I had heard about training with a heart rate monitor and thought, “oh that’s cool, but not for me.” Why? Because it sounds complicated and expensive. So I read some pieces about it, then moved on.
Then saw some more pieces about it, read a little, and moved on.
But as this process continued my interested continued to get peaked. So I decided to actively seek out some research on what heart rate monitor training is all about and it’s benefits.
In this post, I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty scientific details of heart rate monitors, but I would like to tell you about my experience and give you a little bit of information on why they work.
The essence of heart rate monitor training is knowing how hard your heart is working relative to your body’s capacity for the activity you are doing. Most heart rate monitors are attached to a strap that you wear around your chest while you are exercising. Your heart’s fitness level is the key to your aerobic endurance, also known as “cardiovascular respiratory endurance.” Your heart can only beat so hard for so long before you’re not doing yourself any good anymore. Heart rate monitors are the most effective aids for tracking and improving your aerobic endurance.
Aerobic endurance is one of the most significant factors in your speed as a runner. Being aware of the “work-rate” of your hearts is the most accurate method of determining how much benefit you are deriving from your workout.
A heart rate monitor helps you avoid over stressing your body so that you maximize the efficiency of your training, while minimizing the risk of injury. Once you determine the true intensity of your workouts you can use the monitor to gauge whether your hard days are truly challenging, and whether your recovery days are really allowing your body to recover.
The monitor can also help determine whether you are training hard enough to improve your performance. If your heart rate drops below a certain level during your training, a heart rate goal for that particular day of training, the monitor will let you know to increase your pace to achieve the goal rate.
I had heard from others that when they started with a heart rate monitor they felt like they were being held back and not necessarily getting the same challenging workouts that they were getting before. I felt the same way today – my first workout with the HRM. The goal for today’s work out was to keep my heart rate between 136 and 152, while running. I quickly realized that I could only run 4.2 MPH, about 13:19 min pace, in order to keep my heart rate in the goal zone. I also had to walk occasionally to keep my rate down.
But what amazed me is that after my 30 minute training session, I felt like I could have run for 2 more hours. If I had run at my usual pace of 6 MPH, or 10:00 min pace, I would have felt spent after 30 minutes. My heart would have been pounding and I probably would have rationalized not going to the gym the next day cause I felt fatigued from the day before.
I may do triathlons, I love triathlons, but that doesn’t mean that I love running – not by a long shot. But today, I learned to love running because I didn’t beat up my body, or my heart, in the process.
I have the Adidas MiCoach Heart Rate Monitor. The data from the actual heart rate monitor is transmitted to a piece that fits into my iPhone where it is recorded into the MiCoach app, which is free. You create a profile online and can sign up for various training programs, depending on your goals.
While you listen to music you have selected from your iTunes account, you are coached through your workout. It’s awesome, easy to set up, and makes working out fun. It’s like having a personal trainer without having to pay for one
If you have worked out with a HRM, let me know about your experience. If you haven’t, and you’d like to improve the health of your heart, I’d definitely recommend it.