HR / Pace not lining up immediately after 5k test | 80/20 Endurance

HR / Pace not lining up immediately after 5k test

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    Today, I am starting a marathon plan based on heart rate. I have been running about 50 miles a week prior to starting the plan, but decided it would be good to get a better idea of my zones before jumping into the marathon plan.

    I ran a 5k last Saturday on a track in 20:45, my average power in that time range was 330w and average heart rate was 168, so I plugged these values into the calculators on Training Peaks.

    Today I did the first run in my plan (RRe12, a 30 minute recovery run in Zone 1). Over this time, my average pace was 8:25 min/mile and average heart rate was 129. Based on the calculator on training peaks though, zone 1 pace should be 9:01 to 11:25 and zone 1 heart rate is 121 to 136bpm.

    If I’m doing the heart rate based plan should I just ignore the pace? I know weather and what not can affect this (it was about 35 degrees out), but I wasn’t sure how to reconcile the differences in values. Did I mess up the test?

    Thanks in advance!


    Just wanted to see if anyone had ideas about this–did I do the test wrong? Should I go by heart rate or pace? Thanks again


    I believe you average HR is too low for 5k at full output. I would retake the test using full protocol of 30 mins and see if you get different results. This is only my guess.


    Thank you that helps a lot. Most of the running I had done in the last year I kept my HR really low so I could build a base. In doing so, I think I forgot somewhat how to push myself. I did not feel completely out of gas at the end of it, so that might make sense. In fact, I had to run home 2.5 miles from the track after and ran that at my recovery pace and the run was 8 miles total.

    Assuming my 5k was not actually the fastest time I could run that would definitely shift my paces around a bit.

    Here’s a link to the run itself if it is useful for anyone:


    Yep. You HR graph tells me you can push harder. Also, I would retake the test not on a tack, but somewhere you do most of your runs. 35 degree itself helps a lot for running, plus the track pavement (rubber?) all that makes running condition close to perfect, but far from usual. For the same reason it is recommended to have two different sets of zones for outside and a treadmill.


    My understanding of the test is that you need to do 30mins to get your threshold HR. You go as hard as you can for 30min but only use the peak 20min average for your threshold HR.
    You can use the 20min effort you ran for pace but then it would be 95% of that pace. It looks like you did not run all out anyways.

    David Warden


    So sorry for the delay, I did not see your original post. Yury and winora, thank you stepping in, you two are right on.

    Midale, as winora says, from your 5K you’ll want to take 95% of 330 (315 watts). For HR, we use the peak 20 of 30, but since your 5K was only 20 min, I’d guess that your LTHR is closer to 171, maybe 174, as your HR would have taken some time to settle.

    For your pace, you can use the 20:45 and put into the calculator (which will calculate 95% of that speed for you).

    However, this does not fully explain the delta between HR and Pace. Even if we use 173 as your LTHR, your 8:25 pace and 129 HR don’t fully line up. Some of this can be explained in that your average HR for your easy run was 129, but again, it takes 10+ minutes for HR to warmup, and that 129 average was probably closer to 134 for the majority of the Zone 1 run.

    Also, your 5K was done at 55 degrees F, your run Zone 1 run was done at 35 degrees. That’s a huge difference and can make all the difference right there. If you were to have run your Zone 1 run in 75 degrees, you’d have the opposite problem: Zone 2 pace with a Zone X HR. That’s just the nature of HR: it’s at the mercy of the environment.

    I’d focus on Pace instead for your zones with HR as secondary.




    I’ve been following Midale’s questions and the comments with interest. I think there is something here for me to learn from.

    Thank you Midale for posting your TP workout summary. Two things struck me; the pacing on the track was constantly varying, and the heart rate was constantly increasing and never reached a steady state. Both of these characteristics are very different than what I see in my own charts when I run on a track.

    Midale states that he/she went into the test with predominately slow running. Could it be that the prep type of running he describes leaves us unprepared to establish a meaningful threshold pace and heart rate? If so, it would seem to me that the “talk test” you an Matt described on a separate thread might be the most appropriate way to establish an initial threshold while running efficiency develops.


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