A short, foolproof guide to training by heart rate
A heart rate monitor can help to ensure that you don’t work too hard – or take it too easy! – in training sessions. Depending on the session, your target heart rate will be anywhere between 60 and 95% of your maximum.
To know your target heart rate though, you’ll need to know your maximum. If you’re very overweight or a complete beginner, it’s best to use the very approximate formula of 214-(0.8 x age) for men and 209-(0.9 x age) for women to estimate your maximum.
Unfortunately for 5-10 per cent of the population this figure can be wrong by up to 24 beats per minute. It’s much better to find your maximum through running. Do this by warming up, then running as fast as you can evenly for three minutes (ideally on a treadmill), then resting with two or three minutes gentle running, then repeating your three minute maximal run. During your second run you should get a higher maximum heart rate than with any other method – though use your heart rate monitor to take readings throughout it, as your heart rate may peak before the end.
There are three broad training zones:
But… don’t fall foul to a common misconception: these aren’t percentages of your overall maximum heart rate – they’re percentages based on your working heart rate. It makes a big practical difference to a regular runner. It’s easy to do, but it takes more explanation than most gyms want to deal with.
NB: you can’t usefully use a heart rate monitor to pace intervals below 1000m – rather, the figures above 85% are a guide to what you can expect to reach at the end of each repetition.
I bought a HRM yesterday, a SUUNTO T1. i have been doing a lot of research on how to train. through running, i want to loose weight, but i also want to become fit. i have been training for a couple of months now and i am seeing some results. however, yesterday using my HRM, my average HR was 173, 88% of MHR (195),over 45 mins and it felt like any other day training. my hr went from zone 1 to zone 3 in 20 minutes, and i spent the next 27 minutes above zone 3. i had a hard time, but i could maintain the pace.i have all this data, but how do i turn it into information? how do i set up a training plan or shedule?any advise?
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