So I’ve been wearing a Whoop fitness tracker for the last three months or so. It’s geared toward high-performing athletes, and it’s very useful for tracking heart rate during athletic activities, as well as sleep and recovery. Although I’ve been running and exercising regularly, I’ve been unable to push myself far enough to meet the level of strain that the app says is necessary for significant cardio load.

For example, a run I did on Friday, 2.3mi at a t 9:11/mi, 21m total, comes in at a 10.9 strain measurement. That equates to 18m spent at 80-90% of my maximum heart rate. Strain between 10 and 13.9 is considered moderate, that is, the cardiovascular load is significant but not strenuous.

The best I’ve been able to do was a 16.8 on a run, the GPS was messed up so I don’t know exactly how far, but I believe it was about 5.5m. 58m running, 50m at 80-90% of my max HR. That was a pretty good run for me, although I don’t have the pace. Yesterday though, I did the same run and hit a 17.4, which is enough for the device to tell me that I need to take it easy today.

It almost killed me.

The weather was really warm yesterday, so much so that I was able to go running shirtless, up to this point in the season I’d been dealing with cooler temps, but I actually felt like I was getting some sun yesterday. That was sort of the point, to work on my tan. Now I don’t know if it was the fact that I run 2.7m the day before, a light one for me, or the heat, or something else, but about halfway through the run I knew something was wrong.

The mantra I’ve been telling myself on these runs is that all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other. As long as I don’t hurt myself I can finish. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew, but I’ve done this very same run on at least four or five occasions and have had no problems. Not in warmer weather during 2PM in the afternoon.

I kept going as long as I could, at one point I was jogging at no more that a walking pace, bursting across intersections and driveways where cars were pulling in and out. About a mile from my house I had to start walking. I tried to give myself some time to cool down and gave it one more push when I got onto my street, but I couldn’t do it and had to finish under a walk.

I got home, grabbed some water and sat on the porch to drink and started feeling lightheaded. I tried different positions, putting my feet up, or my head between my knees, to alleviate what I suppose was something like heat stroke. It lasted no more than ten minutes.

I was fine the rest of the day, but was probably the worst I’ve felt following an exercise. So today my recovery score is super low, and the Whoop is telling me to keep my strain below 13.8, which would probably take a three mile run to hit.

This thing is going to kill me. But if you’re a professional athlete or just someone who wants to get in shape, this thing will Whiip you into shape.

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