For my birthday, I received a brand new running watch, the Polar RS 200 . After I’ve used it a little longer I’ll write a review. But today the discussion turns to heart rate monitoring. The watch came with a heart rate monitor and it’s made me curious as to what to do with it. Actually, the posts that Arcaner has done on his blog made me curious. The monitor just made it possible for me to do something about it.
In the latest issue of Chicago Athlete Magazine they have an article about how to use heart rate monitors for training. Here’s what they say.
Determine your heart rate profile
When you exercise, your heart rate changes depending on how hard you are working. By figuring out your heart rate profile you can determine whether you are working out at just the right level. There are a variety of heart rates that you want to determine.
1. Ambient heart rate. This is how much your heart beats while you are just sitting around doing nothing strenuous. Most people will be around 70 beats per minute (bpm). This joggler clocks in around 60 – 65. In general, the more you work out the lower this heart rate will be.
2. Resting heart rate. This is the speed of your heart right when you wake up in the morning. I haven’t figured mine out just yet. Tomorrow I’ll try to do that.
3. Maximum heart rate. This is the maximum number of beats your heart can make in a minute. See this excellent write-up by Sally Edwards to figure out your maximum heart rate. I haven’t quite figured mine out but it is around 195 – 200 bpm. I’ll report again when a more thorough test is done.
Figuring out maximum heart rate
+ A quick way to determine maximum heart rate is to use the following formula.
210 minus 50% of your age minus 5% of your body weight (pounds) + 4 if male and 0 if female
+ A more involved method is to monitor your heart rate while you run really easy for 2 minutes. Increase to moderate activity for 2 more minutes and record your heart rate. Finally, increase the intensity to almost the most you can handle and do this for 2 minutes. Record your heartbeat and that will be close to your max.
How to use heart rate for training
In the magazine there is a chart that shows various heart rate “zones” which represent how hard you should be training.
For example, my max heart rate is about 200. So I should target the following heart rates based on the exercise I’m doing.
1. Joggling warm-up or cool down – HR ~120
2. Joggling long run – HR ~140
3. Faster tempo run – HR ~160
4. Long interval workouts – HR ~180
5. Short sprints and hills – HR 190 -200
It all seems to make sense to me and since this is a way to improve training and get faster, I should try it. And if you’d like to improve your running, you should try it too.
But be careful when you are trying to push your heart rate. As we’ve seen from previous heart research, it can be a little dangerous.
If you are curious, click on the picture of the Sally Edwards book to learn more.