Sunday, February 6, 2011

Listen to Your Heart

Sorry to disappoint if you were hoping that this post was an analysis of the song by the British band Roxette (and no Ryan, they didn't play that at my prom). It's about a new tool that I'm using in my training - a heart rate monitor.

I've thought about using a heart rate monitor for awhile now - it's a great tool to help make sure that easy days are easy and measuring your fitness. In one of my all time favorite training posts from LetsRun by "Hadd" - he suggests measuring your fitness by running 5X2400m with 90 seconds rest. For the first 2400m you keep your heart rate to 140 beats per minute - each 2400m you increase your heart rate by 10 bpm until you are at 180 bpm for the last 2400m - timing how long it takes to run at each bpm level. You repeat this every three weeks to show how much faster you can run a given distance at a specific heart rate AND to get a feel for your lactate threshold.

What finally pushed me to buy a heart rate monitor was taking up cycling. I don't have the same feel for pace and effort level on a bike as I do running. The heart rate monitor keeps me honest especially when I'm on a spin bike indoors.

As for my training in general - I'm finally starting to feel like I have some momentum. I'm becoming more comfortable in the pool - I swam for a full hour on Saturday and I'm even getting the hang of breathing bilaterally. And today I got a bike - so, maybe I can use some of the spring-like weather this week to get on a bike that actually goes somewhere.


alyssa said...

Ben - I have a triathlon training book that goes by heart rate zones and stuff - if you are interested in it, email me your address and I'll mail it to you or something! If you don't email me your address I will just assume to send it to:

Bendra Ingram
1776 Confederate Army Lane
The Deep South, The Confederate

RM said...

Just keep in mind that HR on the bike and HR running are not always the same. The highest HR I've ever seen for myself on the bike is 165, and that effort feels like I'm going to explode. But running, that's lower than my LT.

So, if you run pretty easy at 130 or 140, just say, and you think that you should be at 130 or 140 on the bike on your easy days, it's not telling the complete story.

Knowing your numbers is really the only way to train effectively using HR. Otherwise it's just numbers and much easier to go on perceived effort!

And Alyssa, 1776 is a number significant to the entire US. You'd probably want 1861 or something closer to the Civil War!