Explorer Fitness - 2

Heart Rate Zone Training
heart rate
explorer fitness
data journalism
fire runner

RJ Cody Markelz


July 21, 2023

Hill climb workout heart rate graph

As part of the explorer fitness program I have developed, there is a heavy emphasis on elevation gain and loss. During the last few summers, our local trail running group has been meeting on Wednesdays after work for a progressively harder hill running workout, and this fits in perfectly. Everyone does the same out-and-back route, but we go up at our own pace. After reaching the pre-agreed stopping point, we wait for everyone and then do a slower social run on the way down. The workout changes location every few weeks to keep things fresh, but it also allows the participants to compare efforts across different locations.

Above is a graph of a hill climb workout. I did a light warm-up for 15 minutes, followed by waiting around for the other participants to show up at the start (Zone 1-3). I like to have gone through all the heart rate zones that I will be utilizing during the workout as a proper warm-up. In this case, the workout was mostly a lactate threshold pace (upper end of Zone 3). For the nerds out there, it is the pace at which my body can still clear out the blood lactate (~2 mmol/L). This level is right on the border between Zone 3 (Yellow) and Zone 4 (Orange). For me, the lactate threshold is spending time above 172-174 bpm heart rate. While I can and do go higher than that threshold, I use Zone 4 sparingly, as that is when blood lactate rapidly builds up. In the case of the hill climb workout, I went into Zone 4 a number of times on particularly steep or technical sections, but always slowed down after to get back below the threshold so I could maintain the overall Zone 3 pace for longer.

Overall, I am happy with this effort. I climbed 2100 feet in 40 minutes. This beats my previous time on this route from last season by over 3 minutes.

This is the second in a series of posts on explorer fitness. The first post in the series is here.

I have previously posted about training here and the Crested Cara Cara birds I saw on one of my shorter runs here.