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Training With A Heart Rate Monitor

Training With A Heart Rate Monitor

Heart rate monitors are used a lot when training today. The question is only, are they really helping or are we rather focusing on something that is irrelevant for us when using them? Why are we really using HRMs?

Basically a heart rate monitor is used to measure your heart speed. The reason you want to measure this is because it is supposed to be a measure of intensity. You want to know at what intensity you are training. This can be helpful to know that you are training with the right level of intensity. Not too light and not too hard.

Measuring your running in miles and minutes is fine when you are starting out, but if you want to become fitter, faster and stronger, then training with a heart rate (HR) monitor will allow you to gauge the true effort you are putting in to every run.

Find your MHR

There is more precision with HR monitor training because it is personal to you and how your body is feeling on any particular day. The first step to training using HR zones is to find your maximum heart rate (MHR).

MHR formula
For a rough estimate, use the following formula:
o Men: 214 – (0.8 x age)
o Women: 209 – (0.9 x age)

So a 33-year-old woman, for example, would be:
209 – (0.9 X 33) 179.3.

Treadmill test

To calculate your maximum HR more accurately – since some people’s can deviate from this estimate by as much as 24 beats per minute – do this simple treadmill test.

Wearing a HR monitor, warm up slowly for about 10 minutes, before running as fast as you can evenly for three minutes. Get your breath back by jogging for a few minutes, then again run as fast as you can evenly for three minutes. Note your maximum HR (this might be halfway through the three-minute bursts rather than at the end).

Resting HR

That’s the hard part over – the next step you must take is to measure your resting heart rate (RHR). For the next five days, take your pulse when you wake up every morning. Add the rates together and divide by five to find an average.

Working Heart Rate

The final step is to calculate what your working heart rate (WHR) should be when you are running. Using the following formula you can calculate your working heart rate at different levels of effort. If you want an easy run at 6o per cent effort, for example, the formula would be:

(MHR-RHR) x 0.60 (per cent effort) + RHR = WHR

So if you have a MHR of 190 and RHR of 55, then your WHR should be 136 beats per minute: (190 – 55) x 0.60 + 55 = 136

Heart rate zones are roughly divided into:
o Easy (60-75 per cent)
o Moderate (75-85 per cent)
o Hard (85-95 per cent)

These percentages refer to your WHR calculated using the formula above rather than a simple percentage of your MHR.

Monitoring your running

As you become fitter, running a certain distance at a certain HR should become easier, on a set route, run at a steady pace and note your time and heart rate. Try the same route again in a couple of weeks at the same steady pace. Your HR should be lower on the second run.


Advantages of Using Heart Rate Monitor

  • You can work out your maximum heart rate and use this as a guide to your different training zones.
  • You can know when you are overtraining. When you are overtraining you will notice your resting
    heart rate will be either higher than average, or you are unable to get your heart rate very high. This can be an invaluable warning sign to reduce the quantity or intensity of your training. Top coaches agree that overtraining can be as damaging as under training.
  • You can do targeted interval training. Interval training is the most important method of increasing your high level capacity. When we do intervals we are stretching our heart muscles and getting the body used to training in anaerobic zone. Without good-targeted interval training it is not possible to reach our full potential.
  • During winter you can train at different base levels. To build up aerobic capacity it is recommended to spend a good % of your training routine working at 65%- 80% of our heart rate. This will increase our endurance and aerobic fitness. This “base” level of training is important for us to be able to do interval training later in the year.

 

Disadvantages of Heart Rate Monitor Training.

  • Our heart rate can fluctuate for various factors such as altitude, weather and temperature. This can make it difficult to compare performances between different days.
  • Heart Rate can lag effort. When beginning a training session our heart rate will climb slowly throughout the period. For example our first interval session at a certain power and effort level will give a lower heart rate than an interval session later in our training programme.
  • Cycle coaches are increasingly seeing the benefits of using a power meter as a more reliable guide to effort. By using a power meter we can more accurately measure our effort and intensity.
  • Overall a heart rate monitor will be a useful tool for a keen cyclist. However it is important not to become a slave to your heart rate. It is not always an accurate indicator of effort. It is also important to try and listen to your body so you can notice the signs of overtraining e.t.c without the use of external aids.

Find Your Heart Rate Monitor at this location.



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