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Threshold Heart Rate

Brian Kondas PB&J 5K Threshold Heart Rate

Threshold heart rate is used by Training Peaks app to calculate heart rate training zones.

What is Threshold Heart Rate?

Threshold heart rate is the maximum heart rate you can sustain over a long period (up to an hour). In a video by Dr. Stephen Seiler, he defines a relatively long time from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Efforts above this level can only last a few minutes before recovery is needed. On the other hand, efforts below this level can be sustained much longer.

Why is Threshold HR important?

Determining your threshold HR is important for establishing your heart rate training zones.

According to Stephen Seiler’s video on Training Intensity Zones, a person’s peak heart rate (HR max) varies greatly based on the individual. The formula 220 – age estimates a person’s HR max and can deviate significantly from a person’s actual HR max.

How to Calculate Your Threshold HR

On August 1, 2022, I calculated my lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) by running a 30-minute time trial. I ran the 30 minutes as if it were a race using a negative pacing strategy. Over time I progressively increased my pace and ran all-out at the end.

My average pace for the last 20 minutes is my threshold pace. For example, my threshold pace was 8:44.

Then I calculate my threshold heart rate. First, I warm up for ten minutes with an easy jog. Second, I gradually increase my speed and check my pace on the Garmin Forerunner 55 watch. Keeping the pace steady at 8:44, I monitor my heart rate. Finally, I determine my threshold heart rate is 144 bpm.

Using Training Peaks App

On September 17, 2022, I ran the PB&J 5K and achieved a new personal record (PR), finishing at 23:57. Using my Garmin Forerunner 55 watch, I recorded my 5K race. When Garmin Connect App on my iPhone synced with my Garmin watch, it updated my Training Peaks App. After confirming the new 5K PR, the app notification said, “You set a new heart rate threshold of 153 on 09/17/22.”

As a result, my heart rate zones automatically updated:

  • Zone 1 went from “104 – 117” to “110 – 124”
  • Zone 2 also increased from “117 – 130” to “124 – 138”
  • Zone 3 raised from “137 – 144” to “145 – 153

The end of Zone 3 in 80/20 Running is the lactate threshold heart rate.

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