Working The Heart

So this weekend I bought my first heart rate monitor, the Timex Zone Trainer. Amazing how cheap these are now! The model I got is pretty basic, just like I wanted. I don't have the desire to download extensive charts onto my computer, I just want to know that I'm training in the right zone for the right day. With this model, all you need to do is plug in your maximum heart rate and the watch will set up 5 training zones for you, based on percentage of maximum heart rate. The ones that I am most concerned about are Zone 2 which is 60-70% of max (this is where you should do the bulk of your mileage) and Zone 4 (80-90% for tempo runs -- closer to 90% for the standard 20:00 tempo). The watch also comes with a stopwatch that can get up to 27 splits, more than enough for the workouts I do.

Today I did a session of hill repeats in order to pinpoint my max HR. There are a couple of standard formulas (220 - your age and 208 - .7 x age). According to those my maximum heart rate would either be 173 or 175. During my hill repeats today my max was 173, which is a little unusual to be so close to formulas. Some people can be off by as much as 10bpm. Obviously I'll adjust if in a future workout or race I top 173 but right now I have a very good idea of what to aim for in my workouts.

As this is my first update since my Seattle report, I had a godo week of training post race. Just over 40 easy miles in 5 workouts. This week I'm off to a good start with an easy 5 on Sunday to test the monitor and a tough hill workout to establish my current max.

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