Thursday, January 17, 2013

Heart Rate Training

As you know, I am training for my half marathon.  I am now into my 6th week.  For Christmas, the Mister got me a heart rate monitor upon my request.  It is quite the nifty device.  You strap it around your chest and then link it to your iphone via an app.  I use the Polar Beat app, since it is a Polar H7 strap heart rate monitor.  Then it tracks your heart rate through whatever activity you choose.  They provide training apps, or you enter in the activity you are performing. 

I do most of my running, okay 99.9% of my running, on the treadmill.  It is tough to get outside with the 2 kids, plus I am not a big run-on-the-road kind of gal.  The main road by me has a 45 mph speed limit and little burm.  Not for me!  I would do parks or trails, but it is dark at 4:30pm right now.  So until further notice, I am on the treadmill nearly everyday at 12Noon, Mini-Me's naptime. 

I am getting sidetracked though...  I thought I should train with a monitor since I won't really be experiencing road changes, elevations, etc.  I need to prepare my body to perform regardless of the conditions.  As it turns out, this monitor training is tougher than I expected.  It is challenging because I have had to slow down.  The words no runner ever wants to hear.  Seriously, no one goes out and plans to run less time or distance than yesterday unless they are following a training schedule. 

Thankfully, I have found some great resources.  I have been assured that I will once again run at a faster pace, starting slower than you were going is normal. When you train your heart muscle, your goal should be to keep the heart rate at 70-80% of your maximum.  That maximum is based on your age mostly.  Mine runs around 185 bpm, max.

The good news is that I have seen the training working already.  One night, I was to keep at 70-80% and was practically crawling, in my book.  The next day, I was able to up the speed by 2/10s mph and still stay in the correct heart rate range.  Then I also had sprints to do.  I had to increase the speed of each sprint to get my heart rate into the 70-80% range!  Pretty soon, I was back where I started.  Then last night, I did a low heart rate run (60-70%), and was at the same speed that increased my heart rate just 2 nights before.  Fascinating stuff, I have to tell you :).

Footnote - I tried to follow this for my outdoor run on Sunday.  It was supposed to be 2 hrs at moderate.  I just couldn't!  I was near walking and I really wanted to see how far I could run, plus I NEVER get outside. After 30 minutes, I said screw it :), and picked up the pace. Then when I hit 2 hours, I was already over 10 miles. So I thought, why not do 3 more :). 13.1 for the first time ever 2 hrs 32min.  Average HR was 159, so more like 85%.  Excuse the time on the screen shot - mist on screen kept restarting the clock LOL.


  1. Great job on the half! Sounds like you're doing good with the heart rate training.

  2. AMAZING!!! I need to start my half training... I have been sick and busy lately and havent run regularly since Christmas, but plan to start slow... I have a polar and wear it while running, but never heard of heart rate training?!?!

    My max heart rate according to my age is 193... BUT when I run I am at 170 and get to 180185 near the end of my runs or higher... I am pretty sure I would be walking to keep 154 bpm or less...

    1. The days I truly follow it are painful sometimes :). But I do see the speed increasing although the heart rate is not.

  3. Rock it girl!! I'm a dreadmill runner shame!! haha :) keep it up!!


Thanks for leaving a comment! Look forward to more :) ~ Susan