A few years ago, I was out on an easy run with a friend. Only a few kms in, he stopped in a panic and said that he couldn’t run any more, as his heart rate was hitting over 200. He looked completely fine so I was rather confused as to how this could be the case… so I asked him if he felt out of breath or if he could feel anything strange. “No, but my watch says that my heart rate is 210!”
The above is the perfect example of where technology fails us and most importantly, how being completely reliant on technology can be a mistake.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my heart rate monitor and I love getting the feedback that it provides during my workouts. BUT I use it with the knowledge that it is unlikely to be 100% accurate and that there are days when it will give me readings that clearly don’t make sense (and with the increased popularity of wrist-based HR monitors, this is even more of a common occurrence).
The key here is that I use it as a supplementary tool to benefit my training; but I certainly never use it as something that is more important that my own internal feedback. Our greatest training tool is our own perceived effort, and any other readings should be seen as additional information over and above this. As a general rule, if the readings you’re getting don’t make sense in relation to how you’re feeling, they’re probably wrong.