Calculating Heart Rate Zones and a Short Rant

Last Saturday, I took my heart rate monitor out (well, to the gym) for another spin in order to set up my heart rate zones for running. I’m glad I had already tested out the process a few weeks ago with uphill walking and using the arc trainer, because it was a bit tricky and awkward. Especially the part where I would type my heart rates into my phone every 3 minutes or so, and then flip open my 80-20 running book to see the description of the next effort level.

Side note: Why on earth, when there are at least 20 open treadmills do people get on the ones right next to me??!! Seriously, WHY? I’m not kidding, I want to know. And, it’ll probably be better coming from you, than having to get an answer out of the large sweaty man that I’ve just punched because I can’t stand him staring directly at me from 3 inches away, while he’s stretching his groin on the treadmill right freaking next to me when there are 20 flippin’ open tredmills.

Anyways…..As with uphill walking, making small adjustments to my perceived effort was difficult to do on the treadmill. Also, coming off of a three week break and having not run consistently on a treadmill since last march, I had very little idea of what to expect different paces to feel like.  So, I ended up with a list of heart rates that are probably not super accurate.  Whatever. I tried. And, I do think that I got better at it as I warmed up, so maybe the level six heart rate that I recorded wasn’t too far off. (That’s the one I need to set up my heart rate zones.)

Being the giant nerd that I am, I put my heart rates in excel right away when I got home. I wanted to compare the running heart rates with the other two activities.

Heart Rate Graph2  The orange line is running. 

As you can see, my heart rates for running were higher. I don’t know what that means. But I have a few guesses: a) I didn’t want to admit that some certain slow paces lined up with certain easy difficulty levels. b) I’m not good at evaluating my effort level while running. or c) I’m better at evaluating my effort level while running than the other activities.

Whatever the reason, I’m sticking with what I’ve got until I do the test again. So, I calculated out my heart rate zones and matched them up with effort levels, and now I’m ready to go!

heart rate levels(Except for matching up paces; that’ll be another day’s fun.)

Hopefully, I’ll have some exciting running stories to tell soon, but for now my runs have all been pretty much the same. I upped the length of my runs from 20ish minutes to 25ish minutes this week. I have done them all at a pretty easy pace, and all on the treadmill since there’s so much snow around here. I’m having a good time getting back into, and I’m really looking forward to starting my training plan soon.

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6 thoughts on “Calculating Heart Rate Zones and a Short Rant

  1. While I admire your commitment and effort on the heart rate stuff, that seems like WAY too much work. I’ll be interested to see how this goes for you over time. Also, RE treadmills, I find this is a widespread phenomenon. It happens ALL THE TIME. In certain gyms, I can understand wanting to be near a window, or wanting to watch what’s on a particular TV and making your selection based on those factors, but even so… I wouldn’t voluntarily choose to put myself that close to another sweaty human being.

    • Yes, it’s a lot of work, but really only because I’m making it a lot of work. 🙂 Technically, you could just do all your runs “by feel” and not even bother with heart rates. I’m just playing around with the heart rate monitor for fun. I know…my idea of fun is a little strange. 🙂

      As for the treadmills, yes..I totally get wanting to be by a certain TV or window, or even using a certain type of treadmill, and I try to give people slack in that respect. But I think that having patience on that point just makes me madder when none of that applies. haha.

  2. At least space yourself one treadmill apart people! That irks me too. Even if I want to see a particular TV, I at least put a treadmill between myself and the other person if possible.

      • You two are hilarious! And yes, I’d make an exception for a friend running next to me. Maybe next time I should introduce myself. “Hi I’m Amy! I just assumed you wanted to be friends since you picked THIS treadmill, when there are 20 that aren’t right next to someone. I like watching Law and Order while I run and my favorite running shoe is Newton. Tell me about yourself.” Is that a good opening? 😛

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