Sunday, April 6, 2008

Exercising for Results

For about the past nine months, I've been running intermittently, thinking I was getting into better shape. Then I had a chat with Saipan's leading triathlete, Eli Torgeson, and as it turns out, I've been sort of wasting my time -- at least in terms of building my cardiac capacity. See, aerobic activity is all about making your heart stronger. I've been stressing my heart, but not building it's capacity.

Here is the deal. You can find your maximum heart rate by taking 225 and subtracting your age. For me, that's 180. For the past week or two, when I've been on my usual run, I've been stopping to check my pusle, and it's always right there around 170. Not good.

What you need to do is build the heart's capacity to handle the load, and you can't to this by having it carry the full load all the time. Eli tells me I need to start by getting my heartrate up to 140 for about 40 minutes. If it goes higher, I need slow down, or even just walk. I need to play with my pace until I can find this spot. Gradually, as my cardiac capacity builds, I'll be able to run faster and still keep my rate at 140. And then I can work in periodic bursts of faster running, to get the rate up, and then have it come back down -- "interval training"

It's been cumbersome to stop every five minutes and check my pulse rate, so I just ordered a heartrate monitor. There are all kinds out there, including ones which include GPS and can measure your distance also. If I keep with this, one of those might be cool to have eventually. But for now, I'm just going with the $45 model that just measures heartrate. It's the Timex T5G971, favorite of mall-walkers.

I'm looking forward to getting into better shape. Will I really be ready for a triathlon? Who knows. First things first.


jeff said...

all the best for your training. :)

Entrepreneur said...

I actually bought one, a Polar heart-rate monitor watch where you have to strap this device to your chest but the darn thing keeps coming off while running. If you tie it really tight, it gets hard to breathe when you're puffing.

Do you know if the Timex is accurate?

Marianas Eye said...

The Timex has the chest strap thing too. The reviews on Amazon are favorable.

bradinthesand said...

and you've got more than two months before the tinian triathlon. you can do it!