January 02, 2016

Heart rate spikes

Well, 2016 is off to a great start :) It feels awesome to start the year at my goal weight, and without any weight loss goals for the year. Since I started taking my easy runs *truly* easy (keeping my heart rate below 146), I have also felt really good about my training. I am still progressing in my speed work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I hope that continues. But running at an easy pace the other days is actually really enjoyable!

Yesterday, I had a 30-minute easy run on the schedule. Jerry was off work, so I suggested we go to the state park--he and the kids could walk the short loop while I ran the 5K loop with Joey (Joey was thrilled with this idea). It was cold outside, but I definitely underestimated just HOW cold it was going to be.

I wore my Cold Gear tights and a Cold Gear top. I also wore a jacket, a Bondiband, and my thin gloves. In retrospect, I should have worn a much warmer jacket, and heavier gloves. And something to cover my neck.

Anyway, Joey and I started the 5K loop while the kids and Jerry did the shorter loop (I think it's about 1.25 miles).

(I wasn't trying to match my outfit to my shoes, but the jacket and shoes go well together!) It was hard to keep my heart rate down for the first mile, because Joey was all over the place. My hands were so cold that I started to worry about frostbite! I pulled my fingers down into the palm portion of my gloves so that I could make a fist inside of the glove, and that helped a little. My fingers finally felt okay about two miles in, but I never did break a sweat. I guess that's the downside to running at a slow pace--it's hard to warm-up in this kind of cold.

I was relieved to get back to the car to warm up. The kids said it was much colder than they'd anticipated, too.

This morning, I wasn't going to take any chances with my long run. The "real feel" temp was 18, so I dressed extra warm. Cold Gear tights and top, a fleece over the top, my warmest running gloves, and a hat. This was a step back week for my long run, so I only had to run 60 minutes (again, keeping my heart rate below 146).

I started running at a very slow pace, and almost immediately, my heart rate shot up to 160 bpm. I knew I wasn't pushing myself hard, but I slowed down anyway. I was barely running at a slow jog, and it was still high. Finally, I just turned off the alert because it was annoying and I knew I wasn't pushing myself that hard. A couple of miles in, I tried adjusting my sports bra a little, and making sure the sensors on the heart rate strap were pressed against my skin. That was when I noticed it corrected my heart rate right away, going from 160 to 133.

The farther I ran, the less often I had the weird spikes. As I thought about it, I think I figured out why it was doing that. I don't normally wet the strap before I put it on, even though I really should do that (it helps the monitor to get a reading). Since it was so cold outside, I wasn't sweating for a long time; and because I wasn't sweating, the HR monitor wasn't picking up my heart rate correctly. Toward the end of my run, I was sweating a little, which is why it continued to improve the longer I ran.

This makes a lot of sense to me, because it happens very often that the first mile or so, my heart rate is wacky (usually very high spikes). That's probably because I haven't broken a sweat, so the monitor isn't able to get a correct reading. To fix this, I'll just have to make sure to wet the strap a little before I put it on. Hopefully that will work!

Anyway, I felt absolutely fantastic during my run. Normally, I don't enjoy the actual running part; I just enjoy how it makes me feel afterward. But today, running at an easy pace was very enjoyable!

The boys are staying the night at my parents' house tonight, so Jerry and I were talking about doing a date night. I'm not sure what we'll end up doing. Although, with it being as cold as it's been the past few days, I'm thinking a "Netflix and chill" kind of night sounds perfect ;)


  1. Happy New Year Katie! If the water doesn't help your HR readings, look for products like "buh bump" or "spectra 360 electrode gel" on Amazon. I struggle with crazy HR readings from my strap and it seems to help a lot.

  2. I always wet the strap of my monitor when I wear it. But my heart rate is always wacky when I first start running, maybe my body is just still in shock! ha ha ha

    Hope you had a great date night!!!

  3. Just an FYI, Netflix and chill is slang for ... well, having sex while Netflix is on in the background. More power to you if that's the plan! Hope your date night was awesome!

    1. Hahahaha!! I had no idea. No, that wasn't what I had in mind ;) Unfortunately, I wound up getting a stomach bug, so the night wasn't much fun anyway.

    2. When I read that last paragraph, my mouth dropped open in surprise. :-O And then I immediately thought, what the heck is wrong with me, she can Netflix and Chill all she wants!!! I think it was more the surprise of reading it and it seeming out of character, but not so much out of character that I thought it was a mistake. Haha, thanks for bringing a laugh.

  4. Yeah, I was wondering why you would say something so forward like that after listening to your podcast and hearing that you reread your blog posts to make sure there is nothing you would not want to post that might make you uncomfortable one day. LOL. Your interview was great by the way.

  5. just made your cashew chicken and put it in the crockpot. Hope it's as delicious as the picture looks. Joined a Diet Bet starting today and am deternined to take off this 45-lb. regain. How did that happen?

  6. I know "they" say they aren't as accurate, but I much prefer a wrist HR strap. You don't have to wait to sweat.

  7. Brr so cold! I'm glad it doesn't get that cold here. I'm finally going to do a new running program. I haven't really ran in awhile so I'm doing the couch to half marathon program that was on Woman's Day.


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