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The Lazy Marathoner: Um, is this thing on?

July 13, 2009 |  9:02 am


I'm getting off to an inauspicious start. I've been training at the wrong heart rate all week. You might ask how that could happen, because I own three heart-rate monitors. Well, it breaks down like this. My Timex needs a battery. And because I'm lazy, I haven't gotten around to fixing that situation for, oh, over a year now. But that still leaves two more heart-rate monitors, right? I lent my husband my Polar heart-rate monitor -- he's decided he wants to follow Dr. Phil Maffetone's plan along with me, and has dibs on reading Dr. Phil's new book, "In Fitness and In Health," as soon as I am done with it. So that still leaves my Garmin Forerunner. Which I have been wearing at the gym this week. And which has consistently showed by heart rate at 112-113 all week. I know that's lower than the 130 limit, but I was coming off a cold, I'm stressed because I'm in the middle of a home construction project and my parents are coming into town this week for a two-week stay, so I thought I would take Dr. Phil's advice about reducing stress, and give myself a break with an easier week. 

But when I was at the gym Sunday it suddenly dawned on me. The Garmin was still showing 113 when I slowed down. And when I sped up. And when I got off the treadmill and just stood there.

I walked over to the newest exercise equipment at my gym, an elliptical machine, and got on it and grabbed the handlebars, with heart-rate sensors. I was at 153, and that was after walking over from the treadmill. Yikes!

And that's how it came to be that I have three heart-rate monitors and yet still managed to be working out at the wrong heart rate. Needless to say, I am swiping my Polar back from my husband. I know that is spot-on accurate. And now I have a new incentive to get the Timex fixed so hubby can use that one. Not sure what to do about the Garmin. I know for a fact that its GPS function -- the reason I bought it -- is quite accurate, as I have tested it on a track and against running routes that I've clocked out with my car. Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions?

Mail-bag: Got a bunch of e-mails from folks, many of whom wanted more information about Dr. Phil, as well as some from fellow runners who shared their experiences with his training methods. Here's one from Andrea: 

Hey Rene - isn't it interesting to observe how the right tools, support and encouragement show up for you once you've committed to a goal?!!! Kudos to you for being open minded to these new distinctions in your training pursuit - you'll see - Dr Phil is a genius - you are in amazing hands like none other....having run 15 marathons from my 20s to my 50s I know that Dr Phil's program will singley make the biggest difference for you in achieving your goal!...and...Be mindful that your days off from running will be as important as your days on as you continue training! There you go - another fabulous bonus for the Lazy Marathoner!! 

Thanks Andrea!

--Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images