I may have just experienced my first real endorphin, because hot damn that workout felt great, even though I was pushing myself more than I have done in years, apparently.
Today was the first day of the new experiment with the heart rate monitor and trying to get into a proper training zone. My previous workouts on the elliptical were done on an incline of 10 (out of 20) and at a tension of 5 (out of 20). I had briefly flirted with a tension of 6 for about 2 minutes about a year ago, but it was hard so I quickly went back to 5 (hangs head in shame).
Yesterday when I wore the new heart rate monitor for the first time to properly see how I was doing vis a vis training zones, I was properly mortified to see how easily I had actually been taking things (albeit unintentionally). Although my elliptical workouts felt tough to me (in my head, anyways), that was just an illusion - - my body was so accustomed to the workouts that they were just not challenging enough any more (challenging, that is, physically).
Today I resolved to push the tension up until my heart rate went into a proper training zone. No more baby tension for me - - today I started at a tension of 6...then 7, but after 25 minutes my heart rate was only begrudgingly above 121 bpm. It was clear that drastic measures were required. That's right - - it was time for tension 8.
It turns out that 8 was the magic number, for me at least. You can see in the above chart exactly where I kicked it up to 8, because it's where my heart rate went into the green zone (121-139) and stayed there pretty consistently until the end.
I can really feel this workout in my legs right now, which is the first time in a long time that I have noticed my legs after an elliptical workout, so maybe there is something to this heart rate zone training after all.
All I know is that I felt great throughout my workout, and I felt super great after it finished - - full of energy and ready to tackle the world. Fortunately I was able to have a rye and Diet Coke and sit and read for a bit until the feeling passed, but wow, it felt great while it lasted! (grin)
It looks like heart rate zone training will continue to be part of my ongoing workout routine. Level 8 - - I'll be back for you tomorrow!