So you buy yourself a nice new shinny GPS watch and heart rate monitor. OK, so the GPS is useful as you can see how far and fast you have run. The next day you go out and try to better it. Then you look at the heart rate graph, your max, average and lows. But what the heck does that lot mean? Before long its all about the speed the route and distance. And isn’t GPS so helpful for all your training? Heart rate becomes confined to the bottom draw, oh yes its a syndrome you know, ‘Bottom Draw Syndrome’.
The real truth is that if this is you then you are missing out on the best training trick ever, your heart rate. How can we operate on a speed odometer, when actually our body has no concept of this ‘speed’, only the effort and the duration. So why are so many runners obsessed with their GPS units? I can only surmise they understand it from their automobiles. As a running coach those stuck on speed and distance are missing out, as a rule, training poorly and (frustratingly) they could be doing things so much better.
Now here’s the question, ‘To run faster you must run even faster all the time?’ OK, ‘Why, must you?’ Go on lets have the answer, in physiologically terms. One that makes sense to your background, current fitness and how you have got to wear you have with your current training. If you have the right answer then you will probably share my frustration anyway.
So to the Heart of the Matter… we don’t have a speed ‘O’ but we do posses a rev counter. So why not use it? It reacts to temperature, to when we are fatigued and need recovery, to stress and also to illness. Rev counter, barometer and often our most mistreated muscle. Who would of thought we can actually fatigue our most important working muscle, you know the one that never sleeps and also the one that if it ever needs a massage means you are in BIG trouble.
Just think about it, for one moment, just a few heart beats amongst millions…
Your training, your pulse, your ‘Heart of the Matter’.
Now I’m lucky I have worked with some pretty clever folk from National Head Coaches, the best physiologists and I cut my teeth on heart rate 14-years ago. I even wrote a series of articles for what is now Running Fitness magazine. I still work with a great squad of runners and surprisingly they are seeing improvements in their running, whether it is veteran Dot Kesterton, the speedy Mr Bond or our very own Hough Boy. I still work with some pretty clever folk at the Accelerate-Holywell Sheffield base. I feel both privileged and lucky at the same time. Actually, we all should, they are based at the Sheffield Runners Hub, Accelerate-Holywell.
Now its something we do and like doing. Tomorrow we share our knowledge about heart rate and training. So save a middle aged chap further frustration and come along and see what all the fuss is about. Oh yes, its free and Adela Carter knows her onions and will get to the Heart of the Matter.
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