At the end of last year, when I started getting ‘serious’ about running, I decided it was time to invest in a heart rate monitor.
I remembered that when I was in my twenties my heart rate would regularly peak at around 200 beats per minute in the gym (which was alarming, but never seemed to do me any harm) … but I am not in my twenties any more (sssh, don’t tell anyone). That, combined with a barrage of tweets about not ‘over-training’, brought me to the conclusion that I need a HRM.
Fortuitously (for me) a large supermarket chain realised at about that time that stocking the Polar FT4 HRM in pink somewhat limited their market and I grabbed myself a bargain!
Before setting off with my trusty new gadget, I dutifully took my resting heart rate first thing in the morning for a couple of mornings in a row, then calculated my target heart rate based on this, together with my age.
Armed with the information that I should start fat burning at 131 beats per minute and am at my maximum cardio zone at 157 beats per minute, off I went, sporting my candy pink watch.
I learnt three things on that first run:
- If I run at the required speed to keep my heart rate down to 160 beats per minute, mobility scooters can easily overtake me (I live in Eastbourne, so yes, this is a common occurrence)
- Running at a slower speed makes me feel like I can just keep going for miles and miles
- Keeping my heart rate below 170 beats per minute means I am able to keep my mouth shut and breathe through my nose (as opposed to my usual mouth wide open, gasping for breath method).
Now, there is no doubt that the first one is not cool, but I am pleased to say that since this first outing, my pace and fitness have improved greatly and I am no longer passed by octogenarians on their way to bingo, even when running at a pace to keep my heart rate down.
The second one is great – it gives you a feeling of being strong and powerful (even if it’s just an illusion that dissipates like morning mist as soon as you hit the first hill).
But the third one is the real winner, as any outdoor runner will understand all too well: the risk of swallowing a fly, or a dirty great mosquito, whilst travelling at speed and gasping for breath with your mouth wide open is all too high!
So no more catching flies for me…..
(… until the next parkrun or race, that is ….)