Gary Gellin – Running and Racing with a Heart Rate Monitor

February 18, 2013

Gary Gellin is an accomplished ultra runner that places consistently in the top 5.  He also trains and races with a heart rate monitor.  Join us as we discuss his heart rate monitor strategy.  For those of you that have high heart rates, this is a MUST listen to.  You may sleep better at night knowing you are not alone and, in fact, an elite runner can have a high heart rate.

Closing Song: “Kashmir” by Bond

You can find us on iTunes or listen by using the player below.

  • Matt Bauer

    I heard the member question posed about irregular heart rate readings early in the run. I don’t think the answer addressed the problem. This is an issue with most HR straps that early in a run before you build up a sweat (especially wearing a tech t in a cool dry climate) the monitor will not pick up your HR well.

    You may notice it spikes at a rate similar to your cadence (180+ BPM). It is actually picking up the static from your shirt “swishing” as you run, until it gets a better “connection” with your chest.

    Try licking the contacts, or better yet electrode gel and putting it on the contacts before you start. Also some staps are better than others.

    Check out this post for details…

    • Mike Hillrunr

      I recently started using a HR monitor and often see erratic readings for the first 1/2 mi or so, and then it will settle down to proper readings. Thanks for the link to the dcrainmaker post. I had looked on his site but did not find that one.

  • Bjorn

    Hey Don,
    if you are interested in how to feed GPS data into your Garmin, here is how I do it. It may look complicated, but I use all free software.
    (1) I use a detailed walking map (1:25.000 scale or better) and figure out the route I want to run
    (2) I track the route in Google Earth (not, but the standalone program) using Tools->Ruler->Path. You can now draw a path by clicking on the map. It will connect all the points with lines and create one long path. If you make a mistake, right-click will remove the last point you added.
    (3) When you finished you have to save that path. Give it a name you will recognize and it will appear in your list of “My Locations”.
    (4) Right click on the name in the “My Locations” list and choose “save location as…” to save a .kmz file to your hard drive
    (5) Go to and convert the kmz file to the Garmin format by choosing “Garmin course .tcx” from the drop down list
    (6) Open the tcx file with the software that comes with your Garmin device. In my case that is Garmin Training Center. File->Import->Courses
    (7) View your courses in Training center and choose “Send to device”. The course will then be on your watch.
    (8) You can start tracking by selecting “Training->Courses->name-of-the-course” from your watch menu.
    (9) Go out and run!

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I should probably copy that to the forum so more people will find it.

  • Jonnylane

    This podcast made me feel a whole lot better. I’m a trail runner at heart (but do 50% of my training on road for logistical reasons) and have been running for about 5 years. I’m a middle of the pack kind of guy, usually finish comfortably in the top half when racing but love hills and rough trails and race whenever I can, usually in the 10-25k range. My heart rate behaviour doesn’t sit on any line of best fit. At 30, my theoretical max is 190. My ‘easy’ pace HR is around 165 in the first few km and 170 in the last few km, my 10k hilly trail HR is around 175-180. During hill intervals, which I do once per week, my HR will peak at about 186 (probably 90% max effort at a guess) and trough at 160 during rest. My resting HR is around 55bpm.

    When I first picked up a Garmin a couple of years ago, with a HR monitor, I almost had a fit when I noticed my HR, especially, my easy pace HR. By common lore, I should be near death but can happily maintain this for a couple of hours (the limit of my endurance at present). After a few months, I gave up on wearing the HR monitor and decided to listen to my body rather than obsess over the numbers (quite difficult, as I’m a physicist by trade!). I’m a freak (?), but I’m progressing with my training so I can’t be doing anything too wrong. If I can’t apply science to my training sobeit, but I have no intention of being at the front of the pack; I’m in it for the mud, fast downhills, rock hopping and dusty handshakes at the finish line. I’m happy enough as long as my body is.

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