My '180 formula' running experiment - Day 1

Today was the beginning of my latest attempt to 'get into' running. It's been well over a year since my last run and having recently read Christopher McDougalls newest book, Natural Born Heroes I felt inspired to get my trainers on and hit the road. It works in my favour that I haven't run for a long time as I'm going to try a little experiment and see how I get on using Dr Phil Maffetone's 180 formula which enables you to find the ideal maximum aerobic heart rate to base your training on. Basically you subtract your age from 180 and then select which of the following categories applies to you:

A. If you have or are recovering from a major illness (heart disease, any operation or hospital stay, etc.) or are on any regular medication, subtract an additional 10.
B. If you are injured, have regressed in training or competition, get more than two colds or bouts of flu per year, have allergies or asthma, or if you have been inconsistent or are just getting back into training, subtract an additional 5.
C. If you have been training consistently (at least four times weekly) for up to two years without any of the problems just mentioned, keep the number (180–age) the same.
D. If you have been training for more than two years without any of the problems listed above, and have made progress in competition without injury, add 5.

I'm just getting back into training so I fit into category B and I'm 31 so my calculation is 180 - 31 - 5 which gives me with a maximum heart rate of 144bpm.

So this morning I setup my TomTom watch with my maximum heart rate, stepped out into the sunshine and started to jog and almost immediately the watch started beeping. I had a feeling that this would happen having read other people's experiences online but it is still surprising to see just how little effort it takes to hit that maximum heart rate. I tried to slow down, it's like running on the spot and I honestly could have walked faster than I was 'bouncing' along but I stuck with it in order to see if it got any better. The incessant 'unhappy' bleeping of the watch as I went over 144bpm was rather disheartening but then on the flip side it was nice to hear the 'happy' bleep when my heart rate dropped again. This up and down bleeping carried on pretty much until I got to my destination (my local Decathlon store) 4km down the road where I had a brief stop to get the bits I needed to replace the brake cables on my mountain bike.

Setting off again to head home I found that the watch wasn't bleeping so I checked it and I was running along at 139bpm, nice! It was by no means perfect but the route home was much improved and I'm starting to think that I can manage to run more than 200 metres without a bleep, so watch this space to see how I get on!

There are a couple of things I'd say to anyone interested in trying this out for themselves - firstly you will be slow, so slow that you feel like you're not really moving, and secondly be prepared to be overtaken by brisk walkers!

Statitics: 8.3km in 1:05:37