With today’s technology and advancements, watches have come leaps and bounds from the days of carrying a stopwatch while running. Heart Rate and GPS watches have become commonplace and a necessary piece of equipment to advancing your training.
Here’s Why. Using just a watch often leads you to want to PR (Personal Record) every training course every time. Training should never be about going your fastest every time. Save that for test sets and race day. The goals in training are set by your training plan and a training plan can’t have only one dimension….go faster. Perceived effort on a 1 to 20 scale has always been a good indication as a secondary dimension. However, not everyone is an expert in perceived effort. If you’ve never trained at this level before or you are coming off a break perceived effort vs. actual effort can be very different.
A watch with a heart rate monitor and GPS has now given you 3 dimensions. 1. Time. 2. Distance. 3. Terrain. Additionally, you’ll be able to download all of this information into Training Peaks and analyze it with your coach.
Imagine the difference between these two scenarios. Coach, I ran for 30 minutes. Coach I ran for 30 minutes at 7:16 pace with 500 feet of vertical climbing. It’s a difference but this is just the beginning. A coach can see how consistent your pace is from mile to mile, how much you are slowing on the hills, how big your heart rate jumps and also how fast you’re recovering over the hills. All this information is paramount in determining the next steps in your plan.
He is an example of some of the things a good endurance coach can pick up from your new device!
If an athlete is new or coming off a break, their exercising heart rate won’t have a very big range between the very low (easy effort) and their high heart rate (hard effort). This happens because if you haven’t been training with intense levels & sustained harder efforts above 85% of your max heart rate. Your body quickly loses it’s ability to process lactic acid in the blood. This results with heavy breathing or a person feeling like they’re “hitting the wall” after only a few short intervals. This occurs because the bodies Lactate Threshold is not in shape. We’ll talk in more detail in a later article but what we mean is that you can only sustain lower HR efforts for a shorter period of time. Your muscles may be strong from lifting over the winter/spring training but your cardio system needs some training.