Heart rate monitors can be a very useful too
for runners. Both novice runners as well as runners with a great deal of
experience can benefit from the use of heart rate monitors while running.
However, most novice runners and even some of the more experienced runners do
not incorporate the use of heart rate monitors into their training simply
because they do not understand how to use these devices or the benefits which
can be gained from training with the aid of a heart rate monitor. This article
will provide an overview of the types of features commonly available in heart
rate monitors and will also provide advice for training with a heart rate
monitor to improve performance.
One of the primary misconceptions about heart rate monitors is that they are
intended for use by those who have heart troubles such as heart disease.
However, this is not the case for commercially available heart rate monitors.
These monitors are used more as training tools for runners and other athletes
than anything else. A heart rate monitor is an electronic device which typically
includes a chest strap as well as a wrist unit. The chest strep is worn around
the chest typically just below the breasts and is used to detect the electric
signals produced by the heart. These signals are recognizable before, during and
after exercise. The electric signals detected by the chest strap are then
transmitted to the wrist unit where the user can read the current heart rate on
the digital display and may even be able to record information for use at a
later time. Typically the heart rate when the runner is at rest or running at a
moderate pace will be lower than when the runner is running at a more rapid
pace. This more rapid pace typically requires greater exertion and will likely
result in an increase in the heart rate. Additionally running up hills can also
cause the heart rate to rise because the steep hill requires the runner to work
harder to climb to the top of the hill.
There are many different types of heart rate monitors on the market today. They
range significantly in price as well as in the types of features they offer.
Generally the more basic heart rate monitors are on the lower end of the price
spectrum and do not have some of the more advanced features often included in
pricier models. The most basic heart rate models typically only have settings
which allow the wrist unit to display the heart rate or the time. They may also
have a stopwatch feature included on the wrist unit. However, more advanced
heart rate monitors typically include a number of more advance features. These
may include the ability to set a target heart rate zone, audible alarms when the
user is not within the target heart rate, a memory to store heart rate
information throughout the workout, a memory to store lap data recorded by the
stopwatch and a feature to calculate the number of calories burned during the
workout. Even more advanced heart rate models may have the ability to not only
store this useful information but also download the information to a personal
computer. Software installed on the computer will then allow the user to create
charts and graphs utilizing the data obtained during the run.
Those who are attempting to use running as a way to lose weight may find using a
heart rate monitor while running can help them achieve their goals. This type of
training can be very beneficial because it allows the runner to determine how
hard they need to be working in order to maintain a heart rate which will enable
them to burn calories efficiently and lose weight. For most runners this heart
rate is equal to 60% of the aerobic training pulse. The aerobic training pulse
is typically determined by subtracting the runnerís age from the number 220.
However, this method of establishing the aerobic training pulse is not always
the most effective method. Those who do not have an alternative method for
establishing this value can use the basic equation involving the age. However,
some heart rate monitors will include a feature which enables the user to enter
some basic information and perform a fitness test which will determine this
value for the user. This is considered to be a much more accurate way to
determine this value.
Running at a target heart rate equal to approximately 60% of the aerobic
training pulse is ideal for weight loss and for the majority of training.
However, competitive runners also do some of their training at a significantly
higher percentage of the aerobic training pulse. In these cases the percentage
may be as much as 90% of the aerobic training pulse but this level of intensity
is typically only sustainable for short periods of time. However, this higher
intensity training can help the runner to improve speed and strength. This type
of training is ideal for runners who are seeking to improve their pace at a
specific distance. For example marathon runner who want to complete a marathon
in a new fastest time or 5K runners who want to shave a few minutes off of their
The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.