Showing posts with label spikes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spikes. Show all posts

Monday, October 1, 2012

Heart rate spikes and my HR monitor

Mystery spikes at the beginning of my runs
I started using my heart rate monitor again in late August and it's helped me understand how much (or how little) work I'm putting into a run. Instead of looking at my Garmin and checking my pace for that moment, I now display my heart rate and adjust my effort depending on what I see. I've learned that my default pace happens when I'm running in the zone 2 range, far below what I would have thought.

Now, when I see that my heart rate is still in the "easy" zone, I'll pick up the pace to cross the threshold to the next level. I aim to reach zone 5 by the time I finish most of my runs and I usually get there.

I was looking at the readings from yesterday's run and noticed that my heart rate was holding close to 100% of Max through the first three minutes. From there it dropped precipitously down to 76% for no apparent reason. I had seen this happen before, my first few minutes of the Cow Harbor 10K show a spike to 100% of Max before dropping to 80% at the five minute point.

In the case of Cow Harbor, I was pumped up for the race and had consumed a 2nd Surge gel with caffeine right before the start. In contrast, yesterday's run was low key, with no gels or caffeine to influence my physiology. In both cases I felt no different between the high and normal readings. Since it doesn't correlate to my condition, I'm thinking the reason is completely benign.

In both cases the humidity was low and I had not wet the HRM sensor before I linked it to the Garmin. Without moisture from sweat, the readings were probably unreliable. After a few minutes of running (and sweating) they dropped to an expected level. I'll test this theory tomorrow by ensuring the contacts on the HRM are wet before I start my run. I'm pretty sure I'll see a smoother curve along the timeline.

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