It may look like I'm going slow but I'm just getting started.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heart Rate Training

OK I am back from my "rest week." I had every intention of working out at least three times last week but I suffered a little on the follow through. I ran once. And it was hard. I just wanted to take a nap. And then I took my kids to a local fun run/walk and it was hard (for different reasons) and again I wanted to nap. So nap training went well. But now I'm back on my training plan (that keeps changing). I think I am signing up for another sprint towards the end of May so I have to at least make some effort to continue swimming. I'm also getting a little coaching with that. Let's cross our fingers. The May sprint is bike heavy (15 miles) so I should probably ride some too. And then I think I'm free from triathlon aspirations until possibly September. I will let you in on a little secret. Won't really be a secret after I post it for anyone to see. But I have little faith in the existence of readers for this blog so I might as well be telling it to the dog. Because he's a good listener. OK, enough. I am thinking, thinking, thinking about doing the PF Chang's Marathon in January. Does it matter that I can only run less than 3 miles? No, because I have 40 weeks and my best friend Hal Higdon. I am going to do his "spring training" plan first to prepare. It actually only lasts for 12 weeks but I'm going to stretch that out to 22. You run 4 days a week, as opposed to my current 3 (ahem 1-2) and start with smaller times. I was almost giddy at the thought of only running a mile and a half today. Imagine me being giddy at the prospect of physical exertion (never mind that the primary reason was my happiness at not having to go farther). Which brings us to the point of this post - heart rate training.

If you read any books about triathlon (and probably running, biking and swimming alone) you'll notice a huge emphasis on training in your aerobic zone. This kind of makes it necessary to use a heart rate monitor. I have a Garmin with a heart rate monitor but I remember not liking it very much the first time I used it. I had been using Polar until that point and I really liked the accuracy of the Polar. But I refuse to wear two gadgets on my wrist. So today I sucked it up and wore the Garmin. It seemed to be pretty consistent so I'll begrudgingly give it a second chance. But here's the issue. I'm pretty sure my heart rate is way faster than the recommended zones allow. I don't mean I'm working harder than I should. I mean my heart rate is just way high (and yes, that is a technical/medical diagnosis). Some of you may remember (probably not) my visit to the cardiologist, which was prompted by just this issue. You see, I started wearing a heart rate monitor during running and instantly scared the bejeezus out of myself when my heart rate was in the 180s. But I didn't feel winded or like I was pushing too much. So I never would have known had I not had the Polar. But I went to get it checked out anyway. You know, so I wouldn't just keel over one day. And the cardiologist pronounced me healthy. Yeah. So my conundrum (50 point word for the day) is how to adjust my heart rate zones for my higher heart rate. And don't tell me to slow down. Because "running" at 13 minute miles is not really feasible. I can do 12 minute miles. But my heart rate is in the 170s. If anyone has any really great advice please let me know. And by anyone, I mean me. Or possibly my mother or the couple of friends who read this.

And if you're interested in your "zones" you can use the Maffetone method where you subtract your age from 180. This supposedly gives you your max aerobic heart rate, which is laughable because mine is 142. You can also use the 220 minus your age and multiply by the percentages for your aerobic and anaerobic zones. But you'll have to look that one up because I'm too lazy to find the specifics. So much for helpful fitness blog.

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