Sometime during the summer I lost the heart rate sensor for my heart rate monitor. I don’t know how it’s possible to do that yet again – I lost the sensor for my previous HRM as well – but I should probably start doing some double checking. I tend to take the sensor off the strap, since it says in the manual that it saves battery life, but it cannot be THAT much of a difference.
Anyway, I lost quite a bit of self-control in the store. Not only did I end up with a new heart rate sensor, but a GPS sensor (since my cellphone app is getting both notoriously slow and unresponsive, and occasionally very wrong) and a DataLink (so that I can sync my training files online etc). Financially wise? Not particularly. But do I regret? Not at all.
A neat thing about this new setup is that I can transfer one of the training programs, or for that matter target workouts (such as interval training and so on), to my HRM. So instead of having to remember every detail of every interval and keep track of it in my head, my HRM tells me everything. It gives me a message when an interval starts or finishes, and keeps track of how much time is left and where I am compared to the heart rate zone(s) I’m supposed to be in. It’s all very efficient and very, very useful. Like I said, I don’t regret a thing.
So I’ve started one of the endurance programs at polarpersonaltrainer.com. Usually I don’t run with a plan. If I feel like doing interval training, I do interval training, if I feel like doing a long run I do that – and I don’t think you should necessarily follow a training program perfectly if, for example, you do other things (for me it’s dancing and hiking) in between – but on the other hand, my progress gets pretty random too.
Yesterday was my first day, and it was an interval run. I was surprised at how well it went, and how hard it was. No, the fast intervals were completely fine. I was exhausted at the end of each one, but that’s the point after all. But my heart rate is still quite high when I run, so keeping below the heart rate limit during the slow intervals/warmup/cooldown was surprisingly hard. I could have run faster, of course, but I have never really trained according to heart rate zones before and want to do it exactly “by the book” now in the beginning. We’ll see how it goes.
It definitely felt like one of my more successful runs, though. I covered almost as many kilometers as the program had estimated (6.4 km in an hour instead of 6.9), I was tired enough that I really felt like I had worked out, but not nearly as tired as I usually am after even smaller distances. I didn’t have to stop once, and while I could have pushed myself a bit more, I didn’t feel like I went too easy on myself.
Whether or not this will improve my running remains to be seen, of course. I have reached quite a few milestones with regards to distance this summer, but it never felt any easier, and I never got my speed up. This is a 4-week program, so it’s not a massive commitment if I don’t improve all that much. But I’m going to give it an honest chance.
My current level has three runs per week (including one interval run and one long run per week). In addition there will be dance practice twice weekly (once they start after the summer holidays), so I’ll have to see if I have to change things around by then in order to avoid overtraining. And, since I can’t only do cardio, I will have to fit in some strength here and there as well. We’ll see how that goes…