Listen to your heart! How HR training can help…

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This is not a blog post about the touchy-feely party of ChiRunning. Rather, it’s about listening to your body in training and letting it help guide your training volume and intensity. I just thought it was a very fitting song!

Often less is more in heart rate (HR) training, especially if you’re looking at long term planning for a major event. One thing I’ve learned with Ironman training a while back is you can’t go to the well too many times.

One of the benefits of HR training is it gives you instant feedback. I’m not saying you should be a slave to your HR monitor (please don’t)n but it’s not bad to take a look at your data after your workout see if you stayed in the zone. As you know, a bunch of factors come into play when it comes to your HR on a particular day, most importantly sleep, activity level, temperature and nutrition.

One of the best lessons I got when I started training for my second Ironman was to take it easy on the intensity in the building phase, especially with the long stuff. It’s human nature to want to be competitive. You have to harness that competitive streak if you want to have an enjoyable, injury-free season.

I’ve seen a lot of injuries occur when people push themselves too much and too often. I’m not saying you shouldn’t push yourself as you need to if you want to get better. You just have to be smart about it, especially if you’re still in the building phase.  Training is all about getting your body adapted to progressively harder work, not shocking it day in, day out.

I might be biased but it’s always best to work with professionals to determine your HR zones and build a program around those. Also here’s a good article by Jari Love on heart rate training and the many benefits.

Now let’s hope the catchy song above isn’t stuck in your head the entire duration of your next run! :)

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