What Gets My Heart Racing | Eclectic Cake: What Gets My Heart Racing

Thursday, 21 August 2014

What Gets My Heart Racing

The focus of my running has been changing for a while. My love no longer lies with pounding pavements but with exploring trails – it's what excites and motivates me most. When you're wading through mud, clambering over tree routes or simply enjoying the views, I've felt there's no space for targeting time or predicting pace, I've just been running for the love of it. But as I look ahead to bigger challenges – going longer and lumpier – I need to make sure my legs are still getting worked hard so they can take on whatever I throw at them. 

The TomTom Runner Cardio has an inbuilt heart rate monitor which tracks how your body is coping with the incline or speed or distance you've decided to run. Not wanting the pressure of introducing time, it's good to have a watch that runs the same way as I have been – by feel. By shining a light through the veins on your wrist, it can monitor the flow of blood and therefore your heart rate. It knows when you're taking it easy, when you're struggling and (just like Goldilocks) when you've got your efforts "just right".

For fellow numerically challenged runners, there's no need to calculate where your heart rate should sit for different types of session, simply decide which 'zone' you want to train in – from sprint to speed to endure to fat burn to easy – and it will do the work for you. Well, it'll do the counting at least. It won't pull you up hill sprints or sail you round your long run and, unfortunately in my case, it won't record the whole of your first epic multi-day run. My watch clocked out about a kilometre away from the finish but seeing as I'd already run for six hours over two days (and got lost for a small portion of it), I'd say that wasn't too bad going.

I'd started to look like a mobile branch of Dixons – taking my phone to tell everyone on Twitter that I'm running, an iPod nano for music, a Nike Fuelband for the flashing lights and a running watch to prove I didn't just pose for selfies – so it's nice to have some items of technology combined. Whilst I shan't comment on TomTom's "strapless" campaign, I imagine not having to run with a heart rate monitor strap is a relief, I'm not sure for certain as I'm completely new to this way of training. For the first run, I operated a "look but don't touch" policy, not knowing what to do with the new information in front of me. But now, as I seek out bigger and better challenges, I'm looking forward to seeing what else might get my heart racing.

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