Tracking your heart rate during your workouts is an excellent way to improve your routine. It is useful to ensure you are training hard enough but also not too hard. It can be a fun metric to track and a good way to see continuous improvement as you continue to train. Heart rate tracking has never been easier than it is today with all the new wearable technologies. Now instead of wearing a chest strap you can track your heart rate with only a watch or fitness tracker, these fitness trackers also allow you to track your heart rate continuously through out the day, not just your work out but also at work and even while sleeping. By tracking your resting heart rate you can also gauge whether or not you are fully recovered from your last workout or if you need more rest to avoid overtraining.
Why train with a heart rate monitor?
Heart rate monitors allow us to track how hard our bodies are actually working. As humans it is hard to judge a workout’s intensity solely on our perceived effort. By tracking our heart rate we can ensure we are working hard enough during intense workouts and also ensure that we are running easy enough during our recovery runs. We can do this by utilizing heart rate zones.
Their easy runs are too hard to fully recover and get the full aerobic benefits they should accrue, while threshold and VO2 max run (the harder, interval sessions) aren’t specific or hard enough to get the full benefits at the top end.
Therefore runners plateau easily and find it hard to achieve significant progress after the first couple of years of training.
How to train with a heart rate monitor
To effectively use a heart rate monitor during training you should use heart rate zones. You will need to calculate your hear rate zones, and these will primarily be dependent on your age and current fitness level. Once you have determined your heart rate zones then you can take them to the pavement with you. On all your recovery runs ensure that your heart rate is within your recovery heart rate zone, this may feel slower than you are used to running your recovery runs in but that is the beauty of using a heart rate monitor, you will now truly be running at a pace that will allow your body to recover. The same is true for endurance runs, VO2 max runs etc. Whatever your plan is for your workout look up the corresponding heart rate zone and be sure to stay within the zone the entire workout.
Comment below how you like to use your heart rate monitor.