Monday, August 29, 2011

Listen to Your Body

At a recent speaking engagement I was asked a few things dealing with monitoring my system via a variety of different means and devices. 

“What is your resting heart rate?” one of those in attendance pondered.

“I don’t know.  Low.” I replied.  I wasn’t going for a joke.  I honestly have very little idea of what my heart rate happened to be.  I got it measured at an expo back in July after two days of book signings and speaking and at the time it was 40.  Who knows what it is when I am resting. 

The follow-up questions revolved around training with heart-rate monitors and measuring pace by various devices such as GPS and the like.  I am sure they are all wonderful ways to keep track of data (and I really like data) but to this point they are not something I have delved into.  I spoke to a good friend recently whose husband did an Ironman a few months ago.  During the swim his watch was kicked off of his wrist.  For the rest of the 2.4 mils of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running he had no watch whatsoever.  If he had been a slave to his watch he might have very well panicked.  Fortunately, he trusted his training and relied on what he had become used to in his own body and mind to get him through the race.

I have been the same way for quite some time. To me, whether I feel good means a quite deal more than if my watch tells me I am running well.  Once in Kansas City I was running a marathon and my usual first six miles of slight misery were compounded more than usual.  I felt sluggish and slow.  My watch told me I should be speeding up a little bit to keep with the pace I wanted to run.  However, I knew pushing the pace there might be disastrous.  So I listened to my body, stuck with the pace I was at and about halfway through finally shook out of the funk.  I ended up negative splitting the rather challenging course and running a solid time for me.

If I had paid too much attention to what my devices were telling me, I may have ended up on the ground far from the finish.  Instead, the most important thing – how I felt- dictated my race pace.  I finished smiling and happy completing my 120th lifetime marathon.

Use the data given to use by your watch, mps player, and GPS devices for the purposes of information.  But rely on your body for what matters most. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice post Dane. Your rationale makes a lot of sense and would probably help runners like myself to reduce some of the stress with training and performance. I find that I rely on HR, pace and perceived effort to help me determine what is normal and what is not, or to figure out what my baseline actually is.

Mike @justalittlerun