Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Running with an HR monitor, Day 1

Yesterday, Katie text to tell me that my heart rate monitor had arrived in the mail.  When I finally got home I was so excited to open it!  Fortunately, the set up was super easy and I was able to use it this morning for my 5 mile "recovery/Zone 1" run as prescribed in my fitness evaluation.

I ordered the Polar Wearlink+ transmitter that works with my Nike+ sportband, in order to save me the headache and cost of purchasing another apparatus to wear while I run.  As stated in an earlier post, there are a few things that i find deficient with my sportband.  One of which is the inability to see the display in the pre-dawn hours in which I run.  I was very leery of this going into the run.

I was also nervous about the pace of my workout.  I was scheduled to run in Zone 1, which for me is between 129 and 139 heartbeats per minute.  I wondered what kind of pace this would work out to be.  How I would feel if it was a slower pace?  What if this pace felt comfortable, how would workouts in higher zones feel?  As you can see, I was somewhat nervous and had a few things to obsess about during the run.

As I got started, I immediately toggled my sportband to read my heart rate constantly.  In the first few hundred feet I realized that there are more than enough streetlights for me to get a consistent gauge on my heart rate.  I know this because I looked at my heart rate under each light, which must have been 2000 times in the first mile.  My excuse for earlier complaining about not being able to read the display is based on the fact that there are not any streetlights where I want them, only where the city sees fit to put them.  I also realized the pace was pretty slow.  Which wasn't too bad until I started going uphill and had to almost walk to keep my HR in the right zone.  I slipped over the threshold a couple of times, but I averaged 136 beats per minute, right in the "heart" of the zone (pun completely intended).

Two things that I noticed/bother me:
1.  There is a .75 mile stretch between miles 3 and 4 where it is nearly impossible to see the sportband display because there are no streetlights.  This again was concerning, but I feel like it helped me listen to my body more closely.  I had gotten comfortable with how my body felt in the first 3 miles, and tried to stay in that "feeling" while I could not see the display.  The whole process is not too difficult, since that stretch is probably the flattest terrain that I run on.

2.  The Nike+ sportband SUCKS!!! for tracking a run at a slower pace.  I ran a measured (many times over) 5.06 miles and the sportband logged less than 3.5 miles.  I completely understand that the sensor is measuring things like stride length, blah, blah, blah, and all of those things change when I run at a slower pace but it is extremely frustrating to lose miles that I know I have run.  I also know that I am supposed to be able to calibrate my sportband.  However, I cannot change a run until it has already been downloaded which is then too late to change it on the web page.  Then the next run is at a different pace and I have to do it all over again.  This whole thing seems complicated and some further investigation is certainly necessary, but I find it very frustrating nonetheless.  On the other hand, I am going to try and not let it get to me too much.  While I have some goals for miles run and such, the real goal is to get in better shape, lose some weight, and improve my overall health.  The HR work is more important to that end, so that is what I will focus on.

We will have to see how Thursday's Zone 3/4 workout goes! 

1 comment:

  1. A new term in our life....zones! I'm ready for it! A new adventure on this journey to get fit and stay healthy. You are doing it, Brian! And I'm so proud!