After a long lead-up over the past six months after being not much of a runner at all, I did my one-mile test yesterday with a heart rate monitor. I almost certainly went above the described effort level since I was pretty wiped at the end and my heart rate average was 185. But despite going over on effort, my mile time was 10:26, which is slower than the slowest time on the chart in the book.

Am I too slow or too bad a runner to start this program? Or should I just extrapolate slower speed zones based on that run time? I was hoping this program would help me be able to keep a more decent pace without exploding my heart rate.

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Hi Beth,

Don't be discouraged about your numbers. I just did my tests after getting back into running and I had to wrestle briefly with myself to not compare myself to where I was six years ago. Instead, I'm using it as a challenge to at least get back to where I was, if not better! I'm confident that you will only improve if you put in consistent, patient, and mindful training. With time, your aerobic "engine" will gain more capacity and you should see faster runs at less effort. 

One more thing. It might be helpful for you to define what a "decent pace" is. Define your goals so that you can measure your progress towards them. Anyway, hope some of that helps.


Thanks Tim, that's good to hear! I have low expectations for my normal pace, but it was discouraging that my 1mi best wasn't even on the chart. I think I'll just extrapolate to find my speed zones.

Great advice on the goals Tim!

Glad to help, Beth! 

Thanks, Eric!

Hi Beth - I agree with Tim, as it is just a number to start with and just a benchmark for your success.

Right now, most of the runs in the program are by HR, so focus on those and you should see great improvement for the next test.

And it is OK to "crush" the HR, but not on the easy runs, stay patient on those and that is your way for "free speed".  And below are some speeds you can use for your speed zones based on your test.

SPZ 1 = 13:33

SPZ2 = 12:31

SPZ 3 = 12:00

SPZ 4 = 11:28

SPZ 5 = 10:57

SPZ 6 = 10:26

SPZ 7 = 9:54

Hope this helps and bring on the training!

This is really helpful, thanks for the info and help Eric!


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