Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

Spend your energy wisely!

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The title of this blog was originally the title of an article I wrote on heart-rate monitor training. One of these days I will retrieve this article which resides on the hard drive of an old computer; but for now a few thoughts. A runner wishing to gain fitness, is well-advised to train with a heart rate monitor and arm themselves with their personal heart-rate-training-zone statistics. Just as you would not want to spend more dollars on a item than necessary, so too, most would not want to expend more energy than necessary to get fitter and faster. The cost of this over-training or hyper-training is most often injury.

Detroit marathon

Detroit Marathon 3:11 finish on Ford Field

I had lactate threshold testing done at the Endurance Lab in Toronto as something of a guinea pig. Training zones for individuals are quite variable and tables for training zones express an average only, which can can vary up to 20 beats or more from one person to another. With your personal data you can incorporate threshold running or tempo runs, along with speedwork (near maximum effort) in quantities that will help you to run faster at the minimum energy expenditure. Running at the minimum, means less stress to the musculo-skeletal system, which is most often a runner’s weak link. Find out more about the test itself by clicking on Endurance Lab.

Having run for a decade or so with a heart rate monitor, I had developed a sense of what my training zones might be. Prior to getting the results I made some guesses as to my zones and Adam Johnson who administered the test conceded, when reviewing the results, that he probably was telling me what I already knew. That may have been so, however in addition to the decade of training with the monitor, I had an additional 15 years of marathon training experience and an intuitive sense of how to use a hard-easy training regime.

Back in the day, the early-eighties, specialized running gear was hard to come by. Some frugal runners, like me, took pride in the low cost of the sport and thought it frivolous to designate a regular pair of mitts to running, and wore socks instead of mittens. While today’s gear might make training more comfortable, affordable heart-rate monitors and lactate threshold testing are at the top of my list of how to maximize fitness dollars and improve your understanding of how the body works.

Recommended: Polar heart-rate monitors, a starter version can be had for about $100. The New Balance store will handle any repairs or battery changes for Polar products in (roughly) 10-14 days. Invented in Finland in 1977, the first wireless Heart rate monitor was used as a training aid for the Finnish National Cross Country Ski team.

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