretty much at the right pace most of the rep. You just have to keep watching and as soon as it looks like HR has plateaued, if you are still under, you just push that little bit more. Which is fine until those last two reps [red faced, blowing hard emoticon]

Some regular 10 milers at 5:45. Hmm...I dunno. Maybe. It sounds a a bit like my long runs - a lot of them is spent in the HR=120s (<70%). But I'm sure you are right. If you do the toothpaste thing properly, that's where you start and just gradually keep squeezing. But that's why you start 6 months before. People think I'm a bt loopy starting my program 22 weeks before (and there was kind of pre-program training that they nobody noticed ;-). People who haven't read Hadd must wonder what the hell toothpaste has to do with running! Oh well, that's their problem.

MilesandMiles said...

Wow ... you are really into this... for my information, how does this allow you to identify your AT? do you just wait to see 85% on your HRM?

Ewen said...

I've heard that Queenslanders don't have enough water to use toothpaste Steve, so don't worry about that!

One result of Hadd training (I'm theorising here, as I'm in the early stages), is that as pace/hr improves, the time spent running becomes less (volume per week in terms of time). Going back to Holloszy's original rat study, the 2 hour rats (highly developed mitochondria) had endurance for 111 minutes. Getting in a number of 2 hour runs would seem beneficial.

In your case, in a 2 hour run at 5:10 pace you cover 23km. Jog easily for 2 hours at 5:45 pace and you cover 21km. OK, so 2km less in the diary, but you still run for 2 hours, do it at a lower HR, do something you haven't done before, and probably recover better for the next day's session. OK, you might get passed by pregnant women pushing prams - I do all the time, but when it happens, I just think about Morceli's 10 minute+ per mile easy runs.

Tesso said...

Folks are dumb where I come from ...

Ingo said...

Steve, regarding running the 1st lap a little quicker; I found here:

"At all times, adjust the running pace to maintain a stable HR. On each new stage slowly edge the HR up (ie: it is ok if the HR takes the first 600-800m to reach target level), then simply maintain HR. DO NOT start fast and have to slow to maintain target HR."

Just wanted to throw that in. Some food for thought.

Also, maybe I got the wrong impression but you looked a little clunky when I saw you running on the track on Wednesday - pretty stiff actually. Looked like the mileage left some soreness behind.

Anyway, keep up the great work master!