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Heart Rate Monitor Pitfalls - The Things You Didn't Know
You Needed to Know About Heart Rate Monitor Training
When running with a heart rate monitor, there are a few things to
You might want to take note of these pointers.
Without these your knowledge of heart rate monitor running training is
Especially if you use this beautiful electronic device as the main
guideline for your running training.
Influence of External Factors on Your Heart Rate
Your heart rate is not only influenced by how fast you are running. A
few external factors to consider are temperature, humidity
When the conditions are a little more extreme, i.e. very warm, very
cold, very humid, etc then understand that this will have an effect on
your heart rate.
E.g. when it gets very warm, your heart rate will be higher and will
rise more quickly.T
So, ry to listen to your body as well as to your heart rate monitor.
Influence of Internal Factors on Your Heart Rate
There are also internal factors that influence your heart rate. Stress,
fatigue and health can have their effects.
Keep these factors as well as external factors in mind. Especially when
interpreting results of testruns.
So don't focus too much on your heart rate monitor only. Try to learn
how it feels to do an easy run or a tempo run instead of trying
desperately to stick to a heart rate monitor training zone.
Note that this requires a bit of patience and a lot of practice. It is
however a very empowering feeling when you "just know" that you are
running 5 minute kilometres without having to check your watch or heart
The heart rate displayed on your heart rate monitor is only a gauge of
your training intensity.
So don't focus on a specific figure
(e.g. 155 beats per minute).
It is much better to focus on a zone (e.g. in between 150 and
Want to know more about heart rate training
zones ? Check for the heart rate monitor training zones of
Karvonen and Zoladz
Time to Adjust
Your heart rate takes some time to adjust when you change the intensity
at which you run.
My favourite temposession consists of 2 x 20 minutes
tempo with 5 minutes easy running in between.
I start this training
session with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up (very easy running). If I use my
heart rate monitor during a temporun I will not check it earlier than
ten minutes into the temporun.
Before that time my heartbeat
seems all over the place. If I'd use an alarm for my heart
rate training zone during those first minutes, it would be beeping
So I still take my heart rate monitor on my temporuns. But mainly for
the stopwatch function. I only check my heart rate a few times during
the run. And certainly not during the first 5 to 10 minutes.
No Use in Speedwork
When you go faster than tempo pace, your heart rate monitor loses its
value. Well, that's my opinion.
Your speedsessions are normally only for a shorter period of
time. The time for your heart rate to adjust is too long (see previous
By the way,
proper speedwork usually takes so much out of me,
that I don't really have the time nor the energy to check my heart rate
What I do like about wearing my GPS
Running Watch during my intervals is that I can see
the speed I am running at. This helps, especially during the first few
intervals, when there is always a tendency to go too fast.
Another tool you can use when doing speedwork is the Gymboss,
a clever interval timer.
I hope this helps give you a more balanced view of heart rate monitor
training. Your heart rate monitor is a great tool to have.
However it is not completely perfect, nor can you expect it to be.
Want more running tips?
Then consider a subscription to
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or to my
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Heart Rate Monitor
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Heart Rate Monitor Training Pitfalls
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