Using your Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)
A heart rate monitor is a fantastic piece of equipment for runners of all abilities. They provide a personal solution for anyone striving to achieve a fitness or performance goal. If you're committed to running, this may be the most important purchase you will ever make. They give you an insight in to you physical well being and enable you to train much smarter.
Training using a heart rate monitor relies on one basic principle:
Heart Rate (HR) = Work Rate (WR)
Your heart rate directly reflects your work rate. This means that the harder you are working, the higher your HR is going to be. Understanding and applying this principle to your training will help you maximise each and every workout.
HRM's are great for Awareness, Monitoring & Control of your training.
- Your body will let you train harder than is beneficial. Learning how to use your HRM properly will help slow you down at times or can help you maintain an even work-rate (note we didn't say ‘even pace'), e.g. tempo running.
- Your HRM will be able to indicate if you are a little run down or on the verge of becoming ill (see ‘Monitoring').
- Training should be performed at varied intensities, for different durations. As HR=WR, you could find yourself training almost entirely to your HR. This will help you maximise every run.
- Resting Heart Rate - Use a daily and log. If your HR is 5-10 bpm above normal, take care. If above 10-15bpm then do not train.
- Training Heart Rates - Keep to a set heart rate and see how long it takes you to run a set course. Do this from time to time to see how fast you run for the same heart rate. If you are getting fitter, you'll run faster even though your work rate will be the same as before.
- Recovery Heart Rate - Record how long it takes your heart rate to come down to 120 after each run. You soon get an idea of what is a normal time scale for you. If it is much longer than normal, then you may need a rest.
- Using set heart rates to control your pace. This can be set from physiological tests or % of maximum heart rate.
- You can't use the equation of 220 – age, because we are all different.
- To measure you maximum, warm up well and do two flat out 3 minute runs separated by 90 seconds jogging (ideally on a treadmill). The heart rate at the end of the 2nd 3 mins will be your maximum.
- Racing heart rates are different to training heart rates at the same speed (probably due to adrenaline).
- Elevated heart rates for a given running speed indicate you are a little tired from the previous day.
If you are chronically tired, you may struggle to reach your normal training heart rates.
- If you have difficulty in getting your heart rate up, it is probably time to have a rest.
Now you know you want one, which one should you go for?
Entry Level Monitors: If you're new to running, or just new to heart rate training, these entry-level monitors will suit your needs perfectly. These monitors feature bold numbers, one-button operation and show time and heart rate continuously. Entry-level monitors offer you enough information to make you Aware, Monitor & Control your training.
Advanced Monitors: These monitors give you everything you need to know to reach your fitness goals! They counts calories burned, percent of calories burned from fat and automatically determines and guides you to the safest and most effective exercise zone. The Advanced Monitors will give you the best bang for your buck if you want more features than the entry-level monitors offers, but don't want all the capabilities of the Elite Monitors.
Elite Monitors: The Elite Monitors take personal performance monitoring to a whole new level. These Heart Rate Monitors can provide you with critical data like VO2 max and nutrition expenditure along with training conditions like temperature and altitude. These monitors can link to your personal computer so you can visually analyze and track your personal data. If you're truly serious about running and your personal performance, we recommend the Elite Monitors to truly gauge your complete progress.