Heart Rate Monitor Nerdiness


I’m beginning the path of becoming a major running nerd with my new Garmin Forerunner 210! I have done several runs with the heart rate monitor already, and I hope to use it to my advantage while training for the Army Half.

Using the basic (albeit slightly unreliable) calculation, my maximum heart rate or MHR should be 220-33 (my age) = 187.  Yesterday, after two miles, I did a real time heart rate test. I ran a quarter mile pushing myself to my max – and got a whopping reading of 197. According to some articles, that method apparently doesn’t provide accurate results either – from what I gather, I should have done a second quarter mile at my max, and taken a second reading before I was finished. I’ll be honest, that was probably the hardest I’ve ever run in my life, and I think I almost exploded. Had I done a second quarter mile I would have puked, no question. I think I’m going to be satisfied with the reading of 197,  since I don’t really want to train on my hard days at 90% of anything higher…LOL!

Now I have the tool, but how to use it properly? I understand the difference between aerobic and anaerobic runs, but while diversifying your running schedule with speed, tempo, hills, intervals, and long runs, where should your heart rate be? I went to Twitter for some answers and got a great bit of advice from Marty at Last Mile Fastest. According to a paper he shared with me by Dr. Phil Maffetone, using “The 180 Formula” I should be training in the 137-147 range for best aerobic results. From what I’ve recorded over the past two weeks, I haven’t trained in that low of a zone ONCE!

Training exclusively aerobically for a few weeks is key to building a great aerobic base. I’ll take Marty’s advice to build a 2-3 week base of aerobic training without any anaerobic work, which means I’ll be running MUCH slower than I’m used to (and probably walking too). It will be interesting to see how it affects my pace and perceived effort level later in training, since I have a huge time goal I hope to crush! This will also give me a good chance to revisit “beginner’s mind” and work on my ChiRunning form.


About Fjola Melody

Yogi, DJ, runner, cat lover, coffee drinker! Oh ya and the occasional beer. Life is good!

Posted on July 4, 2013, in Running Journal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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