Heart Rate

Heart rate monitor training allows you to keep a close watch on your heart rate (HR) during training and will help you achieve your goals. Using an HR monitor allows you to measure the intensity of your runs and to gauge your progress towards fitness and conditioning.

First, you need to determine your maximum beats per minute. The best way to accurately measure this is to test it out. After a light warm-up jog, run three ¼ mile sprints (as fast as you can run) with a 30 second walk between each sprint. Then check the beats per minute on your HR monitor. This will give you a measurement of your maximum beats per minute. Another way to measure your maximal heart rate is by using a simple formula: 220 – (your age) = Maximal Heart Rate. It should be pointed out, however, that using a formula like this is popular one is only an estimate and gives you a range you can expect to fall into.

As you move through training, you should begin to see the beats per minute drop while you are running the same speed as you did early in the training period. Fitbit and Polar both make excellent heart rate monitors.

As you train, your heart simply gets stronger and gets better at pumping blood, which produces more oxygen for the muscles. Thus, the more you run, the stronger your heart gets and the easier it is to run.

Your training runs should be at 70% to 80% of your maximal HR. Perform the test to determine your maximal HR and then monitor your heart rate to see that you are training at 70% to 80% of your maximal HR. This may be difficult at first, but stay with it and your heart will adapt, get stronger, produce more oxygen to the muscles, and then runs should become easier. As you move through training, you may find you need to pick up the pace to be at 70% to 80% of your maximal HR.

Heart Monitor Training for The Compleat Idiot is a good resource for learning more about training with a heart rate monitor.