Friday, January 22, 2010


Am) 4 miles recovery effort. 2 miles out and back. I am slowly getting the mountains measured so I can stop wearing a watch (GPS) and still satisfy my need to know my weekly mileage. is also very useful. I can see myself in a few months stopping the use of a HR monitor. When I run with out any electronical gadgetry I'm completely tuned in to my effort, which after so many years, is quite dialed in.


Mary IronMatron said...

Oh, I am so far from being able to give up the electrical gadgetry... haha!
The thing is, though, how do you know if your truly dialed in to your own effort if you don't have a gadget letting you know that you are, in fact, dialed in? hmmm?

Lucho said...

That's probably the #1 debate in regards to HR. Some would tell you a 'Zen' approach is best and argue that your perceived exertion is correct no matter what. But Mark Allen has written an article about perceived exertion being a 'myth', that it will always be wrong. I see myself being over dependent on HR and I allow it to 'tell me' how I feel and ignore how I truly feel. If I plan to run at HR 140-150 and I end up feeling incredible or very crappy (that's a scientific term based on years of physiological research) I still hold HR between 140-150 rather than letting my energy dictate the effort. Maybe my HR is just high that day due to lower hydration? Or maybe it is depressed due to fatigue? HR is affected by these things and effort may not always match up. Of course I also think that these signs are warnings and are very valuable to see. I got my first HR monitor in 1997 and have used one for (probably) 95% of everything I've ever done. That's ~13 years of experience. Often times I will guess my HR before looking at my watch and I'm always within 1-3 beats of my guess. For me too- with Leadville in mind- I believe that science is quite vague between HR and a 100 mile effort. I don't have an aerobic weakness. My metabolism is solid. The thing I lack for Leadville is the mental and structural strength, neither of which can be gauged with a HR monitor. If I go out and run 30 miles in a workout I don't need to hit a HR like in a tempo run or a race pace workout... I just need to run easy for a damn long time. The HR can cover a wider range. I do think for a race like a marathon it is important to hold back at the start so a HR monitor can be useful, but at a certain point (maybe mile 16) it's go time and you need to race to your limits and listen only to your body. For Ironman I would say that the single most common mistake is athletes riding too hard on the bike! So a HR monitor or power meter is HUGE for this. Ironman has different needs than running does and I think requires more thought.
From a coaching perspective however- I don't think an effective coach can guide an athlete with out more specific feedback. If I tell a person new to running to run 'easy'. Well, that's quite subjective and they may not have a good sense of this effort. BUT- say I tell them to run at HR 130-140 based off their current lactate threshold? That's quite specific. Also, if an athlete tells me they ran 'hard', well that could be anywhere between 400 meter race pace up to marathon race pace (there are many different kinds of hard)! But if they told me they ran 5 beats below LT then I know precisely how hard that was. You can also track progress and backwards slides, fatigue and hydration with a HR monitor which is what a coaches job IS.
It can also come down to the specific goals of an athlete. Some athletes just don't want to run by HR because they don't care, and that's not wrong at all. Some people like the numbers and that's just as well. I'm starting to split between the two.
Does that make sense?

Lucho said...

Mary- Your e-mail address failed to deliver?

Brett said...

Yes, do not forget Joghard Rules #9 and #10 - SUPER CRITICAL that you get those both right.

Running and living said...

Lucho, this is why I don't use HR monitors. I like to know my pace, that's reliable even when I am feeling crappy.
(Though I do know the advantages of HR training)

Lucho said...

Brett- Exactly. That really does sum it up!

R&L- Ya, once you learn the PE of what paces should feel like then pace is a great indicator.

Kevin said...

I am more of a: "if I've got it, I might as well wear it, even it I don't use/look at it."

Question: Do you think the change of 2500 ft of altiture will make a noticable difference in training. I went from 26 to 2500 and was unable to do a 5 mile pace run that I did two weeks ago(Way off pace).

Lucho said...

Kevin- I think that kind of common. Athletes see a HR but aren't sure what it means. You can still use te data for comparison though even if you aren't sure what the number means. Cross it with pace and see if you're getting faster at the same HR. Keep your training log detailed with average pace and average HR (max HR is useful too).
2500ft? I really doubt it. I'm not completely sure though because you started at sea level. On the other hand... if I go from 8200ft to 10700ft I can feel it a bit. I don't know.
The science says you shouldn't see much difference until 5000ft. Good question.