Rating of Perceived Effort ( RPE )

Rating of Perceived Exertion RPE or just PE is a subjective evaluation by the athlete of just how hard they are exerting themselves. The Borg rating of perceived exertion is a scale ranging from 6 – 20 where 6 is no exertion at all and 20 is maximal exertion.


The table below show a modified Borg Scale. The modified scale is more practical from a training point of view and it’s the one we use. I have added in a Race effort and HR percentage of max for reference purposes. Race Effort is a maximum effort for the distance indicated.
Our ultimate goal is to run on Perceived Effort only.

RPERace Effort HR % of Max LTHR %Age
1Very light exertion. Sitting on a couch watching TV
2Light exertion. You can maintain this for hours. Talking is easy
3Light exertion. You can maintain this for hours. Talking is easy
4Moderate exertion. Breathing heavily, can hold a short conversationMAF60 – 69< 68
5Moderate exertion. Breathing heavily, can hold a short conversationUltra (70 km+)70 – 7769 – 83
6 Moderate exertion. Breathing heavily, can hold a short conversation Marathon78 – 8584 – 94
7Vigorous exertion. Borderline uncomfortable, breathing heavily. Can speak short sentencesHalf Marathon86-9295 – 105
8Vigorous exertion. Borderline uncomfortable, breathing heavily. Can speak short sentences5 km94> 106
9Very Hard exertion. Very difficult to maintain exercise intensity. Rapid breathing, can only speak 1 or 2 words at a time3 km96
10Max exertion. Almost impossible to talk. Can only maintain for a short while.400 m100

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