We all want to improve. We turn to friends, coaches, the internet all for information on how we can increase our speed and milage, train for a race, and avoid injury. But has anyone told you to wear a heart rate monitor while you run? You may not think much of it but for some people this could be a huge benefit especially if you are someone who tries to go on an “easy” run and ends up winded and realizing your pace was no where near “easy.”
So what are the benefits to using a heart rate monitor? Using one can help runners not run too fast too often. You will also understand what zone you are in when you are working out and completing certain runs. Plus, with all the smart watches out on the market today, keeping track of your heart rate can tell you what your VO2 Max is and help predict race times.
Zone 1- moderate activity (basic warm-up/recovery)
Zone 2- weight control (fat burn)
Zone 3- aerobic training (endurance)
Zone 4- anaerobic training (increases maximum performance capacity-speed)
Zone 5- maximum effort (develops speed)
When you are training and working on your long run and endurance your heart rate should be in zones 2-3. You are at a comfortable pace, easy breathing, the load on your muscles is low, and you will have light fatigue.
If you are working on your speed, improving VO2 max intake, working on building more strength in your legs, you will want your heart rate to fall into zones 4-5 with a recovery phase in zone 1. You will build up lactic acid in these zones due to NOT using oxygen but that’s okay since you are working on fatiguing your muscles.
It will take your heart rate monitor a few runs to better know your correct resting, target and max heart rates. You could use the equation to help find your max heart rate (220-age) but research has suggested using the equation may prove to be inaccurate for most people.
I recently got a Garmin Forerunner 230 that came with a heart rate monitor. I have used one in the past but not consistently. It has been interesting to see where my heart rate is at and I am someone who has to learn to slow down on easy runs, and the heart rate monitor has proved helpful with that!