Saturday, January 7, 2012

listening to my heart

I got my heart rate monitor in the mail earlier this week. The Omron HR-100C has a stopwatch, backlight, settable target zones, and a zone alarm and that's pretty much it! It cost me ~$35 on and is probably one of the most basic models out there. I know some folks whose heart rate monitors save recorded values through entire workouts and can shoot out beautiful graphs and interesting data to be used for optimizing one's training routine or approach to a given workout. I could get really geeked out on something like that, but I chose to go simple. Mostly because I had just put a massive order in at and knew it would be unwise to spend another $569.95 on something really cool.

I wore my heart rate monitor to the gym on Wednesday. I ran 2 miles at right around an 8:30 min/mi pace (I don't have my workout calendar handy for the specifics) and I think my heart rate was up in the 170s. That sounds high to me, but I felt really good and could have definitely kept going if I wasn't already late for spin class. In spin, my heart rate stayed 130-150 and might have shot up a bit during sprints. I felt GREAT in that workout (the class I blogged about in the previous entry) and mostly breathed through my nose- a good indication that I wasn't working too terribly hard.

My friend Sam recommended that I use my heart rate monitor to measure my resting heart rate by wearing it to bed and taking a quick reading when I wake up in the morning. I tried to do that, but I'm a tosser and a turner and the thing was so darn uncomfortable, it would wake me up several times through the night. I would take a reading before I ditched it and went back to sleep. Having done that for a few nights, I think it's a safe bet to say that my resting heart rate is 55 bpm.

Maximum heart rate is a more finicky chicken to pluck. I used this MHR calculator to estimate that my maximum heart rate is 197bpm. There are a few age/gender based equations out there, but the gold standard, supposedly, is a clinical stress test. This Runner's World article describes a DIY method of calculating your max heart rate while running a track workout. I want to do this at some point because my estimated MHR seems kind of low to me... I will regularly end a tough treadmill workout at 185bpm (as measured by the sensors on the treadmill handle bars) and that would put me in the 90%-100% maximal zone which is potentially dangerous to heart health. Either my estimated MHR is off or I'm working way beyond what is safe for my poor ticker. Hmmm...

In other news, tomorrow is the BankTrust First Light Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. I will be running the 1/2M with some friends and then spending the rest of the day eating bagels and pizza to "restore my carb reserves". In the handful of races that I've done, I have always had two goals- one goal would be the one that I share with people who ask, the other goal would be my REAL goal which I would keep to myself. The goal that I share with people is a finishing time that I am positive I will make. The goal that I keep a secret is what I consider the ultimate, best-case scenario and it's so lofty that I am embarrassed to even speak it out loud to someone else. The lame thing about this blog is that no one reads it. The AWESOME thing about this blog is that... no one reads it. So here is my real, secret, lofty goal for the First Light 1/2M: I want to finish in under two hours.

So what do you think about that?

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