I have been running for almost 20 years - long distance the last 8 or so, and marathon distance for the last 4 years. My first marathon was 4:09, most recent 3:40, and I want to run 3:00. I have been running about 800-1000 miles a year for the last 4-5 years. I toe strike, with rapid cadence, and I think my form is fine when I am going moderate to fast speeds, I have had little if any issues with pain or injury thus far running. 

I have never trained with HR before. About 5 weeks into heart rate training for the first time - using Eric's calc methods from TCI - I have knee discomfort / sometimes pain after my 'easy' runs - even short ones. My heart rate jumps pretty high out of the gate, so my warm up pace is now slower than many people walk. I maintain rapid cadence, and land on my toes, feet under my body, but something is clearly wrong as I know feel discomfort after runs. 

How do we know if we have good form when we are going so slow. In all of the videos that Eric has posted, we see the form, but he is actually running. When I push off, and knee drive my HR jumps to 150 pretty quick.... what is the form supposed to look like when you are moving at the pace of a tumbleweed, and have to barely push off to keep your heart rate low? 

I know it requires patience to learn to run slow - but I am now getting frustrated that at such a low effort of running I am experience pain that is discouraging me from continuing to run every day or every other day. 

Does anyone have any insight on how long it takes to train with heart rate and build speed or feel like I am moving at all? 

Thank you


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First off, are you using a HR chest strap or relying on wrist monitoring?

Hi Coach, 

Clearly I do not know how the forum works as I am only just now seeing your reply - thank you for the reply! 

I have stuck with the program despite my initial frustrations, and I am a bit more comfortable with the slower pace, but still experiencing discomfort - mostly while running now, less after / in between runs. Most recently I ran 8.5 miles in HRZ 2 but that came out to a 13+ minute pace!!  (seems very slow to me). Halfway through I had to walk occasionally to reset my knees, sometimes bending them all the way and the 'snap' like cracking a knuckle, and I feel better....

I am using a wristwatch - Garmin 645. I also run in Manhattan, so the GPS isn't always as reliable either. Do you recommend a chest strap instead?

The discomfort I feel in my knees moves around - sometimes above, sometimes inside sometimes outside. To Jacob's point (below) I have IT band syndrome in my right knee, and Iliopsoas Syndrome in my right hip (snapping hip syndrome). I am working on your strength exercises and additional glute work. I avoid the high skips because my hip 'snaps' with every leg extension. Otherwise this doesn't bother me while I run. 

I still have a goal of a 3:00 marathon - this year or the next, eventually. Not sure how to rate / gauge my progress with the slow run training - or how to get better while avoiding knee pain. 

I'm sticking with it - willing to try anything. Thank you again! 


In my experience, wrist-based HR is sometimes accurate and sometimes wildly inaccurate. See also: https://www.trailrunnermag.com/training/trail-tips-training/why-you...

A foot pod (like Stryd) would probably help with speed accuracy when GPS is problematic.

Where is the knee pain located?  I'm wondering if it's actually IT band instead of the knee, perhaps from less glue activation due to the slower running.

I've also been working very slow and low HR running and I know what you mean about the HR jumping up to 150ish very easily when you're trying to maintain some semblance of 180 cadence.  Best thing that I've found is that its basically no different from doing the running drills and those easy running A's (knee up run in place) drills where you're focusing on forefoot underneath you, light tap of the heel, and that leg that's in contact with the ground needs that solid glute activation for hip stability.  Then just roll it into a lil bit of forward motion using a lil extra glute maximus contraction.

I just put a post up as well as I had some pain still with slow running... hopefully a coach or expert of some kind will weigh in on my question as well.

Good Luck,



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