Why Train With Heart Rate Monitors?

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Professional athletes including runners and cyclists do not just hit the ground moving. They trained with proper understanding about their heart rate. One’s heart rate is an indication of one’s exercise intensity and you should be aware of this to control the intensity of your running. For those who often mistake the intensity of their running, heart rate monitors will be a great device to use while you train.

According to Tom Craggs, a running coach, the most common issues among runners from beginners to more experienced is that they run most of their session within a very small range of effort. Without heart rate monitors, it would be difficult to spot on when you are running at the right or wrong intensity.

“The easy runs are too hard to fully recover and get the full aerobic benefits they should accrue, while threshold and V02 max run (the harder, interval sessions) aren’t specific or hard enough to get the full benefits at the top end,” Craggs said. “Therefore runners plateau easily and find it hard to achieve significant progress after the first couple of years of training,” he added.

If you train and you are dedicated to improving your performance for your next race or competition, we suggest that you get an activity tracker, in particular, a heart rate monitor. In this way, you can control yourself more and get the best out of you.

Why Use Heart Rate Monitors?

IMG Source: self.com
IMG Source: self.com

Heart rate monitors help you train and race at your own pace effectively. To learn how to use heart rate monitors you should consider the following: (1) the three most important workouts in any training program and (2) the four most popular road-race distances. But you need to determine your maximum heart rate (MHR) first.

How To Get Your Maximum Heart Rate

To get your maximum heart rate (MHR) you can follow the following formula. These formulas have been tested and proven to be working accurately. Both works for runners under 40 years old but the second one (B) appears to be more accurate for runners over 40.

(A) MHR = 208 – (.7 x your age)

(B) MHR = 205 – (.5 x your age)

You can also try for the third option using your heart rate monitor:

  1. Get well-rested, well-dehydrated and well warmed up.
  2. Run hard as fast as you can for 2 to 3 minutes and jog back to your starting point. Repeat this for two more times. On your third repeat, run as fast as you can as if you are competing in an Olympic race.
  3. Check the heart rate during and immediately after your last run. The highest number that you will see is your maximum heart rate (MHR).

How To Use Heart Rate Monitors?

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Now that you are already aware of your maximum heart rate, it is time that you make use of your knowledge. Check out the workout percentage of your maximum heart rate and the activity that suits with it.

Workout Percent of Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

  • Easy run and long run 65-75%
  • Tempo run 87-92%
  • Interval repeats 95-100%

Race Distance

  • 5-K – 95-97%
  • 10-K – 92-94%
  • Half-marathon – 85-88%
  • Marathon – 80-85%

Heart Rate Zones

IMG Source: crossfitbloomfield.com

Some individuals who train also make use of the Heart Rate Zones. Heart rate training zones are calculated by considering you maximum heart and resting heart rate. Find the different heart rate zones below.

Zone 1 (The Energy Efficient or Recovery Zone) – 60% to 70%

Training in this zone develops your basic endurance and aerobic capacity. When you are running in this activity zone you are burning fat slowly that may lead to weight loss. This also allows your muscles to re-energize.

Zone 2 (The Aerobic Zone) – 70% to 80%

Training in this zone develops your cardiovascular system. When you are running in this activity zone you can still hold a conversation. Most training is done in this zone and as you feel fitter and stronger you can run up to 75% to reap the benefits of fat burning and aerobic capacity.

Zone 3 (The Anaerobic Zone) – 80% to 90%

Training in this zone will develop your lactic acid system. Running in this activity zone needs a “comfortably hard” effort. You can still speak when training in this zone but you are limited to short and broken sentences.

Zone 4 (The Red Line Zone) – 90% to 100%

Training in this zone will only be possible for short periods because this is reserved for interval running. Only fit and strong individuals can train effectively within this zone. This required hard effort but the pace is still sustainable. For most individuals, this zone is around the 5-K pace.

How To Get Your Resting Heart Rate

We already provided the formulas to get your maximum heart rate, here’s how to get your resting heart rate.

Without a heart rate monitor:

Find a nice and quiet place, lie down and relax.

Place a watch that you can clearly see while lying down.

After 20 minutes determine your resting pulse rate, this will be your resting heart rate.

When using a heart rate monitor:

Put your heart rate monitor before you lie down.

After 20 minutes check the recordings and determine the lowest value achieved, this will be your resting heart rate.

Best Heart Rate Monitor Watch

There are already fitness bracelets and pedometers that also offer heart rate monitor features. Heart rate monitor watch is also available for use. These wearable fitness trackers or activity trackers are very helpful in keeping you fit and healthy while you train. Here’s the best heart rate monitor watch on the market that you should consider.

Fitbit Surge


This fitness bracelet includes an optical heart rate sensor with PurePulse tech that automatically monitor your stats every few seconds. It also allows you to set a target heart zone, so you can ensure that you are pushing yourself enough.

Garmin Forerunner 235


This heart rate monitor watch is equipped with a built-in optical HR tech. It also features full GPS tracking tech, a water resistant built and a detailed useful Garmin Connect software. When worn all day, Garmin Forerunner 235 will also keep track of your resting heart rate and step.

TomTom Spark


This heart rate monitor watch follows a series of well-received HR and sports trackers from TomTom. It has a reliable built-in heart rate monitors and comes with a GPS and activity tracking tools that make it an all-in-one fitness tracker.

For runners, cyclists and any athletes who train for their endurance and speed, we recommend you to get heart rate monitors. You can wear a heart rate monitor watch to train effectively, get the best out of you and stay on the top.