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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 consider.

You might want to take note of these pointers.

Without these your knowledge of heart rate monitor running training is not complete!

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 and wind.

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 rate!

Indicator Only

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 160 beats per minute).

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 constantly.

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 comment).

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 in between!

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 the Best Running Tips Newsletter or to my site blog

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Go from Heart Rate Monitor Pitfalls Page to Best Running Tips Homepage

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Timex Heart Rate Monitors | Reebok Heart Rate Monitors
Reviews of Individual Models: Adidas miCoach Pacer Review | Garmin Forerunner 310XT Review
Garmin Forerunner 110 Review | Garmin Forerunner 405cx Review
Heart Rate Monitor Training Information: Heart Rate Monitor Training | Heart Rate Monitor Training (Karvonen Method)
Heart Rate Monitor Training (Zoladz Method) | Maximum Heart Rate
Rest Heart Rate | Heart Rate Monitor Training Pitfalls

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