Running according to your heart rate and feeling

5. February 2019

Your five personal intensity levels can be determined by your feeling and maximum heart rate.

Intensity level 1

The so-called «bad conscience tempo». Long, very slow units. If you have the feeling you are running too slowly, then the pace is just right. Very important for all beginners wanting to build a foundation and also at the beginning of a long season. Corresponds to very relaxed and leisurely jogging.

  • Feeling: very easy
  • Heart rate zone: 60-70% of your maximum heart rate or, as a guideline, around 110-130 beats per minute
  • Form of training: longer and slower continuous run (long jog) on flat terrain

Intensity level 2

Consolidating your foundations. Moderate pace, still preferably long and continuous units. Very crucial level for all athletes throughout the year. Check: you should still be able to speak during the load without any problems. Improves your lipid metabolism.
Important: even top athletes do more than half of their overall training in the levels 1-3.

  • Feeling: somewhat arduous
  • Heart rate zone: 70-75 % of your maximum heart rate or, as a guideline, around 120-140 beats per minute
  • Form of training: continuous run at a relaxed / medium pace

Intensity level 3

Probably the zone in which most runners would automatically feel like training.
Such a brisk pace has a huge positive effect on untrained people and beginners (and with merely two running training units a week, you can easily run like this most of the time). Training at only this level drains many runners in the long term.
It is therefore advisable to combine this with levels 1 and 2 and also with selective points from level 4 later on.

  • Feeling: arduous
  • Heart rate zone: 75-85 % of your maximum heart rate or, as a guideline, around 140-160 beats per minute
  • Form of training: continuous run, light speed variations

Intensity level 4

Training at this level is physically and mentally tough, but highly beneficial. It should only be done in very small doses and requires a long recovery time. At this level you will usually reach your aerobic/anaerobic threshold, or it is at a pace you can barely just sustain if you want to run as quickly and continuously as possible for 30 minutes.

  • Feeling: very arduous
  • Heart rate zone: 85-95 % of your maximum heart rate or, as a guideline, around 160-180 beats per minute
  • Forms of training: fast continuous run, fast speed variation / long, swift / fast intervals, slopes

Intensity level 5

Very draining and taxing. Requires a long recovery time. Should only be tapped during special training phases or a short competition and only for a very short time (e.g. the final phase of a competition). An unimportant training level for health care and beginners.

  • Feeling: very, very arduous
  • Heart rate zone: around 170-210 beats or roughly 95-100% of your maximum heart rate
  • Forms of training: very tough intervals, very fast speed variation, competition

Intensity levels 1-3 = load levels for healthy runners
Intensity levels 1-4 = load levels for dedicated amateur runners
Intensity levels 1-5 = load levels for high-performance runners