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Hi Joe, I've seen many coaching articles that share the same sentiment regarding HR during a race. Many coaches advise not even wearing a HR monitor during races. But in my experiences I've seen an uncanny relationship between HR readings and performance.

I'm 60, and confess I'm a HR monitor junky. Over the past decade, I've worn a HR monitor on nearly every training run and race, and compulsively observed the trends. It helps me make sure my easy paces stay easy, and my LT runs are on target. During races I do observe my HR, but I run by perceived effort. I don't let my HR dictate pace, but surely if it's 10bpm higher than normal, it won't be long before I'm forced to slow down.

During races of similar distance, I will generally see similar HR profiles and peaks from one race to the next, within 5bpm or so. I've even done experiments where I deliberately didn't look at the HR monitor until after completing the race. These experiments produced similar HR numbers.

During hot, early season races here in Florida, my times will be slower, but the HR profile stays pretty much the same.

For example, in 5k I will typically see a HR of 165-170 during the last half of the race, with a peak of 170-175 or so in the finish chute (near my HRmax). These numbers are down about 10bpm from a decade ago, but still follow the same profile.

Like the triathlete who raised the question, I have had the occasional race where I simply could not get my HR up to normal performance levels. Those have all ended up being poor performances. I have *never* run a good race on a dramatically lower than normal performance HR.

I've always attributed the the inability to get my HR to expected levels during a race to being stale from over-racing or over-training, an as yet unrealized illness coming on, or just having an off day.

I may be sort of a lone wolf, but I've found racing HR and performance to be very closely related.

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