Heart Rate Monitor use / Stress

In a past post, I wrote about wearing a heart rte monitor every time I run. I believed there was a correlation between life stresses and the impact on the heart rate. I believe some suffer heart attack and other issues as we age as we lose the ability to understand our internal organs may not be willing to keep up with our demands and they crash.

I had a very hard weekend. Last week was over a 75-hour work week, much of what was very high stress over the weekend. Although, the excitement is I did run and enjoyable 5 runs totaling 20 miles in a week for the first time this year… My running miles per week to date:

3 miles
13.6 miles
15.9 miles
0 miles
15 miles
17.8 miles
4.9 miles
0 miles
14,4 miles
and last week 20.2 miles — YIPEE

So last week was filled with limited sleep, increased workout and a weekend from hell. So at lunch today, I laced up, put on my heart rate monitor and prepared to go for a 4 mile run. I felt pretty good. Then less than 3 minutes into the run, I looked at my watch… 158 BPM. I was doing just over a 10-minute mile. I stopped. Within a minute, it dropped to 130. I started again. My heart rate rose fast to the high 150 BPM. Again, I stopped, it dropped quickly. I used my watch of check my pulse. I counted and it was in range of what the monitor stated. I felt like I was not even working out. My muscles felt fine, but my heart was not…

So I ran again. Doing whatever it took to keep my heart rate no more than 145. I slowed to a 12-minute mile to accomplish this goal. Last week I started the week with just under a 10-minute mile and average HR of 136 BPM. So why the increased heart rate? I think the stress in my job and the very stressful 30-hour weekend officiating tennis took a toll on my internal organs. They need to recover.

Many say I am crazy to have such a theory when I mention this situation. Although, this is not the first time my heart rate monitor gave me reason to be concerned. In the heat of the Afton 50 K in 2007, at about 20 miles, my HR went to 170 BPM and I was walking. I took a whole bunch of ice and iced me down and was walked. Slowly, my HR came down to the 120s and I was able to run the last 7 miles. I believed my heart was stressed due to the increase in body temperature from the heat?

So I do not run without the HR monitor, and some think I rely too much on an electronic device. My question to many of you is do you think the use of a HR monitor is a good way to monitor potential issues during high stress times? I really think so and when people ask why I have this belief… My response is “I want to live…”

Carry on…

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Heart Rate Monitor use / Stress

  1. Diane

    I agree that it seems to reason that stress on the body from lack of sleep, overwork, high emotions, etc. would affect the heart rate. I don’t evidence to support or disprove it, but it seems like that would be the case.Makes more sense to “run” with that theory and slow down your pace than to risk injury or some other serious consequence.

  2. Scott Mark

    Sounds like you are onto something that gives you valuable biofeedback – whether it works for others or not. Worth keeping a close eye on!

  3. RunWesty

    I agree as well. I have never paid that close of attention to my HR but I know stress, lack of sleep, etc… seem to affect my running. So stick with it.

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