Training to Train

I have been thinking of how to write this blog entry without sounding whiney. But this topic has come up every time I start reading books about training for a triathlon, or looking at training programs. I’m frustrated, and I believe is time to put it out there in the open.

My heart rate is high, and I don’t seem to be able to bring it down.

Most of the books and programs based their training schedule on heart rate zones. The idea I gather is that I should work out on some heart rate zones to maximize my training. Some days you work at a lower high rate zone than others, and others you increase it.

On her book “Triathlons for Women,” Sally Edwards has a test to calculate your Maximum Heart Rate, which I did running at the pace I have been training on my run. My average heart rate while running at that pace is 168 bpm.  Most of my readings lead me to believe that my heart is too high, and I’m pushing too hard. But, I’m running at 12:45 min per mile pace, which is not a fast time under any standard. That’s the same pace I ran during the triathlon last year, but then I actually did it at a higher average heart rate of 174 bpm.

Last year, I started to freak out about it, and I went to the doctor. The doctor scheduled me to do a stress test along with blood tests. After all that, he narrowed down to two things, one I was out of shape or that I may have a sport induced asthma.  Of course, I did not back to see him.

When I run, I feel like I’m running at my capacity. I don’t think I can go any faster, but I don’t feel any discomfort on my chest, or that I’m going to pass out. But every time I want to improve on my training, I go back to the heart rate zone issue, and I get frustrated because I don’t seem to be able to slow down the heart rate, until I stop working out.

Sally Edwards has a chart where you can compare your times in each of the three disciplines, and rates you as beginner, experienced and advanced athlete (this may not be the exact terms she used, but that’s the idea of the chart). I compared my times to her chart, and I have to say that the only time I was able to show on her beginner athlete chart was the running. I scored high for a beginner runner, but on biking or swimming, my times  don’t even show in the beginner chart.

So, the doctor was right. I’m out of shape 🙂

Since my triathlons are later in the season, I made the decision that I will spend 8 weeks training to train.  The idea is to slow down my on my run, get a stronger core, and work on my biking skills so I can at least be in the beginner portion of the fitness chart before I start training. I believe this would be my best bet to push myself to perform better than I did last year, but overall have a better physical condition.

I read this article from the Beginner Triathlete on Base Training, which convinced me that this is the right path for me.

So I’m training to train. I started running at a slower pace. I need to check my average heart rate at while running, and see if I’m making any improvements.

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