I'm more or less a newbie when it comes to races, but I train very systematically and I'm well educated on exercise physiology. I'm in need of some experienced guidance when it comes to interpreting heart rate data during a race.
I've done three races in the last year (10K, 15K and 21K) and in all of them I've had a similar experience. During my warmup, my HR is way higher than logical for my pace. That makes sense of course, because I'm super nervous.
My question then, is this: Does my HR:PACE ratio during the race stay similar to how it is during training, or is the HR slightly elevated during the race too, because of the excitement?
I've kind of assumed that it would be a bit higher, and thus concluded that when my Garmin says that I'm at 90% of max HR, I'm probably around my lactate threshold - which I think normally (during training) should be around the 86 - 87% of max HR mark for me.
In other words, I'm assuming that even though my HR is at 90% of max in the race, that's just my heart working harder due ti excessive sympathetic stimulus in the heat of the moment, but as a percentage of V02max, I'm working at a level that would ellicit 86-87% of max during training.
What are your thoughts on this? Is this the case? Am I onto something?
PS! After yesterdays race (half marathon debut on a hilly course - 1:46) I've actually come to think all this might not be the case after all, since running at 90% of max for the first half led me to drastically slow down during the second half, leading me to suspect it was indeed at close to 90%, thus above Lactate Threshold and therefore burning me out too early.