How the Banister formula makes you a better runner

How the Banister formula makes you a better runner

Runners who want to know how strenuous their different training sessions are can use the Banister formula as a guide. But this only works if you know your so-called deflection range. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. It is easy to determine:

Easy-to-use formula

In the English-speaking world, Eric Banister (1933 – 2010) is a true legend. The British-Canadian performance physiologist spent his life studying the most diverse forms of training. Many athletes still train according to his guidelines today. The Banister formula named after him made him famous. With this formula, training loads can be better classified.

Learning to better assess the training load

First of all: Determining the deflection range is only worthwhile for athletes who have been training regularly and ambitiously for a long time. The deflection range is the difference between resting pulse and maximum pulse. If you multiply this value by the duration of the effort, you get the relative effort value of the respective training run.

How the Banister formula works

The easiest way to explain this is with an example: Your resting heart rate is 50 beats per minute, and your maximum heart rate is 195 beats. You complete an 80-minute run with a training pulse of 138. The calculation then looks like this:

80 min x (138 – 50) / (195 – 50) = 48, 5

For comparison, you complete a 45-minute tempo endurance run with a training pulse of 168. The calculation for this run then looks like this:

45 min x (168 -50) / (195 – 50) = 36, 6

It may surprise some. But according to the Banister formula, the relaxed endurance run was more stressful for the body than the tempo endurance run.

How to determine your maximum heart rate

Determining your resting heart rate is not difficult. It is best to take it in the morning immediately after waking up. To be able to work with the Banister formula, you also need your maximum pulse. Determining this is a little more complicated. The best method is a sports medical performance diagnosis. If you want to define it yourself, you have to go to your physical limits. The best way is hard interval training. Tip: Find a training partner to help you.

  • You warm-up for 20 minutes and then do three three-minute runs at the fastest speed you can.
  • Take a one-minute break between runs. Then, immediately after each three-minute run, take your pulse.
  • The highest of the three values is then your maximum pulse. Of course, it goes without saying that such a test should only be carried out if you are in good health and fitness.
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