Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Heart Rate Monitor, a step backward?

Okay, I'm starting to get into this running stuff a little too much I guess. Reading some different information, and checking my heart rate on some treadmills I've been using working out in hotels when I'm on the road made me decide to go out and get a heart rate monitor to help me make my running more effective. I was really surprised to find out the results.

According to all the charts at my age I should have a 177 max heart rate, but I've managed to get a 187 recorded after doing some sprints immediately following a 6 mile jog so I'm going with the 187 as my max heart rate. To keep it in the aerobic zone I need to be between 131 (70%) and 150 (80%). Anything over that is the anaerobic zone and if you want to build endurance you are supposed to only go there if you are doing interval training and stuff like that. Otherwise most of the stuff I've read said to focus almost all of your running in the aerobic zone.

I had built up to where I felt like a 10:00 pace was a cake walk. My last big run before the heart rate monitor I ran in and out of the canyon 8.38 miles at a 9:56 pace and felt great. I even ran a 6 mile run on flat ground in an 8:56 pace and felt good. Now that I have a heart rate monitor it is telling me that I can't run anything over about 11:10 pace on flat ground without getting my heart rate in the anerobic zone. I ran my first long run yesterday with the heart rate monitor and jogged/shuffled along at a snails pace to keep my heart rate under 150. Going up the hills I had to switch to a brisk walk because I couldn't run at all and keep my heart rate under 150. Ended up going 10.2 miles with an average heart rate of 147bpm, but my pace was a whopping 11:32 overall!
I was pretty surprised at how quickly my heart rate responded to different paces and especially elevation gains. Even just a slight rise could bring my heart rate up and running down the hills I should have run even faster than I did because my heart rate dropped really fast even though I picked up the pace to 10:30ish going down the hills.

What I'm really hoping is that this won't take very long before I can at least get back to a 10:00 pace with my heart rate under 150. Some stuff I'm reading says that you can shave time off pretty quickly and other stuff says it takes years. I'm a sucker for gizmos and think it is really neat, but was surprised to find that even at my snails pace back when I was running 10:00 miles I was working out too hard according to the heart rate zones.

I'm going to stick with the heart rate training for at least a month or two and hopefully I'll start seeing results and end up with a healthier heart too.

That's it for now.  Nathan