Sharing my stats is a clear sign I’m beginning to exhibit compulsive runner behavior, but it’s a runner’s blog, so there you go. Sharing my stats from today’s ten miler to illustrate how I’m going to use my heart rate monitor as my primary tool to get me to the finish line. Now that I’m tracking my stats, I’ve discovered that I have been starting to walk/run once my heart rate exceeds 160 beats per minute (BPM). That’s a function of my current fitness which I could no doubt exceed if I were twenty-five pounds lighter. In fact I have. Below are my stats from my last marathon four years ago.

You use the BPM tool like this. Subtract your age from 220 to know your max heart rate. Mine is 161. Four years ago, mine was 165. Experts say you should target running between 50% and 85% of your max heart rate. At 85%, that suggests I should run with my heart rate around 136, or four years ago, around 140.

During today’s run, I read my heart rate at 144 BPM just short of four miles. I purposely slowed myself down, by shortening my stride (my stats proved I maintained my cadence), and monitored it closely so that I didn’t reach 160. I was able to actually slow it down a couple of beats, although it crept back up to 151 by the end of the run. My experience was that I was able to comfortably run ten miles.

You might notice that my stats from the Colorado Marathon four years ago show I averaged more than 10 BPM over my max heart rate for the duration. Apparently, it’s not a sudden death limit as my max was over 200. Probably lucky to still be alive, but I was much more fit back then. You might also notice the Apple Watch graphing software really sort of sucked four years ago.

I’ll practice this more but I suspect if I can maintain a pace around eleven minutes per mile, I’ll be able to keep my heart rate below 150 and that will enable me to keep running. Maybe even below 140, which is what I should really target to avoid a heart attack. I’ve always enjoyed running without a watch, but I have to say, tech is cool.