Zionsville Times Sentinel

May 1, 2013

Foundational work will turn your heart into a monster

By Mark Moreland

— Tell me if this story sounds familiar: You strap on your shoes and head out running, but before you are even a half mile down the road your heart is jumping out of your chest and it doesn’t come down until you back off to a super-slow walk that is embarrassing. You don’t want to look slow, so you ramp the speed back up. The same thing happens, so you grind it out and chalk it up to being out of shape.

Yes, you are out of shape, so let’s learn to train in a better way than the “gut it out” method and incorporate “heart efficiency” training. The goal: Develop a MONSTER!

We want two things to be true of your cardiovascular system: (1) It has the endurance to sustain activity over an extended amount of time, and (2) it can recover quickly after bouts of more intense work and when activity stops. To develop this, we need to train you heart to be a pumping MONSTER — every beat delivers a surge of blood and uses the least amount of energy and effort to do this.

Why is training your heart to operate at a lower BPM (beats per minute) important? Visualize bellows — that air-blowing device used to puff up the flames in your fireplace — and compare them to your heart. Place two sets of bellows next to each other that are the same size and work equally well at building a flame but are operating much differently: No. 1 uses strong, long puffs, delivering max air each complete cycle, and No. 2 uses tiny, quick, shallow puffs to do the same work.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.