Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No HRM Done

A funny thing happened on the way to every race, every ride, and every indoor training session I’ve done this year: I didn’t use my heart rate monitor.  In fact, the last time I fastened the chest strap was Aug. 2, 2011.  Back in 2007 when I started using the HRM as a training tool, I had high hopes for it.  And I did use the device regularly for a few years, but last year I reached for it less often, and now it’s almost completely out of mind.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my interest in heart rate training waned just at the moment I decided to throw myself into cyclocross.  When I bought the HRM, I intended to use it as a motivational tool to ensure that I make a sincere effort in training.  Cyclocross simply doesn’t allow for anything less than a sincere effort!  Wearing a heart rate monitor at a ’cross race is like carrying a household thermometer into a burning building.

Then came the mildest Wisconsin winter I have ever experienced, and I was able to ride outside instead of slogging through indoor training sessions in my home gym.  After that came spring and a mountain bike racing season that I didn’t know I would take so seriously.  I raced more than I thought I would, and racing is hard.  When I wasn’t racing I was training hard, doing things like practice crits and self-timed loops at New Fane or TTs up and down the Eisenbahn State Trail.  The intensity was there all year and it’s still there in the new cyclocross season and in the Tuesday evening practices that help me to prepare for the races.

But soon I will have to contemplate a new season of indoor training.  Certainly, I don’t think we’re going to have another winter as mild as the last one.  I think I will give heart rate training another try.  Its detractors will tell you that it’s not as productive as wattage-based plans, but I don’t have a way to measure my power output.  I know I’m guilty of not always giving my best effort during indoor training sessions, but numbers motivate me and recommitting to the HRM should help me to get more out of the off-season … when it comes.

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