Back to RPE………..


Monday night was another track run on heart rate for 70 min.  Yes it can be boring, but I am trying to train myself to stay focused on the run and what better way to do it than run around a track.

Anyway, I digress.  If you have read some of my previous posts you will know how passionate I am about heart rate training.  No, I really am!  At the moment, I use a Garmin Forerunner 225.  It has received some bad press with its optical heart rate technology and its ability to read pulse rate rather than heart rate.  I have never had a problem with it, until monday.  For some reason it decided to go a little haywire.  One second my HR was in the correct zone, the next it was screaming above 200, then the next it was way below 90.  Instead of cancelling the session, I decided to use RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) to see how I was getting on.  If you have never used RPE before it can be a handy little tool when technology lets you down.  Let me explain RPE a litte further.

The Rate of Percieved Excertion (RPE) was introduced by Gunnar Borg and is commonly know as the ‘Borg Scale’.  This scale was set around your heart rate and ranges from 6 (no excertion at all) to 20 (maximal exertion).  The heart rate comes in if you times the scale score by 10, therefore 6 would become 60 – an average HR for someone who is resting through to 200 for 20.  The problem with this is, if you are not sure of what your heart rate is, then scaling can be a little complex. So, up popped a modified version.

The modified version uses a slightly easier scale 0-10.  0 for nothing at all; 10 for maximum.  However, the scale is not used around heart rate, but breathing.  The scale is for how short of breath you are, also known as Perceived Dyspnea.  Using this scale will help you associate how fatigued you are by how short of breath you are.  If you use a heart rate monitor and combine it with how short of breath you are, it can be very easy to associate your breathing rate to your heart rate.

So, with the technology that is available these days, it is still ok to use non-technological methods to assess your training.  It is an easy to use way of monitoring your training levels without gadget support.  So the next time you are out training, try and use one of these methods to guage how hard you are working out.  If you combine these with your heart rate monitor, it will provide you with another tool to use if and when your gadget lets you down.

Have a fit and healthy day

Rob 🙂

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