Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In The Zone

So part of preparing to start training again this year is a serious effort to be more scientific about the whole thing and pay a lot more attention to training zones and periodization.  This is so that I can get the most bang for my training buck as well as do my best to stay strong and injury free.  So last night since I can't do any real training yet I spent some time looking at data from the end of my race season and using that as a base point to translate into heartrate training zones.  While I realize that my best bet is to start training again for 2-3 weeks and then retest, for now its the best I can do.

So I first started to look at heart rate zones on the bike.  Now some of you make fun of people like me who like to use garmins to track all their workouts and races.  But moments like these are the reason I do.  I was able to go back and look at all of last years data.  I looked specifically at the bike segments of sprint triathlons and all of the tuesday night time trial efforts and looked at my average heart rate data in order to establish a baseline for what my lactate threshold heart rate is so that I can use that to extrapolate training zones.  That data combined with the very helpfull charts, formulas and explanations in Gale Bernhardt's fabulous book "Training Plans for Multisport Athletes" and I was quickly inputting heart rate zones into my Garmin 800 for the bike.  Ms. Bernhardt details how to use training and race effort data to come up with the best approximations of training zones.  Very helpfull stuff!  And finally I wont be looking at my Garmin thinking I need to get around to properly configuring the heart rate zones.  Now I know its done.

Of course bike training zones are not the same for the run.  So I took a similar approach on the run.  I specifically looked at heart rate info from sprint triathlons and 5Ks done at an all out pace.  The heart rate data was very consistent in these efforts so its easy to determine your LTHR and use that to establish training zones.  That data then went into my running buddy known by the Girl as the "joy sucker" and to me as my true and trusted Garmin 310xt.

So with that data established there was one more test to do.  And this is one I want to start doing regularly so I can establish a baseline of data to look at longterm.  Resting heart rate is a very handy bit of data you can look at to establish long term trends of overtraining which is why I'm interested in it.  It can also be a measure of fitness to an extent as well.  So last night before going to sleep I started my Edge 800 up on the nightstand and put on the heart rate strap.  Why sleep in it?  Cause I can NEVER remember to take my heart rate in the morning before I get out of bed.  So I slept in it and let the Edge collect the data.  First thing in the morning I looked at the display and there it was...   resting heart rate of 56 BPM.  If you take that number and my age and start looking at charts of heart rates that BPM is right on the edge between what is considered "Exellent" and "Athlete".  So I'm on the top end of "Athlete" and the bottom end of "Excellent".  So I'll call that pretty damn good.  Of course this is only one data point.  So who knows if this is an elevated day or a low day?  Only time and regular testing will tell.  Still it was an interesting experiment.  Special thanks to the Girl for not laughing at me too much for wearing a heart rate monitor to bed and putting a bike computer on the nightstand.

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