Listen to Your Heart

Now that you’ll have that song in your head for a week…

Will and I have a habit of inadvertently getting each other the same gift for the same holiday. For Christmas, for example, we were both so proud of ourselves for our finds for one another, only to find out that we had both purchased beautiful kitchen knives for the other. For our wedding presents, I could barely wait to give Will his pocket watch to complete his Victorian-England accessories collection. In turn, he got me a brand new Garmin (Forerunner 210) for maximum data analysis!

New GarminIt’s BEAUTIFUL and tiny and has pretty scrolling on it. It also comes with a heart rate monitor that is approaching comfortable.

However, I should have known that the coach component of my husband had ulterior motives. Our schedules are about to get even more crunched with the onset of medical school, so it’s imperative that every run meets its purpose exactly. That means easy runs truly easy, tempo runs at the right pace and enough recovery to compensate for an almost guaranteed state of sleep deprivation. To accomplish this, I’m incorporating heart rate based training into my life and the transition has been…rocky. Heart rate is affected by lots of things beyond just your effort level, including hydration, heat, sleep, and stress. I learned this on Saturday, for example, when I went out for my long run that was supposed to be at an easy pace (Target HR in the low 130s) and spiked up to 140 within the first half mile. Even crawling along didn’t really bring it down. It ended up taking 4 painfully slow and emotionally stressful miles to come back down to normal. Needless to say, I did not leave the run with a lot of confidence.

The good news is that as I’m adding in strides and fartlek workouts, things seem to be coming back to normal. My legs realize that I have more than one pace and seem to be adjusting accordingly. Right now, my heart rate suggests that my legs can’t go fast enough to truly get into tempo or interval zone, which is an easier problem to fix than lungs behind my legs. As we gear up for fall, here’s hoping my legs re-learn how to turn over fast enough to race a distance that is about an 1/8th of the marathon.

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