My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
I posted the basics of my heart rate training plan last week, and a fellow runner indicated that he thought the heart rate targets were too high. I have fixated on this, wondering if I have fallen that badly out of shape or if my heart rate is naturally above average. After all, if I have been training anaerobically all this time, how have I managed to lose weight, run half marathons, or achieve any milestones of aerobic fitness?
My goal this time around is to burn fat and improve my aerobic fitness in an attempt to gain back what I have lost since I went on a break after my last race in September 2015. I have a new gadget called Tickr Run to attempt heart rate training, and it gave me these values (image, above) based on a 12-minute fit test.
I worried that if my fellow runner was right, these goals would be out of reach, so I dusted off some of my heart rate data from my days with a Garmin HRM, back when I was at the peak of my training, but before I really knew the significance of all the data. Interestingly enough, a 16 km long slow distance run I undertook on my birthday two years ago in 2013 shows a very slow run with a very high average heart rate. An average pace of 7:16 min/km is a back-of-the-pack pace for a half marathon, and yet I have an average heart rate of 160 bpm.
Naturally I am now performing internet searches to figure out what, if anything, is wrong with me. My resting heart rate, when last I checked after waking up and walking downstairs, was 76 bpm, so I don’t qualify for tachycardia. It certainly does make me wonder if it relates to why I find it so hard to lose weight even when I am eating right and exercising regularly. Is it even possible to run 16-km anaerobically? Probably not, so that just goes to show you, the numbers we read when we look up anything are just averages of known data. Sometimes one might be better off remaining ignorant of the averages, strapping on the HRM, and simply going by feel!