Marathon Training Week 6 – The Heart Monitor Experience Or Hey Man Slow Down

[EDIT:  this may come across as a bit whiny but I’m trying to be cautious with regards to my training program and also on expectations that I’m putting on myself.  It’s a day in the life.]

I’ve owned a heart monitor for my Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS watch since I bought it a few months ago and I finally tried it out this week.

[Special note:  it’s a really good idea to make sure the actual monitor is attached to the strap that goes around your chest, you will save yourself some time and frustration.  At least that’s what I’ve heard…  wink, wink]

I’ve been feeling more tired than normal lately.  I’m running more than I have in the past, so I’m sure some of this feeling is to be expected, but it’s been becoming more noticeable.  Also, although I don’t check my resting heart rate very often, it did seem to be a bit faster the few times that I did check it recently.  Based on some other discussions, I began wondering if I was running too fast in some of my training runs.

From what I can tell, unless I’m specifically trying to train for speed improvement (not really recommended for someone of my current experience level and fitness when training for the first marathon), I should aim for an average heart rate of 131 bpm or even a bit less.  But it seems like it’s been higher than that, although I couldn’t really be sure.  So today’s heart monitor test was a good way to figure out what was going on.

Even running more slowly than normal during my marathon training to date, my heart rate was at least 135 most of the time and if I picked the pace up to be more than 10 miles/minute it was well over 140 bpm.

Honestly, I don’t know if this is a problem or not.  I really don’t think I have any cardiovascular problems based on recent bloodwork.  However, I’m probably still 30 – 40 lbs. overweight (and this is significantly better compared to this time last year), so logic would dictate that it’s going to take some extra effort to move that extra weight…

Having said that, I’m going to run slower, perhaps change my planned marathon finish time to be at least 15 minutes later, and see how that works for a few weeks.  It’s kind of frustrating because it feels like I’m sliding backwards instead of getting better AND my runs will take longer to finish, which is a scheduling concern.  But if training too fast isn’t going to lead to the right improvements for a 26.2 mile race, then it’s better to change and see if that’s better.

So… hurray for the heart monitor (?)

EDIT:  Anyone got any advice or suggestions about heart rate monitoring and optimal zones for marathon training?

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About markdykeman

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