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Question: when I run, my heart rate can get in the low 180's. At my age (53) is that a good thing or a bad thing? I am running 2.5 miles every other day with variable speeds to break up the boredom.
Carlos, Owings Mills, MD.
If you are training to increase your conditioning, your heart rate should be between 120-150, preferably toward the lower range. This increases fat burning capabilities. Heart rate in the 180's is more of a racing pace (maximum effort) which is anaerobic and you are will be burning sugars. Keeping your heart rate in the 120-150 range will feel like you are running very slow (you may even be walking), but in time, your speed will increase as your conditioning improves. I would recommend doing what ever it takes to "not" let your heart rate go over 150. Just be patient with yourself, and you will improve. Keep us posted on your progress.
I am training for my first marathon. Over the last 3 months, I have been steadily building up my long runs. This weekend, we did our longest run so far which was 18 miles, and it was a disaster. My legs were so stiff, sore and cramping terribly, I had to walk the last 4 miles. In two weeks we have our next long run of 22 miles. I am beginning to wonder now if the marathon is a bad idea. What can I do!
Needing help in St. George, UT
Dear St. George,
Keep in mind, your number one goal is to complete the marathon distance, so we need to adopt a strategy that will allow you to complete your long distance training runs that will in turn prepare you to complete the marathon distance.
My first recommendation is that you adopt a run walk strategy. This has been used by ultra runners and marathon runners with great success. Try this on your next long run, right from the very start, for every 9 minutes you run, walk 1 minute. If you begin to have problems later in the run, then run 4 minutes and walk 1 minute. You should experiment with this during your medium distance runs as well, so you get the feel and rhythm of walking every 9 minutes.
Next, I would recommend that you make sure you start off your runs easy and not too fast. Your legs will be thanking you later on. You can beat your legs up very early in a run and pay in spades for it toward the end
3rd recommendation: It sounds as if you might be having a hydration and fueling problem as well. This can lead to muscle cramps. Make sure you are taking in proper amounts of water, electrolytes and energy replacements to keep yourself moving. We have been using and highly recommend EFS (Electrolyte Fuel System) by First Endurance. You should be able to find that in any running store in Utah. Using this system will put you well on your way to taking care of all of your needs.
Lastly, proper running form is imperative from the start of every run. Do your best to run efficiently, keeping your feet underneath of you and not reaching out in front of you.
Good luck and let us know how your training and your first marathon goes!