Why using RPE over heart rate could be better for your training

Why using RPE over heart rate could be better for your training


Using Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) as a training tool for ultramarathons has several advantages over relying solely on heart rate monitoring. Here are a few reasons why using RPE can be better for your training:

  • Individualised Approach: RPE allows athletes to gauge their effort based on their personal perception of exertion. It takes into account the overall sensation of fatigue, breathing, muscle soreness, and other subjective factors, which can vary from person to person. Heart rate, on the other hand, is influenced by numerous factors like stress, heat, dehydration, and fatigue, which can affect its accuracy as a measure of effort for everyone.
  • Real-Time Feedback: RPE provides immediate feedback on your current effort level, enabling you to adjust your pace or intensity accordingly. It allows you to respond to changes in terrain, weather conditions, or how your body is feeling at that moment. Heart rate, on the other hand, responds more slowly to changes, and there may be a lag between exertion and heart rate elevation.
  • Environmental Factors: Ultramarathons often take place in challenging environments, such as mountainous terrain or extreme weather conditions. These factors can impact heart rate measurements due to increased stress or altered physiological responses. RPE allows athletes to adjust their effort based on the specific conditions they are facing, rather than relying solely on heart rate data that may be influenced by external factors.
  • Long Duration Events: Ultramarathons can last for many hours or even multiple days. During such prolonged efforts, heart rate can fluctuate and become less reliable due to factors like fatigue, dehydration, or electrolyte imbalances. RPE provides a more immediate and accurate sense of your perceived exertion, allowing you to regulate your effort levels throughout the entire race.
  • Mental Preparation: Ultramarathons require mental strength and resilience as much as physical fitness. RPE helps develop the ability to listen to your body and understand its signals, enhancing your mind-body connection. It allows you to make informed decisions about your pacing and effort, keeping you more engaged and focused on your performance.

While heart rate monitoring can still be valuable for certain training aspects and as a complementary tool, using RPE as a primary guide during ultramarathon training allows for a more intuitive, adaptive, and personalised approach to effort management.

reviews

Anna Collins
Anna Collins
12/01/2024
Awesome morning out with Escape trails running 16k through gorgeous Thetford Forest. Well planned route, lots of fun facts given by Neil along the way. Well paced, everyone stuck together. Very friendly group of participants. Lots of chat and laughter made the 16k going by in a blink of an eye. I had been drawn to the event because it was not a race but a social run promising not to leave anyone behind. It delivered on this promise.
Lisa Mason
Lisa Mason
01/12/2023
I did the Intro to Trail Running workshop with Escape trails. It was a really enjoyable day, with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. It was informative and fun and finished with a wonderful run through the forest putting what we'd learnt into practice.
Stuart Smith
Stuart Smith
01/11/2023
This was a great experience. My first 10Km in a very very long time. Everyone made me extremely welcome and calmed my nerves. I will be back on a regular basis to run in great surroundings with this guided group who didn’t leave me behind, thank you.
Vivienne Taylor
Vivienne Taylor
01/11/2023
29th October 10k run with Neil and Lin in Thetford Forest was brilliant. Well organised, relaxed with no time pressure a group of us ran in the autumn sunshine enjoying a varied trail of paths through the forest. A very friendly group with some first time 10k runners along with more experienced trail runners. I’ll be back for another run and will challenge myself to do the 16k next time. A great way to spend a Sunday morning. Thanks Escape Trails.
James Nightingale
James Nightingale
04/09/2023
Saffron H
Saffron H
16/07/2023
Myself and a friend ran the wroxham/Hoveton route. It was our first ever trail run and Neil and the other runners were so supportive and accommodating. We've already decided to book another in the near future.
Chelsea Forwood
Chelsea Forwood
03/04/2023
Really enjoyed taking part in a guided run, was taken on a lovely route with some interesting information given on stops along the route. Run was relaxed and inclusive of pace. Friendly run leaders. Definitely will go again.
Rob Blowers
Rob Blowers
08/01/2023
If you are thinking of booking and not sure it’s simple - just go for it! Neil and his team run excellent events and I’ve never left a single one without a big smile on my face. A great way to clear your mind from the real world, enjoy great company and learn from experienced coaches.
James Wright
James Wright
01/01/2023
Have done a few runs with ESCAPE trails now, the most recent being a fantastic headtorch run through the Norfolk countryside. Events are always fun, inclusive and great value.
Ros Blackmore
Ros Blackmore
29/12/2022
We did a 10k guided run in Thetford Forest on Christmas Eve, lovely friendly and well organised run, nice easy pace, no one got left behind. Loved it, and highly recommend 👌