At a recent speaking engagement, I was asked about monitoring my system via a variety of different means and devices.
One of those in attendance pondered: “What is your resting heart rate?”
“I don’t know. Low,” I replied. I wasn’t going for a joke. I honestly have very little idea of what my heart rate happened to be. I got it measured at an expo back in July after two days of book signings and speaking, and at the time it was 40. I don’t know what it is when I am resting.
The follow-up questions revolved around training with heart-rate monitors and measuring pace by various devices such as GPS. I am sure they are all wonderful ways to keep track of data (and I really like data) ,but to this point they are not something I have delved into. I spoke to a good friend recently whose husband did an Ironman a few months ago. During the swim his watch was kicked off of his wrist. For the rest of the 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running he had no watch whatsoever. If he had been a slave to his watch he might have very well panicked. Fortunately, he trusted his training and relied on what he had become used to in his own body and mind to get him through the race.
I have been the same way for quite some time. To me, whether I feel good means a quite deal more than if my watch tells me I am running well. This past weekend in Kansas City I was running a marathon and my usual first six miles of misery were compounded more than usual. I felt sluggish and slow. My watch told me I should be speeding up a little bit to keep with the pace I wanted to run. However, I knew pushing the pace here might be disastrous. So I listened to my body, stuck with the pace, and about halfway through finally shook out of the funk. I ended up negative splitting the rather challenging course and running a solid time for me.
If I had paid too much attention to what my devices were telling me, I may have ended up on the ground far from the finish. Instead, the most important thing—how I felt—dictated my race pace. I finished smiling—happily completing my 120th lifetime marathon.