Friday, July 6, 2012

Heart Rate Monitor Training

My coach, who also happens to be my wife, came up with the ridiculous notion that I shouldn't be completely thrashed after each run. I told her she was stupid (under my breath). I agreed (out loud) and continued thrashing myself for several months, culminating in my earth-shattering 4:13 marathon during which I felt pain in every cell of my body.
All those people behind me eventually passed me.

As the summer temperatures settled around 105 degrees (quite cool for Vegas in the summer) every day, I decided on some cross-training. At the same time, I began reading a book about this middle-aged guy (I'm turning 43 soon) who became this mega-runner/triathlon guy. I have no desire to become a mega-runner/triathlon guy, but I have a strange fascination with mega-runner/triathlon guys. I even have a picture of Dean Karnazes and Scott Jurek naked. (I really don't. I'm just trying to lure visitors to my site and I'm sure "naked picture of Dean Karnazes and Scott Jurek" are immensely popular Google search terms.)

As I was reading the book (an incredibly tantalizing book review is coming up (the guys name is Rich Roll (I'm not kidding))), he talked about how his endurance training began with using a heart rate monitor. Even though he was used to busting out 2-hour runs all out 3-4 times per week, his coach would make him run without allowing his heart rate to exceed 140 beats per minute. He protested because all he could do were 10-minute miles. Before long, however, he was able to run 7-minute miles with the same energy output.

I love gadgets.  I now own a heart rate monitor.

I've used it twice and its excruciatingly tough, tough to the tune of 11-minute miles. It's kind of nice though. I'm not thrashed like my wife/coach tells me I shouldn't be (which leaves energy for a little night-time exercise, if you know what I'm saying). I could run for hours in the heat at 142 bpm. I have another gadget and more numbers to fiddle with. Since I'm doing P90X 2, I can go all out on those workouts without worried about being too sore to complete my 11-minute mile runs (I'm giving it 60 days and if my efficiency doesn't improve, I'm ditching the new gadget).

At my next marathon, I'll be as happy as this 80-year-old who narrowly defeated me last time.


  1. My coach is also an advocate of HR training, and I too am frightened by how slow he'll allow me to go once I'm tested for what my ideal paces/HRs are. But what you say about the book you read makes me feel better! And anyway my stupid back wants me to go slow, too, so it's probably a good thing on all fronts. Maybe I'll be able to BQ by 42....

  2. I train with my Heart Rate all the time. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too reliant on my HR monitor, but I know it helps, and I'm glad to see you've joined the club. Funny post BTW.