Running Triathlon

Is Heart Rate Training Effective?

A lot of athletes ask me whether heart rate training is effective. That’s hard to answer because it implies it’s an all or nothing way to train.

Sure, you can do all your training guided by a heart rate monitor, but training exclusively according to your heart rate has pros and cons and may not help you achieve the result you’re looking for.

From my perspective, you want to see a heart rate monitor for what it is—a tool you can use to help you train at the correct intensities, understand your body and its response to exercise.

Take the good and leave the bad.

Here’s how I recommend athletes use heart rate.

Outside Training And Racing

Monitor your resting heart rate or measure your heart rate variability every day. 

Significant changes in these numbers day to day reflect your level of fatigue. If your resting heart rate is high or your heart rate variability is suppressed, reduce your training load until you return to baseline.

That means training easier, or when fatigue is severe, taking a day or two off.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

During Training

Wear your heart rate monitor for all training sessions. If you have a strap, use it. Straps are more accurate and reliable than wrist-based monitors.

Use heart rate as your primary guide for low-intensity training – zones 1 and 2 – but use RPE, power or pace to guide high-intensity training – zones 3, 4 and 5.

Compare your heart rate over pace or power to track progress. A faster pace or higher power at the same heart rate or a lower heart rate at the same pace or power indicates that your fitness has improved.

Because heart rate has a lag and will drift over time, RPE, pace and power are better for guiding high-intensity sessions where output is the goal. For the same reason, heart rate is suitable for guiding low-intensity sessions because it helps balance stress (life and training) and ensures you don’t do too much.

During Racing

Wear a heart rate monitor when you race but don’t pay any attention to heart rate during short races. Just look at it afterwards to assess how your body responded to the effort you put forward. 

For longer races, heart rate, paired with pace and power, can help you execute an intelligent race by providing feedback to help you make decisions and adjust your effort.

Yes, heart rate training is effective, but you have to do it right.

Running Triathlon

How To Fuel Properly, With Andy Blow

Every Saturday, Coached hosts a group video call for our athletes. We share updates, celebrate results, and answer athlete questions. Now and then, we invite a guest with expertise in a specific area to join our call and educate our team.

Recently, we had Andy Blow join us. Andy is the founder of Precision Hydration and is a wealth of knowledge for all athletes who want to fuel training and racing optimally.

Andy and his team at PH have recently launched their new Precision Fuel range, so we focused on the energy side of fuelling in this call.

In this video, Andy shares…

  • His background and what he’s up to at Precision Hydration.
  • How Precision Fuel came about.
  • The concept of fuelling for exercise.
  • Precision Fuel. What products are in the range, and how they help.
  • How much carbohydrate your body can digest.
  • When to use the Drink mix rather than the gel.
  • Why Precision Fuel products only come in one flavour.
  • Other new products coming soon.

Further Resources

Precision Fuel Carb Calculator
How To Hydrate Properly

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.


You Don’t Have To Feel Good All The Time

I’m surprised by how often athletes I coach send me emails worrying that they felt bad in a session.

If you’re training a lot or working long hours, fatigue is a byproduct of that stress. It makes sense then that you may feel heavy or sluggish or tired from time to time.

Rather than let it worry you, it’s best to focus on the big picture and what you can control.

I learnt this a long time ago when many of the best sessions in my career were on days when I felt lousy.

I’ve since heard this several times from other professional athletes who have commented in post-race interviews that they were hitting their times despite feeling miserable and wanting to give up.

While it’s great to feel good in training and racing, it’s not always possible or a realistic expectation.

You don’t have to feel good all the time.

Rather than letting how you feel affect you, mentally or physically, it’s best to focus on the big picture and what you can control.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

You Don’t Have To Feel Good To Move Fast

Feelings don’t dictate outcomes. Just because you feel sh*tty doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll perform poorly.

If you get inside your head and start to dwell on the feeling, it’s much more likely your thoughts will negatively impact your performance than the feeling itself.

Focus On What You Can Control

You cannot directly control how you feel, but you can control things that affect your feelings.

When you feel bad, place your attention on your technique, pacing, breathing, and nutrition. These things all impact your ability to move efficiently and can ultimately help to change how you feel.

Move Your Attention

Switch your attention from feeling to doing. This change in mindset can significantly alter your state for the better and help you continue to move swiftly.

You’re no longer thinking about how you feel when concentrating on your cadence, posture, tactics or consuming calories. You’re taking productive steps to alter your state and your performance.

Remember, one-offs usually don’t matter much, and feelings don’t dictate outcomes. Focus on what you can control, and you’ll make the best of almost all situations – whether you’re feeling good or not.

Inside Coached

Coached Race 3.0 – The Results

Since Covid-19 put an end to races as we know them, we’ve been hosting small runs for our athletes. We hosted our last one back in February and the most recent edition last weekend.

Initially scheduled for early June, we had to shift the start back to abide by the recent government regulations.

Whenever a shift in date occurs, it’s a real bummer for the athletes and involves the right mental approach and changes to your training strategy.

For the most part, our athletes handled the setbacks well, and the results (shared below) were ok.

This edition of the race offered two distances – half marathon and marathon – and our athletes could run in-person in Singapore or virtually.

The in-person race had limited slots to align with government regulations, and athletes snapped them up within a few hours of launch. The remainder of our athletes ran virtually from Singapore, Malaysia, India, UK, and France.

The post-race prize-giving happened on our weekly Community Call via Zoom. During the call, we shared the results and awarded the prizes via a lucky draw kindly sponsored by our friends at Hydragun, Under Armour, Oakley, Koda, Karelle Laurent Nutrition and The Foot Practice.

The Results

Post-race, we asked our runners to answer a short survey to share their results and experience. I’ve plucked out some of the non-personal results, and here they are.

Here’s how the race went …


Not surprisingly, most of the runners chose to run a half marathon. We had a small number of motivated runners who tackled the marathon distance.


For most, this run was a chance to test their fitness and have some fun. Thirty per cent were treating this as an A-Race (most important race), and of those runners, over seventy-five per cent ran a personal best.


Considering the date changes and disruption to training that happened, as a result, I was pleasantly surprised by the results of our team. Overall, More than fifty per cent ran a personal best while a further fifteen per cent ran a season or Singapore best time.


For the most part, runners were satisfied with their results. In this case, on a scale of 1 = gutted to 5 = stoked, most of our runners were content with their performance.


Everyone wants to feel good on race day, but it’s not always possible, or needed, to run well. On a scale of 1 = terrible to 5 = fantastic, most of our runners felt pretty good throughout the race.

Race execution is a skill that helps you maximise your fitness on a given day and perform at your best. Because it’s a skill, it takes practice to master. We speak a lot about execution and encourage our athletes to execute with control. Overall, our runners did pretty well, but the pre-race meal still seems to be something that most need to work on.

What’s Next?

Until traditional races return or the government changes its rules, we’ll continue to host these races for our athletes.

If you’re keen to train and race with us, sign up for a 14-day free trial and see if we’re a good fit for you.