Learning to Adapt: Troubleshooting the Garmin Heart Rate Monitor

Using the Garmin Forerunner 305 for the first time up the Grouse Grind came with a little troubleshooting. In business, I often find I have to do this because most often something comes up that we didn’t anticipate or plan.

The Garmin looked like a “plug and play” unit that, like my previous Polar, I would be able to use easily. Training for Biathlon, I had always depended on my heart for training intensity. I had a great deal of difficulty using the new heart monitor. Once I returned it to the Running Room, they fixed it by exchanging the receiver.

My original plan was to purchase a Polar HR monitor with splits. However, I was convinced that for the price and the features, the Garmin was my best option. Saturday night I had difficulty sleeping because I was so excited to use my device after uploading the laps for the Grouse Grind. I tried all the steps I knew to troubleshoot the heart rate monitor before I started, including dousing it in water and using my own saliva. It just didn’t work.
After 10 minutes I resigned myself to not having the heart rates and to make do with what I did have. I did a quick warm-up as part of the advanced workout I created. My pacing has always been done by using my heart rates, but I still roughly knew where I needed to be at each section to get my desired time. I managed to get a heart rate of 153 bpm somewhere along the way for nearly a minute and then it went silent again. Keeping a quick pace was difficult without the heart rates because of the slower crowds and the fact that my legs didn’t have the turnover they needed to go quickly.
At the top I scanned my Grind Timer card and then looped around to the back-side of the chalet just like in the Grouse Mountain Run finishes. Even though I didn’t have heart rates, I do have a better sense of split times and I still managed a 43:54 time. This is 5% faster than the same time in 2009. One thing I noticed was that when I completed the Grind with a day in between, the second day was one minute slower. Hint: Going after your record time? Consider more rest days in between Grinds.
My history comes in handy as I complete more training activities and become more comfortable with using the Garmin.
I am looking forward to using the Garmin for many activities including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. This is the start of my chronicle as I aim to reach the top 5 in the 30-39 age category on the Grouse Grind.

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