Heart Rate Training

I’ve been testing out heart-rate training for about a week now, and wanted to share some of my initial thoughts!

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I never really understood the point of heart-rate monitors until one of my favorite [sarcastic-as-hell] runners – Emily at Sweat Once a Day – blogged her new training goals last month. I’d heard some mumble jumble before, but hearing from an actual runner I could relate to really helped make it click. She’s done an excellent job of summarizing Metabolic Efficiency Training (MET) and Dr. Phil Maffetone’s 180 Formula – so click over to her blog post for more of the 101 playbook!

So why not give it a try? I snatched up a heart rate monitor last week. In my completely unprofessional, uninitiated opinion, I think we are on the cusp of something GREAT with heart rate monitors, so don’t invest just yet. Most of them have a clunky chest strap right now, while a couple of newer products are attempting optical sensors directly on your wrist. But the best companies for GPS and the best companies for heart rate monitors haven’t quite met in one device yet, and I think it’s no more than six-ish months away. So I went with the cheaper strap to go with my year-and-a-half old Garmin 210.

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Initial reaction is “MAN this is slow!” I need to run around a 10:30-11 minute/mile pace in order to keep my heart rate that low. A few of these runs have been so relaxing that it’s actually more fun, but sometimes it’s also an adjustment just to be gone for that long! (this morning’s run was at least 15 minutes longer than usual!) And interestingly enough, you might need to dress warmer, because you won’t be working up the same sweat!

I went out for 10 miles at a heart rate of 142 today (180 minus my age), and it was mostly wonderful! The fact that you’re literally slowing down time is balanced by the reduced focus on distance and pace numbers, so I found that the time was passing quickly! I gotta admit, at times I kinda wished I had a sign on my back to let everyone know why I was shuffling through town… but the more I ran, the more I settled in, and the easier my heart rate was – which I can already see would allow my pace to pick up.

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I also gotta admit that I haven’t even started reading Maffetone’s book yet, but I downloaded it to my Kindle and will start tonight! I also haven’t been worrying about heart rate on our Tuesday night run-club runs, cause I’d rather be out there with friends! Lastly, I do have the Philly Half Marathon next weekend which I intend to race. But all in all, this seems like perfect timing, with six months to go before my next 26.2!

Already, some great friends are sharing their successes back to me on social media and the blog! Even attributing heart rate training for their PRs and BQs! Keep ‘em coming! Have you had good results? I’d love to hear them as I push through these initial slow weeks!

Follow me on Strava for the gory details ;-)

Important to note: I know pace and heart rate is different for EVERYONE. Please don’t let my references to “slow” in this and other posts affect how you celebrate your own goals and accomplishments!!

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