Tag Archives: Heart rate

Really not so cool…

images (15)Last week Michael Jamieson, the Scottish Olympic Silver Medallist Swimmer, announced that he had to have his heart re-started to get it back into rhythm after a particularly hard training session.

His Twitter announcement (@mj88live) included the comments:

“Not really sure the reasons behind it happening, but I went into an irregular beat after reaching 203 heart rate in a session (max is 193).”

“Specialist said he’s only seen this three times, all Olympic medallists – pretty cool!”

Apparently he’s made a full recovery, and returned to training after just 48 hours.  Personally, I think it’s fantastic news that he is fit and well!

I don’t however believe that it’s “pretty cool” to push yourself so hard during a training session that your heart gets knocked out of sync.  Any suggestion that it’s a good thing has to be nuts!

The fact that the Specialist has only seen it three times would suggest to me that perhaps others may have experienced the same issue, but not been so lucky.  Not cool!

imagesCA475PQPI guess I’m particularly sensitive to the story as I spend so much of my time trying to keep my Heart Rate within reasonable limits.  Personally, one of my biggest challenges is to make sure I spend enough time warming up and cooling down so I take care of my Heart.  Going “from rest to maximum effort as quickly as possible” definitely isn’t an option for me, and I would suggest shouldn’t feature in most people’s exercise regimes.

So, horses for courses… I’ll continue with the gentle build up to my Euro City Cycle.  I wish Michael all the best in his build up to next Summer’s Commonwealth Games!  For everyone else… go easy out there!

Another minor milestone (FD +47)

I feel like I’m making real progress on the exercise front.  Some of it is down to exercising.  Some of it is down to understanding the kit and exercising better.

Although I’m still a complete novice, I feel like I’m in a position to provide some advice on cycling (at least cycling in my garage):

Cycling Lesson 1:  It hurts less if you have the right kit!

The shorts, gloves and shoes all made a substantial difference to last nights “ride”.  Why didn’t I think of it earlier!

Yesterday saw the introduction of another training aid too…

I got a tip from a guy at work to try out a Sufferfest video.  Specialising in Cycling Training Videos, they have the motto:

“I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow”  (IWBMATTKYT for short)

They have a range of “entertaining” videos targeted at the stationary cyclist market.  They create training sessions where you follow / copy / compete with professional cyclists performing in competitions (World Championships, Tour De France, etc., listening to fast music, and following instructions “shouted” out via text on the computer screen.

It might sound strange, but the videos provide some useful pointers for the novice cyclist and also create a major distraction from the clock.  In my limited experience, the biggest challenge with inside cycling is clock watching.  Every minute seems to last forever!

For me the intention is clearly not to have a Sufferfest, in fact not to suffer at all!  That’s not really what my exercise is about right now.  For me I’m treating it more as a Recoverfest (Trade Mark pending!).

Irrespective of what the on-screen cyclist does, or the instructions I’m given, the Heart Monitor is the most critical piece of equipment for me.  Keeping below my 118 bpm threshold is essential.

In time, I’m looking forward to testing / pushing the boundaries, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m still only in week 3 of Cardiac Rehabilitation. Much as it would be nice to kick Bradley Wiggins’ ass in a Time Trial (albeit virtual), my goal has to be to put in the miles, to get myself fit and strong, to lay the foundation for the future.

Anyway, the video worked for me.  I would highly recommend checking out The Sufferfest if you’ve not discovered them already.

Breaking news…

All the exercise and hard work has resulted in another minor milestone for me at Cardiac Rehabilitation today…

drum roll…

wait for it…

I was allowed to jog on the treadmill!!!

I’ve got another 5 weeks of Rehab to go.  I’m hoping I might be able to fly by the end of it!


Someone’s going to get hurt!

Standing up and Sitting down (FD + 31)

We are encouraged not to “blur” at Cardiac Rehabilitation as it can result in over-exertion

It turns out that standing up and sitting down on a chair repeatedly over even a relatively short period of time can be tiring.

Yesterday turned out to be a an introduction and assessment day at Cardiac Rehabilitation.  A bit of an anti-climax to be honest, but not a disaster.  The “proper” sessions started this morning.

So… I discovered that walking on a treadmill is fine, cycling on an exercise bike is a breeze, cross-trainer (minus arms) is comfortable, but standing up and sitting down (poor man’s squats, I guess) hurt.  Not a scary, Cardiac Rehab, “somebody get a doctor” kind of hurt, but my legs clearly weren’t used to that kind of exertion.  They hurt then and ache now.

[Try it yourself.  Sit on a normal dining-type chair and stand upright, sit and stand, sit and stand.  Repeat continuously for 3 minutes.  If you struggle, perhaps you need to get some more exercise too!]

It was a different exercise experience for me.  I guess I’m starting from a different place.  I’m not just a little bit unfit.  I have had a Heart Attack.  I don’t really want another one.  So this needs to be about taking the exercise seriously, but not doing too much serious exercise:  Warm up.  Work out (moderate exertion).  Cool down.  And relax.

I now have a maximum Heart Rate.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had one before.  If I have, I’ve certainly never owned a device to monitor it.  I do now. I’ve got a shiny new watch that tells me everything I need to know (unfortunately only while exercising).  My magic number is 118! [220 minus 42 (age) minus 30 (drug factor) multiplied by 80% if you’re interested.]

I tend to keep my shirt on… it reduces stress all round!

I was the only person with a (personal) heart monitoring device (no-one commented, but I did get a few looks).  Everyone else relied on the kit provided – which involved a single measure mid-way through the exercise programme.  I guess there’s a risk that I take this a bit too seriously, but I don’t think it’s over the top to want to know if you’re approaching your maximum heart rate, is it? (I maxed out at 112 bpm, incidentally).

Anyway, 1 session and 715 calories down…
15 and lots more to go!