Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Heart of The Matter

I always wear a heart rate monitor - and I follow the American College of Sports Medicine Hear Rate Reserve Method (HRR) to calculate my maximum (80%) and minimum (60%) efforts. So, today, when I read RunnerDude's Blog on Heart Rate Training, of course, I had to give kudos to a well written post.

Why all this fuss about heart rates, training and monitors? Well, a few weeks ago, a friend went running, after work, on a very hot day. Sadly, later that evening, he died of a heart attack. So many people, just like him, come home from work, about 5-6PM, when it is still one of the hottest times of the day, and think, "I'm going for a run to get rid of this tension." The goal, of course, is to feel better, but unless we consider the weather, time of day, fatigue, hydration and/or illness (to name a few) - we can wind up feeling worse - and a lot of that can be avoided if we paid attention to our heart rates.

Check out the Hear Rate Reserve Method (HRR) calculations
on RunnerDude's Blog 
to calculate your maximum heart rate.

Knowing your heart rate can help you avoid cardiac drift, too. This is a (little scary) phenomenon that occurs when the body wants to cool itself off. Simply put, your body sends blood to your skin's surface so it can get rid of heat by sending the heat out to the environment. As a result, the amount of blood returning to the heart is less. So, what does the heart due to compensate? It beats faster in order to supply oxygenated blood to the muscles you are using to run. 
Note: The top line shows a Cardiac Drift heart rate response. Only 10 minutes to climb 10+ beats!
Unless you're wearing a heart rate monitor, all you will think is, "Wow, it's hot" or "This run is tough." But you can monitor your heart rate, and slow down your pace when your heart rate gets too high - and avoid too much stress on your body, like cardiac drift.

Train Smart Today!

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