UKH

Heart rate on hills

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Have been running trail and road for a few years, however it seems impossible to do any hills at a jogging/running pace without my heart rate spiking to a high Z3-4. Power walking up hill seems to keep it in a high Z2 however. 

I do most of my training runs in Z2 on the flat and do some elevation runs (Power walk up hill and run the rest usually) about twice a week if I can. I tend to follow the uphill athlete style of doing as much as possible in Z1-2 with limited harder effort stuff which would be the hill runs as I cant keep the heart rate down on them!

Has anyone been able to overcome this spike in heart rate and keep within their Z2 on hilly terrain, and if so do I just need to do more Z1-2 work and the adaptations will come eventually or is it only the pros than can seemingly run up a munro without breaking a sweat?

I have also heard that if you can run fast on the flat, then that should translate in to better running economy going uphill which should keep your heart rate in check? This sounds like it should make sense however it would be good to get some opinions.

 tlouth7 01 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza:

On the flat, how much slower than your Z2 pace can you go before it becomes a walk? I ask because if there is quite a big buffer then you can slow down lots on the hills without breaking stride. If however you are doing your long runs about as slowly as you can jog then there is nowhere to go but to a walking pace if you see what I mean.

In my experience of moving from the flatlands of East Anglia to the hills of Scotland there really is no substitute to running in hilly terrain. A few sessions of hill reps, or long ascents that end with you in a gasping heap, and you will see marked improvement.

In reply to tlouth7:

Yeah there isn't much buffer between the two, I guess that is where my second question comes in about getting faster on the flats, that should technically give you the buffer for the hills then.

I would indulge in the hill reps however the only concern there is overdoing the Z3 training and ending up with ADS which i have been trying to avoid with all the Z2 training.. seems im stuck in between a rock and a hard place though..? 

 Myr 01 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza:

Maybe a dumb solution, but you could switch to gentler routes up the same hills? If you can powerwalk uphill in Z2 then there must be some lower angle trails that you can jog up in the same zone. And then build from there.

 wbo2 01 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza: Comment 1 - as always - rest pulse  is correct and you've measured max rather than estimated?  

Has anyone been able to overcome this spike in heart rate and keep within their Z2 on hilly terrain, and if so do I just need to do more Z1-2 work and the adaptations will come eventually (yes) or is it only the pros than can seemingly run up a munro without breaking a sweat? (no, but they work also).

Also, if all you do is Z1 and Z2 you will struggle with Z3 as you never train for it.  If you're going to train long and slow, then some intervals become nonoptional if you want to improve or change things

 petemeads 01 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza:

Are you doing the small amount of interval training/maximum efforts - Z5 - to match the long slow distance runs? I spent several months last year running gently but come December I started to focus on speed, doing fast miles and 5k runs, then graduated to all the standard distances out to 30km by March 2021. Resting HR seems to have dropped as a result,  I can't run much at the moment due to sciatica but biking heartrate is definitely lower for the same power output. 

In reply to wbo2:

Cool, ill throw some intervals / speed work in to the mix and see how i get on 

 windmillgirl 02 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza:

I'm glad you raised this question as I've been having the same problem with Z2 training living in a hilly place. Thanks

 mountainbagger 02 Sep 2021
In reply to windmillgirl:

> I'm glad you raised this question as I've been having the same problem with Z2 training living in a hilly place. Thanks

If I'm doing a Z2 run then I definitely keep the average HR at a certain level (mid to low end of the range for me), but uphill I let it go to the top end of Z2, sometimes over if I'm almost at the top! What I'm trying to do is not make the overall run hard, so some (brief!) straying over isn't too worrying as I'll just recover going down. In terms of tiredness/injury/ability to train the next day it doesn't seem to hurt. I still end up walking though on really steep hills to keep in range.

In order to train for actually running uphill I'll just throw in a hill reps session now and then (I do an interval session once a week, so I'll swap that for hill reps periodically), and let rip! They seem to work and I find I can run more of the uphills on a Z2 run over time.

In reply to Garethza:

> overdoing the Z3 training and ending up with ADS which i have been trying to avoid with all the Z2 training.. 

Please enlighten me, what is ADS?

 petemeads 02 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Hood:

Aerobic Deficiency Syndrome, I think.

In reply to petemeads:

> Aerobic Deficiency Syndrome, I think.

Just looked that up. It simply seems to mean you have neglected to train basic endurance enough but made to sound like a medical problem.

I hope I am not alone in having done absolutely loads of hill running over many years but mostly not having a clue what is being talked about in this thread!

Post edited at 23:29
 Marek 02 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Please enlighten me, what is ADS?

It's a faux-medical way of saying you've been doing too much high-intensity work and let your base (aerobic) fitness deteriorate. Somewhat tautological, but having a 'syndrome' sounds more impressive.

 grectangle 03 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I hope I am not alone in having done absolutely loads of hill running over many years but mostly not having a clue what is being talked about in this thread!

+1

I think the OP wants to run hills and not have his heart rate go up?  

In reply to grectangle:

> +1

> I think the OP wants to run hills and not have his heart rate go up?  

So presumably they either need to go slower, go up a less steep hill or get fitter.

In reply to Robert Durran:

I think I'm with you on this 😁

Presumably Z is zone and Z1 to Z5 are based on age or max heart rate or base heart rate.

I'm not quite sure what the problem is with heart rate increasing when running up hills, surely that would be expected.

I would have thought that the way to train to be better running up hills is to do more of them and/or do them at higher intensity (i.e.steeper).

This Z stuff is all part of the "benefits" of technology "assisting" us with complex and difficult matters like going for a run.

No doubt in 20 years time you won't be allowed to run round the block without a multi-functional heart rate monitor (with integral micro-resuscitator) and a tracker, etc.

In reply to Michael Hood:

> I think I'm with you on this 😁

I've just realised what the problem is with my climbing; I'm suffering from Strength Deficiency Syndrome. Maybe there is a cure for it. And all this time I thought that it was just that I am weak.

Post edited at 08:03
In reply to Robert Durran:

Only the one, lucky you.

I've got:

  • Available time impaction syndrome
  • Can't get motivated to train hard syndrome
  • Pissed off with poor weather syndrome
  • Just generally crap syndrome

And a load more yet to be diagnosed.

 wbo2 03 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Hood:  

> I would have thought that the way to train to be better running up hills is to do more of them and/or do them at higher intensity (i.e.steeper).

Yes, but.....  the problem with your simple statement is that it doesn't tell you how many, how hard.  Get it wrong and you don't improve,  you just perfect your ability to do a few at a middling pace you can't change, so by splitting training into discrete zones you avoid that.  Back in the day you figured that out yourself , or a few people had a coach, but now people have pulse meters.

There are other advantages to doing big lumps of verg easy training too. 

It's not a style of training I like, and I don't agree with everything written with some people horribly misapplied it, but it has merits you can't wish it away back to the good old days

 Marek 03 Sep 2021
In reply to wbo2:

>   

> Yes, but.....  the problem with your simple statement is that it doesn't tell you how many, how hard.  Get it wrong and you don't improve,  ...

Sorry, that's BS! Before the TLA-merchants came along, plenty of people got good at long races in hills on a basic diet of doing long runs (in hills) with occasional hill reps and sprints thrown in. Perhaps they only got to 95% of what they could have achieved if it they'd had some professional training help, but to say "Get it wrong and you don't improve" is just rubbish. For most runners, the real limitations are in their heads (motivation & focus) not in their legs.

ADS is just shorthand for "I was bored with long runs and didn't do them. Now I'm cr*p at long runs."

In reply to Garethza:

I think this thread has now suffered from OMS (Old man syndrome)

In reply to wbo2:

I know, just happy being a grumpy old man. One of the problems in today's society (IMO) is that we are conditioned to think that better always means bigger, faster, harder, etc. And technology is part of this problem in that it helps easily measure objective quantities. But better often means subjective qualities which are not (easily) measurable so there's a risk that they get forgotten or pushed aside.

So whilst all this knowledge and technology may help us run faster, more efficiently, etc; there is a risk that we will miss the simple pleasures and freedoms of just going outside and running somewhere new without thinking about how fast and all that.

I should point out that I'm not immune to this at all - I was into Strava for a short while but stopped because of the inaccuracy (using my phone anyway), and the only way I can ensure I'll have an easy run is to make sure I'm not wearing a watch.

Edit: Garethza - didn't see your latest post when I wrote this 😁

Post edited at 09:41
In reply to Garethza:

> I think this thread has now suffered from OMS (Old man syndrome)

ZZZZZ.......

 scratcher 03 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza:

> I think this thread has now suffered from OMS (Old man syndrome)

You obviously know best. Good luck trying to get better at running uphill by training in L2.

 wbo2 03 Sep 2021
In reply to Marek: Bosh.  Some people got very good and a lot of people got mediocre.  

Plenty of people ran everything at 'race pace', because doing lots of middling hard miles limited their race pace.

If it's any consolation I've just done a nice run in the woods with nothing fancy, no music, pulsemeter , watch, and it was great.  So don't become a slave to those things, but equally don't just become a training run hero

Post edited at 12:56
 Yanis Nayu 03 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza:

> I think this thread has now suffered from OMS (Old man syndrome)

How pointlessly rude. 

In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> How pointlessly rude. 

Seemed fair enough to me. If people are going to take the piss out of the OP I would have thought it’s a given that they need to be able to take a joke in return.

In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Agreed! Just like taking the piss out of 'ADS' - its a two way street right?

Perhaps if we just stick to the topic and not get sidetracked by some ' TLA's ' as someone mentioned (I had to google that myself) - that would be great! This being UKC I doubt that will happen however, but its worth a try

In reply to grectangle:

> +1

> I think the OP wants to run hills and not have his heart rate go up?  

He should get a Garmin 245. Apparently my heart rate goes up on the downhills and down on the uphills...

 Marek 03 Sep 2021
In reply to Garethza:

> Perhaps if we just stick to the topic and not get sidetracked by some ' TLA's ' ...

Indeed, I just couldn't resist. I think the underlying problem today is too much data and not enough knowledge - they're not the same thing.

But to go back to the OP's point...

One thing you have to remember is that everyone's different* - we all respond differently to training load and we all have different endurance/power profiles. Some people can run in zone 3 all day some can only manage zone 2 for an hour. You shouldn't get too wound up if the 'textbook' training guidance doesn't quite work for you. If you get a good personal trainer they may be able to adapt a generic training plan to your particular and current physiological state. Or - like most people - you just have to figure out what work for you by trial and error and (some analytical thinking).

The textbook should be a starting point, not a bible.

If you're not used to running up hills, then it is inevitably going to come as a physiological shock. You should expect that! You are going to have to bite that bullet and accept that for a while until the body adjusts to the new stresses. The whole business with 'avoiding ADS'  is not to avoid Z3, it is that you shouldn't compromise your base fitness (endurance) while getting the body to accept running uphill as the new norm. If you limit hill-running (Z3/4 or whatever) to <10% of your training time, then you should be OK with respect to base fitness, but still get useful improvements in your hill running. Then 'adjust-on-test' going forwards. Personally I always found that I got most consistent long term results using 'hard-week-easy-week' cycles - slightly overstress one week (to accelerate adaption) and understress the next (to avoid burnt out and injury). But you'll have to figure out what works for YOU.

* I used to know some decent ultra-runners who didn't ever do long runs in training. The only long runs were the half-dozen or so races they did in a year. Would that work for most people? I don't think so! Certainly not for me. Damn genetics - it's not fair! Mind you, part of their 'advantage' was good nutrition discipline and a very high pain threshold.

Post edited at 18:44
In reply to Garethza:

> Agreed! Just like taking the piss out of 'ADS' - its a two way street right?

I've no problem with it going both ways.

Sort of back on track - one of the best ways to get good at hills appears to be to move to Sheffield 😁 - hills from your doorstep, can't avoid them (this isn't me, I'm on the other side of the Pennines).


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