Target Heart Rate Diaries: Part 3


My THR challenge has begun.  It’s  still winter, so I have my bike set up on the trainer in the basement. It’s much harder to get a good work out indoors on the trainer vis-a-vis out there on  the road. Unlike being on the road, you’re already home, so you don’t have to bike hard to get there. There’s no hills, no speed or mile goals to meet. You have to just do it. I’m trying to bike between 30-60 minutes and keep my heart rate between 130-146 for most of that time. At first it’s hard. I discover that I have to work much harder than what I have been doing. I thought I was getting a good work out before, but compared to what I’m doing now, that was nothing. After a few tries, I manage to get my heart rate in the zone for most of the workout. It’s hard to keep it there. This is serious business. When I’m done I’m very sweaty and feel like I’ve had a very hard work-out. This feels much harder than the 70-80% that it’s supposed to be.

Fast-forward three weeks. I’ve been working out in my THR zone 4-6 days per week. I’ve been having hard-working, heart-pumping work outs, harder than I’ve ever done before. I’ve even lost a couple of pounds, something that had been eluding me for months. And I’m exhilarated? Rejuvenated? Revitalized? No, I’m exhausted. By the fourth week, I can’t do it any more. I can  no longer maintain my heart rate in the zone. My weight loss sizzled, no further improvement. What happened? This is supposed to me making me more fit.

I decide to dial down the work out. I drop down to an easier pace, keeping my heart rate in the 50-60% zone. But this is no good – it’s not much better than what I was doing before: I’m not getting more fit, not losing weight, and not making progress. Apparently this THR stuff requires some knowledge and expertise that I lack, and have not been able to find despite reading extensively on the subject. Everything I’ve found gives the same guidelines for training in the THR zone. I need to find some answers.

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