How many Top Runners use a Heart Rate Monitor


I use a heart rate monitor for all of my training but I am considering giving it up for more straight  forward training like how you feel, pace etc.

I was just wondering how many of you use one to train by and how many top runners use one to train with,if anyone knows?




  • Ian, I've stopped using mine, but I'm no top runner. I am enjoying my running more without it though.
  • I've just started using one, primarily cos I tend to try and get PBs every time I go on a training run and this way I can aim for a slower pace and still have a goal i.e. lowering heart rate while maintaining slower pace. I am certainly not a top runner.  
  • I am not knocking them by the way. I think they are a great tool, and Rachel that is a great reason to want to use one.
  • Have always trained to how I felt with an overlay to include a smidgeon of speed/tempo stuff. Have the HR gizmos but use for interest. Never influences my training. Maybe it should. I'm sure it prevents overtraining for those who might be prone to such excessimage

  • I've just got one, as part of the Garmin 305 GPS unit. To me the GPS was the starting point, the HRM a bonus. My findings so far are that it is a useful racing aid for pace judgement, as feel is particularly poor over HM to ultra distances. The GPS pace is a bit up and down depending upon which satellite has just been used for the maths, but the HR is a rock solid indicator of effort.

    Once the runner has adequate data they can judge what the optimum HR should be for the particular race distance and go for that. I don't think that keeping it constant when climbing is correct, but it is easy to see when you might be chasing the pace and entering the boil over zone. Alternately is the scenario when you've tried too hard too early, and just can't get the HR up because the legs are too mashed.

    I'm not a top runner, but my first HRM/GPS monitored marathon is coming up on Sunday. Wish me luck/

  • Blisters; the 'live' HR is too up and down to be of use. The HR , pace, whatever, set to display the average for the session as it progresses, is the mode I use most.
  • Can anyone tell me how to set the display to show average HR on a 305  I can't find the manual and am a total klutz with toys (and can't read the default tiny figures anyway!)
  • HBIT.............starting from the beginning

    Turn on the 305

    Hit the 'mode' button till 'Settings' appears' cursor down and hit the 'enter' button on 'Settings'

    Hit 'enter' button on 'General' 

    Hit 'enter' button on 'Data fields'

    Select the appropriate mode, ie 'Running 1' hitting 'enter'

    Select number of diplays required on the screen

    Choose displays accordingly, clicking on the display and then selecting rqd choice

    Took me ages with the manual!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks.  I've printed those instructions.  As long as I don't put the printout in the same 'safe place' as the manual I'll be fine image
  • No worries HTIB..........................image
  • [Drums fingers on table.]

    C'mon. Let's have just ONE top runner who does HRM training. Or someone who personally knows ONE top runner who does HRM training ...

  • 'Treadmill'
    The live HR simply measures what your HR IS!

    If I was at work and saw a patient with a HR of 220 for 2 minutes, but at 120 for the rest of the hour, which would be more important - the 'here' and now' 2 mins - or the average of 122?

    Of course the live HR is up and down - it is the objective measure of increasing and decreasing effort!

    I'm a rubbish runner, V.  But I use it image 

  • C'mon now Vrap - I was under the impression that you have achieved a GFA entry for next year's marathon.  Something about adaptation...  I'm sure there was mention of a HRM in there somewhere.

    Maybe really top athletes don't read the forum.

  • I have used one for data purpose, but not to govern my training.  I can see how they could be very beneficial to some people.  I guess I just enjoy running to how I feel.

    However, talking of top athletes I read that Paula R uses one.  There's plenty of articles of her using one to control her HR while pregnant and during the Athens marathon.  Just do a google search to read them.

  • Indeed, Helegant. But I'm not a "top runner" AND I put my HRM back in its box and reverted to training according to perceived effort in June because I wasn't enjoying running at 70%WHR and walking up hills I was perfectly capable of running up, and after about 2 months of fairly good compliance with the Parker regime my 70%WHR runs weren't getting any faster. 

    The adaptation I'm talking about is the effect of lots of years of mostly slow running image 

  • Why do you think your 70% runs didn't get faster? 

    Idea: Was it because your years of slow running meant that you were already at some sort of theoretical maximum for base training? 

    Why do some other runners swear by it?  Why does it seem to work for some and not others?

  • I've been googling.

    Paula Radcliffe - apparently uses Nike triax C8, there's various stuff if you google about her using it to keep her HR below a certain level during pregnancy. Sam Thompson who did 50 marathons in 50 days wears one. But there's not much info beyond that. Most of the links I found concerned female runners using them so they could run safely during pregnancy.

  • I know several top runners, none of whom where HR monitors for training or racing.  They train at target pace (track) or perceived effort (road / trail).

    Looking at Paula's website there are plenty of pictures of her wearing what appears to be a regular wrist watch (no sign of chest strap) and often without a watch at all.  I guess what she actually wears and what she says she wears may depend on what products her sponsor is pushing at that time.

  • I suspect you're right, Helegant. I also suspect that the runners used as "case histories" in the Parker manual might have achieved the same (mostly quite unremarkable, when you actually strip out the hyperbole and look at the numbers)  improvements in their race times by training consistently doing mostly easy-paced running using perceived effort.

    There are almost certainly genetic variations in the ability to respond to HRM-type training. 

    Or maybe it's because I didn't do it properly. It could be because I sometimes let my HR drift up over 75% for a short time on uphills, which someone on the Fetch thread told me rendered the entire run worse than useless for training purposes even though my average WHR was less than 70%. Or it could be the anaerobic work I did while rock-climbing. 

    Having said that, I would advise any new aspiring long-distance runner to use a HRM and stick to 70%WHR at the beginning while their leg muscles and associated structures adapt to the stress of running. If I'd done that, I might have avoided two long layoffs due to injury.

  • Maybe the question in the context of people on RW is not how many `top' runners use them but how many people of average ability have used one to progress to the next level. As JEJ states the better runners will run on a track or have enough experience to run by perceived effort.  However in order to get to that stage of knowledge it may be beneficial for some to pass through a HRM stage first to equate their perceived effort to objective HR data.
  • Thanks V.  That advice makes sense, and my experience is that 'taking it steady' has enabled me to exercise from April until now without injury.  I think that's the longest injury-free exercise time in my life so far.

  • ... and maybe to train their bodies to perform consistently for a given effort level?

  • There is some good points there. I think what I was really asking was can you become a top runner using heart rate monitor training or can you only get to a cetain point training with heart rate monitor?
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