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Can Running Improve Heart Health

Can Running Improve Heart Health - man runs on road

Running at an easy pace over long distances can improve heart health. The results of two 7-mile runs show significant improvement in running performance from heart-healthy endurance training.

November 25, 2021

Six weeks ago on my 7-mile progressive steady-state run, my pace and heart rates:

  • Average Pace 10:10 minutes/mile
  • Average Heart Rate 129 bpm

Miles and Heart Rate Zones

  • Miles 1 and 2 in zone 2
  • Miles 3, 4, and 5 in zone 3
  • Miles 6 and 7 in zone 4

This run started at 9:37 AM, and the temperature was 65 degrees F. The Palm Harbor, FL route I ran was the same as the 7-mile run today.

January 8, 2022

Today, I run 7 miles at a faster pace and slower heart rate. This run starts 91 minutes earlier at 8:06 AM, and the temperature is cooler at 57 degrees F. The warmer temperature 44 days ago may cause a slightly higher heart rate.

After running 7 miles, my average pace is 34 seconds faster at 9:37 minutes/mile, and my average heart rate is 3 seconds slower at 126 bpm. Adjusting for the warmer temperature in November, I added three bpm.

Even at an adjusted heart rate of 129 bpm, I ran 34 seconds faster while maintaining the same heart rate zones for each mile. I run the first two miles in zone 2, the following three miles in zone 3, and the final two miles in zone 4.

Weekly Mileage

Six weeks before November 25, 2021, I ran 89 miles. Thus, my average weekly mileage is 15 miles per week. However, I ran many more miles in the last six weeks.

Over the last six weeks, I ran 154 miles. Compared to the previous six weeks, I ran 65 additional miles. Thus, my six-week average mileage is 26 miles per week.

Heart Rate Zones

In the previous six weeks, I ran significantly less in heart rate zones 2 and 3. In November and October of 2021, I ran 16 hours and 48 minutes in Polar heart rate zones 2 and 3. However, in December 2021 and January 2022, I ran 20 hours and 15 minutes in zones 2 and 3. Thus, running more time at an easy pace can improve your heart health and running performance.

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