Heart Rate Monitors
The use of heart rate monitors is steadily growing as more and more runners come to appreciate that heart rate monitors are one of the most useful training accessories you can buy.
When can I use heart rate monitors?
Heart rate monitors provide you with vital information about your training - while going by instinct is great at times, if you are seriously training for a race, you need exact data to track your performance and the effectiveness of your workouts. Heart rate monitors can tell you how hard you are training, which is crucial for three reasons:
• Many people over train: Do you over train? Over training means spending too much time at high heart rates, and while this might sound good - after all, you are working hard - it is ultimately destructive. Too much training at high heart rates can lead to injury and breakdown, ruining your training.
• Many people under train: On the other side of the coin, there are plenty of people who don't like to push themselves hard. As a result they go so slowly that they never make any progress.
• Finding your training zone: Ultimately, this is what a heart rate monitor is all about. If you know what your heart rate zones are, what training in each of them does, and how long you spend there, you can plan your training to spend the correct amount of time at easy, medium, and hard efforts.
If you start looking for heart rate monitors you will quickly see that there are lots of choices, and at widely different prices. Which you choose will therefore depend on your budget and your attitude towards technology.
You can spend as little as £30, for which you get a basic model that tells you your current heart rate, elapsed workout time, and, when you're done, your average heart rate. For many runners, that will be all they need, and will be enough to improve the quality of their training.
If budget is no object and you like to play with hi-tech toys, then you will find that the top end models, which cost several hundred pounds, allow you to download all your workout data to your PC.