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Heart Rate Training and Racing with Larisa Dannis

By October 3, 2019May 20th, 2023One Comment
Larisa Dannis running trails

Larisa Dannis (Strava | IG) is a very strong runner from New Hampshire. She has ran a 2:44 marathon, a 5:59 50 mile race and she has won several ultra marathons. She knows a tremendous amount about heart rate training, trail running and road running, so that always excited me.   

Larisa was never very active as a kid. When she started her first job, she wasn’t moving much at all and her weight started to creep up. She knew she had to do something to improve her fitness and through hiking she got into trail running and road running.   

In 2012 Larisa discovered MAF low heart rate training and this changed her entire approach to training and racing. She is extremely knowledgable about heart rate training and listening to her body. She shares a lot of honest insights about her journey to improve as an athlete.   

We discuss many topics, such as:

  • How Larisa started adding speedwork to further improve her race times
  • Larisa’s heart rate strategy for different types of races
  • Recommendations for other runners looking to improve 

What was your favorite quote or takeaway from this episode? I would love to hear from you in the comments on YouTube.

Watch this full interview on YouTube.

Listen to the conversation on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastStitcher or your other favorite podcast platform.

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Links and tools mentioned:

Show notes:

  • Background of Larisa Dannis and her transition from hiking into trail running [3:30]
  • Her first road marathon with MAF training at 3:07 [7:00]
  • Larisa’s first experience with MAF low heart rate training [7:55]
  • Mental frustrations when starting out with MAF  [10:00]
  • Larisa didn’t do any high intensity runs for 2 years when starting with with low heart rate training [12:20]
  • How Larisa started adding speedwork to further improve her race times [13:15]
  • Larisa’s heart rate strategy for different types of races [14:50]
  • Floris’s heart rate strategy in marathons [18:00]
  • How Larisa figures out the HR she can maintain for longer distances and races [19:40]
  • Larisa’s experience with blowing up in a race, pushing her heart rate much too high [21:30]
  • She finds chest heart rate straps more active [22:20] 
  • 2 tips to improve accuracy with heart rate training [23:10]
  • Using trial and error to figure out race HR’s, marathon HR 160 to 165, 50 mile HR 145 to 155, 100 mile HR 130’s [24:35]
  • How Larisa changes her training in New Hampshire long winter snow conditions [27:25]
  • The importance of focusing on strength training [29:10]
  • Larisa’s strength training 5 x 5 approach with squass, deadlift, row, bench press and overhead press 5 sets of 5 reps [31:20]
  • The injuries she has experienced [34:10]
  • Larisa’s dogs are her training partners 95% of the time [37:20]
  • The importance of prioritizing recovery and what she does to limit the risks of injuries [39:00]
  • How her body changed over the years [42:25]
  • Larisa sleeps 8 to 10 hours a night [43:45]
  • What she learned about nutrition over time, keeping it simple and listening to her body [44:50]
  • Recommendations for runners looking to improve [47:45]
  • Running gear Larissa Dannis uses [51:00]
  • Her goal of going back to Western States [54:40]

You can find me, Floris Gierman, here: 



One Comment

  • Csaba Burillak says:

    Thank you for the new video, Floris!
    The key takeaway for me was to go after your instincts, to do what you enjoy, even within running. If you like better trails, then do more trail or mountain runs, if you want some speed, go on the road.
    On the other hand, listening to your body is really an overused expression but it’s still so true. And this is where a good coach who understand you well comes very handy. He/she can give you the objectivity to adjust your training schedule better to your needs based on how you feel and act.

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