If you've been anywhere in my vicinity in the last few weeks, you've probably heard me talk about my weird heart rate issues. It was obsessing me for a while--I thought I was about to a) drop dead like Jim Fixx b) have to stop running. Both were equally distasteful to me.
The deal was that every time I'd run, no matter how slowly, my heart rate would shoot up to like 110 percent of my (measured!) heart rate max. That "max" stands for MAXIMUM. So it was disturbing to say the least. One time I looked down and my heart rate monitor read 209.
But, see, it was my own fault.
I had been trying to fit running workouts in by doing lots of interval training (that is, alternating sprinting with slow jogging). You can get a pretty comparable workout in 15 minutes of intervals to 45 minutes of running. I had not been warming up properly, just starting out in a sprint.
My theory is that I trained my dang heart to just expect that each time I started running I was going to be sprinting, so it zoomed up to provide me with plenty of the oxygenated blood I would need if I were sprinting.
Luckily, after a couple of weeks of laying off the intervals (and off the heart rate monitor--that thing was just scaring me), my running heart rate is back to normal. Just got back from a cold Thanksgiving jog to find my max rate for the run was a very respectable 144.