In April I read the book 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald. I had heard how great heart rate training is and it seems every runner I know has moved to it. I decided to give it a try and started May 1st. It’s been eye-opening and a challenge but I am remembering how much I love running and how I want to improve. I want to reach my goal of running a marathon. And I want to do it in under 5 hours.

I feel as if I’m starting over.

heart rate training

Will run for tacos

My very first heart rate training run was extremely hard. And slow. Like super slow. Like I feel I could walk faster. My average pace was 16:52! I’m usually around 10:00-10:30 in my races. After this run, I was feeling really discouraged. How would I be able to complete the Las Vegas Rock N Roll marathon in under 5 hours? If I don’t meet the cutoff time I will get swept.

But I kept going.

I am following the plan as close as I can. I have not skipped a run yet. I had to move a couple items around but I am doing it. This week marks the start of week 3 and it’s getting easier. And I’m shaving off a little bit of time here and there. This morning I averaged 15:26, more than a minute less than when I started. I am comparing the same run (Foundation 3) for these numbers.

Yesterday I did a 7-mile long run and I felt so good after. I was tired but not too much. My legs were a little tired but not too much. My first long run (6 miles) was 16:17 pace. Yesterdays was 15:57. It’s not a lot but it’s trending in the right direction. My hope is that after two months of heart rate training, I am closer to my usual training times.

My real marathon training starts in July. I hope to cut more time as the weeks go on. I really like the challenge and philosophy behind heart rate training and I want to keep doing it. It’s humbling to be back at these times. And frustrating. But I am not having any of the health issues I get when I don’t follow (dizziness, nauseous) so I want to keep at it. (Don’t worry, I have a doctors appointment coming up to have everything checked out to make sure I don’t have an underlying issue). If I can’t get my time down, I will drop down to the half and try again for a marathon.

I will conquer the marathon distance. I need to. I am driven.

Already doing heart rate training? Tell me about your experience. I am trying to trust the process but some days are harder than others.

Interested in heart rate training? Check out Matt Fitzgerald’s book and let me know what you think!* 

*I am an Amazon Associate. If you purchase the book through the above link I receive a small percentage.



Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Pace - Runs On Espresso · June 30, 2018 at 10:23 am

[…] some point, I decided to read 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald on heart rate training. I switched to heart rate training thinking my pace issue might be a heart […]

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