Heart Rate Monitor = Learning to Run Again

So, I’ve started wearing a heart rate monitor for training, and I feel like I’m learning to run all over again. Once again, time for Nate to pick up his game again and get stronger and faster. A friend of mine, who’s a really strong runner, recommended the book Primal Endurance which I quickly downloaded from Audible.com. Something the book teaches is to keep most of your training in your aerobic heart rate zone. This is calculated by subtracting your age from 180. This puts me at 141 beats per minute at the most.

Once I figured out how to get the HR monitor connected to my Garmin, I’ve stayed in the zone and it’s been interesting. The first couple runs were pretty comfortable and sort of felt like an easy excuse not to push too hard in training. Then after a few runs, it felt sort of frustrating to not be able to open up the engine and that her rip from time to time. And yesterday, it started kicking my butt.

Yesterday I went for a run for about 12 miles, my pace ranged between 10:16 minutes per mile and finished up at about 13:00 keeping my heart rate below 141 bpm. What totally puzzled me about this, was that when I started the run I was rested but, beginning around mile six, things got more difficult. And in miles 10, 11, 13, when I was trucking along at what I usually call “death march” pace, I felt fatigued as if I had been running at my regular brisk pace.

It feels like I’m learning to run again, for reasons like:

  1. I feel like I’m pretty hard getting a great workout, and then I look down at my watch to check my pace and, in my mind, it says that I’m barely moving.
  2. I’m rediscovering how my breathing relates to my heart rate.
  3. I’m relearning how to be efficient in my form and stride.

The puzzle that I’m working out is how I can get this engine of mine forward faster keeping my heart rate low. I’m changing my mind set to stop thinking about pace and distance when I’m in my shoes, and more about time and effort. I’ve got some ambitious plans and willing to do what it takes to get me there, so I’m going to keep my faith in the system, and continue taking it one step at a time (no pun intended).

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