I followed the advice in this book and it has made a huge difference to my running (6 mins off 10k time in about 8 months)
It is difficult at first. You feel like you are shuffling along and barely moving, and as soon as you get to a slight incline your HR shoots up and you have to walk!
However, I found that by sticking to the sub 70% rate, I quickly improved to the extent that I can now run reasonably briskly at a HR of 60%. The downside is that the 'hard' sessions (80% or higher) become more and more difficult to acheive. At the start, running with 90% HR was pretty easy!
+1 on what Colin said above.
I have basically been training this way since 2006. You do get a very good return for "easy" running.
I'm so lazy now that I do most of my runs at 60% WHR!
You're not alone in encountering this issue, but I would add a couple of caveats.
My 70% whr is 137. I found that doing lots and lots of very slow running led to repetitive strain injuries. It also over time led to hr drift. My suggestion is once a week to do something more energetic, to "reset" the body, so to speak, like rebooting the computer. I found that the 70% run the day after one of these sessions was at a faster pace than before and the repetitive strain niggles went away.
Also, we're now heading into the warmer weather and the body's increased need to cool itself means it works a bit harder and that might mask any gains in the meantime. Put in the mileage in summer and the results will be seen in autumn.
As for keeping the hr steady, I found that near-impossible due to gradients etc. I go by the average hr for a run.
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