From novice runners to experienced marathoners, we employ HR training and racing strategies. HR training is the single, most effective tool that an endurance athlete can use to measure and control the intensity of their workouts for long-term performance. Measurements such as pace, exertion, and power are not reliable ways to determine effort, since they don’t adapt to internal and external factors such as heat, fatigue, illness, and terrain. Heart rate training is the only measurement that determines effort and still considers all other variables that may affect a training session. For each athlete, customized HR training zones are developed. Long-range training plans are then put in place based on running goals, with workouts designed to maximize potential, simulate race conditions, and allow the athlete’s performance to peak when it counts.
Here, as in shorter distances, HR training is critical in proper development of the athlete’s aerobic system, in order to allow significant mileage increases with reduced risk of overtraining or injury. Depending on the athlete’s experience in distances over 26.2 miles, the focus is primarily on building an aerobic base and teaching the body to tolerate long durations of running. Pace-specific work is typically less prevalent in training for ultra distances, in favor of higher volume.
In trail running and racing, HR training is still utilized, but the focus becomes much more terrain-specific, with less emphasis on pace. Novice trail runners will begin working on the skills required to negotiate rocky, unpredictable terrain, while emphasizing safety. More experienced trail runners will train by using the terrain as a means to provide intensity, vs. a typical running workout that would take place on a road or track. All athletes use experience and skill development that allow them to become more efficient on the trail while staying safe on the ever-changing terrain.
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