Reader Question about heart rate and marathon running
A reader, flight paramedic, and first time marathon runner wrote this week, “I have my first marathon this Fall. About 2 weeks ago I got a heart rate monitor watch. My question is “What HR should I run this marathon at?” My goal is to finish – period. It is a hilly course with LOTS of climbing, most of it in the first half. Because of all the hills it is difficult to calculate a pace to maintain over each mile of the race. So I was thinking if I just kept my effort at the same level regardless of speed then I may have a metric that works. Or not?”
Heart Rate Training
Just run. Don’t even bring the HR monitor because:
1) you don’t have enough experience of what heart rate to run at
2) over the marathon distance you don’t know what it will do to your chest – chaffing
3) HR data – above expected, below expected, or even at expected could cause worry or anxiety.
The HR monitor is already causing anxiety – thus your email. Leave it at home. If they have mile markers punch the lap button on your watch each mile
What to Do
To finish in 6.5 hour time limit you need to run a little faster than 15 minutes per mile. So if you have a lap over 15 minutes while climbing don’t try to make it up on the next mile. Just know that you need to make it up on the 2nd half.
1) Start in the back.
2) Don’t get sucked into “running” at the start. Jog easily at a very comfortable pace.
3) Walk up every hill, even hills that take 3 steps. At the top of the hill you want to feel ready to run, not ready to take a break.
4) Jog down hills as the descent allows.
5) Run at a comfortable pace on flats and false flats (gentle inclines/declines). A pace that you could talk in phrases. If you can only get out 1 word at a time you are going too fast.
6) Aim to finish the first half in under 4 hours which will give you 2.5 hours to finish the 2nd half at 11:30 miles.
7) 6.5 hours is a long time to do anything – even watch TV. Make sure you drink and eat enough, especially early in the race.
Rules for Every Runner
Finally, these are some running rules my sister gave to her kids last week in a 1/4 mile kids run that I think are applicable to runners of any age. Don’t get passed by anyone:
1) Carrying jangly car keys
2) In blue jeans, other denim, or cords
3) Wearing a diaper
Good luck with your race!