I just bought a heart rate monitor to try to keep my heart rate in zones 1-3. I can't run more that 1/8 of a mile before it's getting high. Any suggestions? I've been running 10-15 miles per week for years. I cut out all refined and processed foods and sugar.

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Hi Beth,

Are you using a wrist-based optical heart rate monitor? Or the chest strap one?


Chest strap. The polar H10.

Polar H10 is a really good strap and monitor.  I use the same one.

Are you using electrode gel?  Or just water to moisten the pads?  I usually get really high heart rate measurements at the beginning of my run when the air is really dry, although it levels out after I start sweating during the run.

When you get the high readings?  What's your RPE?  Is it high as well?  Or normal?

Just water. My RPE is normal. Just a light jog. It's really humid here in Western NY. I will try some gel.

Hi Beth, One thing I have been noticing is that my heart rate monitor (optical on watch (Garmin 935) and Garmin HRM strap) is that it sometimes shows high readings at the start of a run. This is in the cold/high humidity.  It locks onto cadence and displays that. 5 minutes into the run this settles down.

You could overlay cadence onto the HR plot to check if this is the case.

Thank you Ben

Hi Beth,

I dont miss those humid WNY days! One note, when it is hit and humid your HR will be higher than normal. This could especially be the case if you did your HR test in coer temps. You might want to test again if that is the case now that summer has hit.

Thanks Eric. I'm getting the hang of it - better stride, better base, better form. It's exciting trying to get better and faster.

I'm getting frustrated. I've been trying to keep under 133 beats per minute to try to train my body to burn fat like the Maffetone Method. On week 2 and following a sugar free diet while increasing protein and no processed foods. I can run about .02-.05 mile before my heart rate goes over 133 bpm. It takes the same distance to bring it down to 123 bpm, then back up to 133 in .02-.05 mile. I warm up and cool down, watch my caffeine, drink lots of water, and try to run when it's cool out. I'm out of ideas.

I spent about six months doing essentially the MAF method. I've definitely gotten fitter, however it seemed like I was making very slow progress and I got frustrated frequently as a result. I did get faster, although I was never really able to run at such a low HR.

I was doing a lot of xc skiing this winter when I started training, and at first I had to go sooo slow up every single hill, like I was in slow motion. After a few months could ski at my old pace but a lower HR. So that was good. But I would get frustrated because I still had to slow way down way too often, and my running distances weren't increasing. It seemed like I could still only run for 30 seconds at a stretch before my HR monitor would yell at me to Slow Down! 

After six months of low HR training I wanted to run more (and more continuously), and read Eric's book. So now I've integrated his running plan into my training plan, and allow myself to use his zones. My CI HR Z2 for example is 140-150, whereas before I was using 125-135 as my Z2. 

I'm on my third week and so far so good. If I find I start to slow down and regress then I'll evaluate but so far I find even the higher HR Z2 still feels easy. And this week for the first time I managed to run in HR Z1 for over 8 minutes at a stretch. I wasn't able to do that before.

Lastly, I used to be a major sugar burner. I would bonk, and get hangry, etc, etc. I started doing fasted workouts and it transformed me. Now I try to do a workout fasted unless it's high intensity like hill repeats. I used to think I needed to eat before a long hike and now I just bring food with me to have after a few hours. I also increased the amount of fat I eat and decreased the carbs (and gave up sugar).

Thank you Rachel. That helps! I have Eric's book and have been doing the exercises, but then got distracted with another book that talked about the Maffetone Method. I was super intrigued. I don't want to give up on it, but I think I will go back to Eric's book and try his method. I have now bought a wrist heart rate monitor that will help me monitor my heart rate all day. It's surprising how quickly my heart rises at work just from stress. 

I will post again in a few weeks. Hopefully with good news. One positive is that I always feel like running. I never get to get to a full run so I'm eager to put on some steady miles.

Sounds familiar Beth!  I bought three books recently:  Eric's book, Jeff Galloway's Running Until You're 100 and Daniel's Running Formula.  Plus I heard about the Maffetone Method on a YouTube somewhere so also looked into that.  I want to try them all!  But for now I have just started the foot exercises and will do the HR and speed tests when I get some time at a track.

Regarding heart rate, before I got my Garmin 235 2 years ago, I was running all my training runs as fast as my body would let me.  After my first run with the watch, it told me I was overtraining!  So I learned to slow down.  Recently even more so after setting my HR zones by the Maffetone 180 formula, so my aerobic max. is 123.  It's a challenge to run that slow!  But most days I'm able to keep the average HR below that.  I think Eric suggests in the book to run slow by keeping your cadence up but stride very short so you might try that.  It's more fun than just loping along in low gear.


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