Plans Change – Heart warm-ups

I did not get to the North Shore this weekend. I did not want to take that long drive nor run alone, so I went to RTA instead. I did 5 loops plus three additional hills on the hill west of the parking lot. I was so slow but it was hot. I was just over a 15 min mile for the run. I felt OK; heart rate was down, did not feel fatigued but just could not move any faster. Average heart rate was 133? Go figure.

Since I felt like I underachieved at RTA, at 2:00 PM I went for a road bike ride. After 18.5 miles into the wind, I was dry (which is strange as it was hot out) and I felt strong. Although, I feel like a bee bit me just above the inside back of the right knee. Well not the knee, but just above it. Very painful to the touch but doesn’t hurt to run or bike?

During the RTA run I was listening to a health/exercise related Pod Cast. It was about properly warming up the heart to optimize race performance. It said most people know that you have to warm up skeletal muscles to help protect them from injury, but many do not know that warming up the heart muscle is just as important.

They emphasized many heart related issues are caused by improper warm-up. They say when the heart cramps, it’s to late! It makes sense that the demands of exercise, especially intense competition require the body’s muscles and joints to be warm and limber. Athletes have long used warm-up to prepare their bodies for physical challenge.

Despite universal acceptance that warming up is good, there is little scientific proof that it in fact improves performance or reduces injuries. This is because the need to warm-up is ingrained in us, which makes it difficult for researchers to collect unbiased data. For example, try sprinting full speed on a cool day without warming up, and your mind says to slow down.

They say a proper heart warm up has been documented to enhance a race. Warming up can decrease stress on your heart. If you try a very strenuous task like sprinting uphill without a warm-up, your heart muscle will probably not get enough blood flow and oxygen. Warming up will lower your blood pressure and increase blood flow to the heart. This could reduce the risk of a heart attack. The speaker said he tested this by running with a heart rate monitor at several marathons.

He said the result, keeping the heart rate at the 50-60 percent threshold for the first 20 minutes resulted in his slowest ever first few miles but resulted in a PR. He also said he felt better overall after the race. He stated he tested this theory by starting a race at 80 percent for 20 minutes and backing down and his heart never really recovered and he had an unusually high heart rate for the remainder of the race.

The theory is ease the heart into it and it work more efficiently for the long runs. May experiment, but from personal experience, I think I agree with him. I thought I was not in the same shape as last year but wondered how I did better at Afton. Last year at Afton, I pushed the first 10 miles or so and crashed and struggled. This year, I started with the intent of keeping my heart rate in the 120’s. For 10 miles I did but was slower than the previous year. Although, I was able to keep moving with less fatigue. Interesting subject, but I swear by running with a heart rate monitor to tell me how the ticker is performing.

Friday will be an all night run at Superior. This is needed and I look forward to it. Hope all is well in your training world.

Carry on.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Plans Change – Heart warm-ups

  1. RunWesty

    Good luck Friday nightWith regards to your pace at RTA don’t fret it, you got through it. Now is the time to solidify your base and avoid injury. Not sure concerning your heart warm-up theory but I have proven time and again that going out hard doesn’t work. Not sure if it’s my heart that needs to warm up or not but something does.

  2. SteveQ

    Looking forward to running with you this weekend!

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