Day 35 – Relative Perceived Exertion

139 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

My New Friend, Alexa

Me: Alexa, How many days until Chatty?

Alexa: It’s coming up. There are 138 days until Chatty. I hope you’re ready.

Am I pathetic or what? I programmed my little home invader, also known as an Amazon Echo, to tell me how many days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga. Just below the title of this post the quote says 139 days , but Alexa tells me it’s only 138 days. Crap! That’s one day less of training.

Today I didn’t do any workouts, so that’s another training day lost. I’m not worried. I’d rather do too little training than too much. In reality, I’d rather do the right amount of training than not enough. Trying to figure out how much training is the right amount can be difficult. That’s why we have gadgets.

A Triathlete’s Best Friend

I used my Garmin 735XT yesterday in the pool for the first time. I’m still trying to learn how to use it. My first impulse with workout numbers is a competitive one: more is better. That’s OK for a first impulse, but not for long term success in this sport or any endurance sport. Heart rate monitors, power meters and GPS devices need to be used intelligently. They need to be used to train with purpose and guide our workouts. Without these devices, the only smart way to train is to use relative perceived exertion (RPE) which can be quite accurate if you’ve practiced with it a lot.

I used to think I had a pretty good idea of zone1, zone3 and zone5 when I used RPE. However, I went for an easy run a couple of days ago and had a tough time staying in zone1. Actually, I forgot my zones after I got out the door, so I estimated by setting 120bpm as my max heart rate for this run which began as a slow easy jog. Before two minutes the heart rate was at 125 so I walked to get it down. Then I jogged again for a minute which shot the heart rate back up to 125. After jogging/walking for about 10 minutes I realized I don’t have the faintest idea where my zones are with respect to RPE.

Me: Alexa, What are my heart rate zones?

Alexa: Rocky Point, North Carolina is on Eastern Standard Time

Until tomorrow…