I headed out on my run this morning and I had a hard time getting moving. It felt as if someone strapped lead bricks to my feet in place of my Brooks Addictions. I could barley lift them. To make the run even more enjoyable I was hungry and thirsty to boot. I glanced down at my heart rate monitor and it was already above 160 and I had only run a quarter of mile at 9:00 pace. Resigning myself to a crappy run I settled into a comfortable pace cruising along the golf course into the wind. I noticed that comfortable pace was getting more and more difficult to maintain. I took another glance at the monitor and it was about 170! Well this gave me some thing to think about at least...what was causing the elevated heart rate at such pedestrian pace? Was it the lack of food (I haven’t had much of an appetite recently) Was it lack of water (had the hot temperatures of the last few days caught up with me?) Was it accumulation of this week’s workouts? Was it the early hour? Was it the heart itself? Was it some other health related issue? I wasn't sure but something was amiss.
This is the part where I eat crow...
I really don’t know why my heart rate jacked up but a heart rate monitor can be very useful at detecting problems. Now I am sure my former athletes' heads are spinning around wondering just who is writing this Blog...heart rate monitors, stretching icing...”Rotten Tea I don’t even know who are anymore...":-) I will admit it that yes a heart rate monitor can be a very effective tool. I was talking with Coach Mahoney about one his athlete who has Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD), a condition that prevents air from getting into the lungs because of constricting vocal cords. To help in the training of his athlete Coach Mahoney is going to use a heart rate monitor to determine at what exertion level the episode start then use that level as a guide post. I thought this was a great idea on how to best manage the condition and great use of a heart monitor.
This is the part where I back pedal out of what I just said...:-)
I do agree that heart rate monitors are a great tool. Just as a stopwatch is a great tool. Just as a hammer is a great tool. They all have their intended uses. However they are not the be all end all to racing. In the middle of a race (second half) one's heart rate is not important and really one's time is not important either. What is important is that you compete! So Use the tools wisely.
Positive self talk: Even though my legs were dead I did have a great run. It was beautiful running along the golf course. I saw the coolest thing...A red-tailed hawk was flying along the GC while being attacked by three or four little black birds. The hawk must have gotten a little to close to a nest but it didn't seem too bothered by the other birds as it kept searching for food. It was pretty cool.