What do HR Monitors do and why would I need one?

HR monitors utilize your personal data to calculate your different target HR zones from which you should train or exercise from. Well…what does that mean?

Basically, if you are a runner and you always run a 10K at the same pace and the same HR, you won’t get faster; simple as that. Our bodies need adaptation and periodization in training; we need to push beyond our comfort zones and train at various intensities as well as break down the body to enable it to recover, adapt and become stronger, faster, etc.

Let’s say you run your 10K at a 10 sec per mile faster pace this week. Now you know you are running at a faster pace but if you have a HR monitor on as well, you are then able to have two variables to aid you in your tracking of fitness. 1) pace 2) Heart Rate. The goal in training is that you will adapt the body to be able to run that faster 10K and maintain at a lower HR. The first time you run faster your HR will most likely sky rocket a little…but as you adapt and settle into your new pace and new training routine, your HR will also adapt and your fitness will improve over time.

There are invariably dozens of other training zones and factors that enable you to reach optimum performance in whatever your discipline is. The more you understand the why and how of what you are doing, the less time and effort you will waste on the “quantity” and the more time you will spend on the “quality” of training. If you are a squash player, understanding the HR zone that you stay in during a match allows you to “train” your system within and above that zone.

If you are an endurance athlete or triathlete, understanding ALL of your training zones and how much to train within each and at what part of the season is crucial to your growth as an athlete. Understanding aerobic and anaerobic capacity, sub-lactate and lactate zones, etc. are all part of the puzzle. The biggest blunder in endurance sports is in the mindset that “more is more”. Training smart and not necessarily more is how you will reach your goals this season. And, starting out with an understanding of your HR zones and how to train within them, in combination with strength and stability work, is your best start!

If you would like to better understand how to take out the “garbage yardage” of your training and start training with purpose and quality, or, if you just need help getting started, email our Outdoor Adventure Coach, Brandyn Roark and she will help you pick out a HR monitor or just teach you which zones you need to train within.

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