Perceived rate of exertion

The Borg Scale is a simple method of rating perceived exertion (RPE) and can be used to gauge an athlete’s level of intensity in training and competition.

Types of scales

There are a number of RPE scales but the most common are the 15 point scale (6-20), and the 9 point scale (1-10).

15 Point Scale

  • 6 – 20% effort
  • 7 – 30% effort – Very, very light (Rest)
  • 8 – 40% effort
  • 9 – 50% effort – Very light – gentle walking
  • 10 – 55% effort
  • 11 – 60% effort – Fairly light
  • 12 – 65% effort
  • 13 – 70% effort – Somewhat hard – steady pace
  • 14 – 75% effort
  • 15 – 80% effort – Hard
  • 16 – 85% effort
  • 17 – 90% effort – Very hard
  • 18 – 95% effort
  • 19 – 100% effort – Very, very hard
  • 20 – Exhaustion

10 Point Scale

  • 0 – Nothing at all
  • 1 – Very light
  • 2 – Fairly light
  • 3 – Moderate
  • 4 – Some what hard
  • 5 – Hard
  • 6
  • 7 – Very hard
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10 – Very, very hard

 

Heart rate training zones are calculated by taking into consideration your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) and your Resting Heart Rate (RHR). Within each training zone, subtle physiological effects take place to enhance your fitness.

The Energy Efficient or Recovery Zone – 60% to 70%

Training within this zone develops basic endurance and aerobic capacity. All easy recovery running should be completed at a maximum of 70%. Another advantage to running in this zone is that while you are happily fat burning you may lose weight and you will be allowing your muscles to re-energise with glycogen, which has been expended during those faster paced workouts.

The Aerobic Zone – 70% to 80%

Training in this zone will develop your cardiovascular system. The body’s ability to transport oxygen to, and carbon dioxide away from, the working muscles can be developed and improved. As you become fitter and stronger from training in this zone it will be possible to run some of your long weekend runs at up to 75%, so getting the benefits of some fat burning and improved aerobic capacity.

The Anaerobic Zone – 80% to 90%

Training in this zone will develop your lactic acid system. In this zone, your individual anaerobic threshold (AT) is found – sometimes referred to the point of deflection (POD). During these heart rates, the amount of fat being utilised as the main source of energy is greatly reduced and glycogen stored in the muscle is predominantly used. One of the by-products of burning this glycogen is lactic acid. There is a point at which the body can no longer remove the lactic acid from the working muscles quickly enough. This is your anaerobic threshold (AT). Through the correct training, it is possible to delay the AT by being able to increase your ability to deal with the lactic acid for a longer period of time or by pushing the AT higher.

The Red Line Zone 90% to 100%

Training in this zone will only be possible for short periods. It effectively trains your fast twitch muscle fibres and helps to develop speed. This zone is reserved for interval running and only the very fit are able to train effectively within this zone.

Recovery runs

Clears waste products from the muscles and helps legs recover from hard effort and prepares you for the next day of more demanding training.

  • Easy pace – 20 to 40 minutes generally
  • Pick length to fit training programme
  • Effort 5/10 – enjoy it.

The recovery run is designed to allow you to recover from the hard effort of the long run while preparing your body for more demanding training the following day. Since it is meant to be a recovery run, the effort involved should only be 5/10, or the kind of pace where you are able to enjoy running without feeling tired.

To ensure that this easy paced running does not tire you out, you should only run for 20-40 minutes: the length of time depends on how far into your training schedule you are.