Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tools of the Trade

After letting it sit idly for 2 months, I finally got out the heart rate monitor that goes with my Garmin fitness watch.  I couldn't bear to put another thing on me, in the midst of horrible heat and humidity so I never used it.  Well, now that I'm back to cross-training regularly, I thought it would be a good idea to track my heart rate to make sure I'm working in my "target" zone.  I haven't taken physiology in oh.... 10 or 11 years and since I don't work in the cardiac field I'm a bit rusty on what this means.  After some quick internet research, I came to find that for a female, 31 year old, my target heart rate should be anywhere from 108 - 170.  Apparently there's a wide discrepancy on this subject, so if anyone has a more accurate formula for determining your THR, I'd love to see it!  So with this new knowledge, I strapped on the HR monitor for this morning's 5.5 mile run.  I didn't look at my watch once, because I wanted this to be a true baseline.  The result....I averaged 88 beats per minute with a MAX of 158 bpm.  Did I mention that I did my "hilly" route??  So my first thoughts are either that the HRM must be as "accurate" as my Garmin foot pod (the day of the marathon, it said I ran 27.97 miles) or I'm running at a seriously comfortable pace.  I certainly feel like I'm working hard when I'm running.  I'm out of breath when I stop running.  I'm sweating.  Apparently these aren't good indicators!!  Wouldn't you want the bulk of your run to at least be within the minimum of your target range, for optimal calorie/fat burning?  These are the things I will now search out.  Maybe instead of focusing on mileage, I'll focus on heart rate training.  I need to drop about 10 pounds and this may be a better way to do it?

Another interesting tool that I got a chance to use is indirect calorimetry.  Essentially by  measuring the amount of oxygen the body consumes, it calculates the number of calories you burn in a day at rest (called your resting energy expenditure or REE).  Well, since I did this at the end of the day, after activity, food and caffeine, my results would be more of a Total Energy Expenditure. With that said, my results showed that I expend 1915 calories a day.  In order to lose weight, I'd need to cut down to 1415 calories daily, to lose 1 pound a week.  Not too shabby, especially if I include my exercise in there.  I found a really interesting website that helps you calculate your needs to maintain your weight or lose weight and will even come up with meal plans for you!  Hey....that's MY job!  In any case, since the majority of people don't have access to a dietitian, here's the site:  http://www.thedietdiary.com/diet/nutrition/RestingEnergy.html .  Pretty interesting (for a dietitian at least). 

5 comments:

Marlene said...

I've never trained with HR so no advice there, although I know targets cna be different for everyone. My husband trains religiously by heart rate and he regularly does these tests to determine 'max heart rate' and you then use that to determine target zones.

Sorry, that's about all I know... hopefully someone else cna offer some more thorough info. :)

RunnerGirl said...

Thanks for posting that link, I'll be checking it out for sure!

The CilleyGirl said...

What a cool link -- thanks! Happily, it told me I am right on target with where I thought I should be, at least as far as calories are concerned. I'm printing out my results to read it in further depth later. So glad it didn't say "no, you need to be eating 387 calories a day, you big fat pig!"

lindsay said...

thanks for sharing that link! i'm hopping over there after i finish here :) i struggle with calories in/out all the time... not enough self-discipline. i record my hr data but i'm certainly no expert, sorry!

Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal said...

I just found your blog :0) I'm so glad there are sooo many running mommies like you out there - you inspire me!