Long Runs are always yellow | 80/20 Endurance

Long Runs are always yellow

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    80/20 Gold subscriber here for about a month now. I entered a 5K PR that i had done late last year. I have since lost some fitness when I first started 8020 training, but am confident can still match that time. The problem is there is a significant disparity between my HR range and expected pace. I do experience cardiac drift about halfway into the run as the workout suggests I would, but I’m unsure if I should try to stay closer to HR range or pace which would put me well into zone 4.

    David Warden


    Thanks for being a subscriber.

    First, consider turning the color coding off in TP. It just stresses me out. It will show yellow anytime the predicted and completed times are off by more than 20% (over or under). With TP, it assumes that you’ll perform the workouts at 75% penetration into your zone, which is still a correct execution, but not every athlete can do that. I’d just turn it off.

    Of course your real issue is not the colors, but the delta between HR and Pace. We address this issue in your document Getting Started with 80/20 Training:

    Q: My pace (or power) and heart rate zones don’t line up. For example, when I’m in Zone 2 for pace I’m in Zone X for heart rate.

    A: This issue is usually resolved by ensuring that you use one field test to capture the threshold of multiple intensity types as outlined in the documents Intensity Guidelines for Running or Intensity Guidelines for Triathlon. By measuring Pace, Power, and/or HR in a single test, the three intensity types may align. However, due to the inconsistent nature of heart rate, it is normal for a given output to result in a different heart rate on a subsequent day. This is a normal phenomenon when using heart rate.

    In other words, your best 5K is a good way to predict Pace, but if you want HR and Pace to line up, you need to test them at the same time.



    Thanks. I did the test and ended up with results vastly different than my initial LTHR from about a month ago which was 165 BPM. I used the Pear App which has you incrementally increase perceived effort for 20 minutes.

    My new average HR is 179 (average of last 15 minutes of run) and my average pace is 9’55. It seems a lot higher. Is that normal?

    David Warden

    A, heart is just picky. It’s not an output, it’s an indicator of what your body is experiencing. Unfortunately, what your body is experiencing is a lot more than just exercise. Heat, stress, sleep, time of day, when you last ate, indoor-vs outdoor… all can increase HR for the exact same output.

    Unless the two tests were done exactly the same, and in exactly the same environment, they are likely to be very different.

    So, your LTHR could be 165 inside, with low stress, in the morning before you ate, but could be 179 when outside, higher stress, in the evening after dinner.

    This is why we recommend Pace or Power instead. These are outputs, not indicators.

    So, try and perform your LTHR test in as close an environment in which you will perform your training, and that will provide the least amount of issues when using HR.


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