Do you use your HRM properly?

Quick survey just out of interest - It took me 6months from getting my HRM in January to actually using it properly now! I wore it on all my runs, long and short, speed sessions and so on. I set my zones before each exercise and looked at it often. However, I had set a target of around 75% for my long runs - that went out the window within a short period of time, continuing at 85-90%WHR for the whole 15miles. And even on speed sessions, my session was controlled by the speed on the treadmill as a pose to my HR. I only started actually using it properly on Wednesday after having come back from a long period of injury. I'm actually staying religiously within my target zone of 60-70%WHR to attain an aerobic workout. I'm slowing down to prevent my HR going over 70%, even walking in some instances to keep it under control on big hills.

So how many of you actually use the HRM to physically control your workout? Or is it just an expensive stopwatch?



    On my LSD and on my easy days I use it as it is meant to be used mostly ;) but for my speed sessions it is an expensive stop watch.

    Although I wear it for my speed workouts they are goverened by my stop watch.

  • I just use mine to stop me going too fast.

    Heh. I just read that. 's funny.

    Under 70 per cent, is what I mean.
  • ??? Jj? Whats funny about under 70%?
  • I use mine to slow me down too, also to make sure I work hard enough aswell. I wear mine on every work out, I tend to work at about 75-80%
  • I'm thinking of getting one but am not sure whether its necessary for a beginner.
    What do you think?
  • I've had mine for a year and half and found it helped alot, realised I was pushing my self too hard.
  • mines in a drawer somewhere
  • Hi EP

    Just to say the 220 - age is notoriously inaccurate and can be out by between 10 - 20 bpm. Also the formula I have see for females is 226 - age which would give you a MHR of 196.

    One more thing, if you ever get the chance to read "Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot" by John L. Parker you should. Basically he reccomends doing most of your running at around 65% of your MHR. It does take some time to achieve and initially you will spend more time walking than running but it does work.

    I used the cover of darkness last winter to put this into practice ;) few people seen how much walking I had to do at the start. and it did pay off. took about 6-8 weeks though :(

  • i use it as an expensive stopwatch for running but i use it properly to control cycling workouts - its sits proudly sellotaped to a bit of pipe lagging on the front of my tribars and tells me to go faster or slower
  • When I first got my HRM I used to try to run by HR - but found it to be more an art than a science. For example, going out having had a day being wound up at work, or in the morning having had my usual huge mug of coffee a short while previously - both are guaranteed to send my HR soaring.

    Most useful is its ability to record split times (my ancient Polar monitor records up to 44).

    Having said that, I don't ignore the HRs, which are also recorded - but I use them after the event, to get some idea of how much my run has taken out of me (taking into account the various extraneous factors) and how I felt during the run.
    So for example, on Wednesday's interval session, I felt pretty tired before and during the session. This was confirmed by my inability to get my HR up into the 170s (as it would normally do) at the end of my later efforts.
    That determined that yesterday's session would in fact be a day of complete rest, rather than the easyish jog on grass I was originally contemplating.
  • RR - what was funny was writing the words 'me' and 'fast' in the same sentence, that's all! :o)

    MK - John L. Parker's book is excellent, isn't it. I know I came at it from the opposite end of the running spectrum than you, but he got me from running one mile (which had taken me five months to work up to) to running three, within two weeks.

    Which is why I'm evangelical about telling beginners they're going too fast.
  • I'm devising my ascent from injury based on John Parker, its a very good book and very well written
  • Hi JulieJoo

    Yep, I found book great. I also advise new runners to slow down and take it easy for first 6 months at least. I think that most new runners get too hung up on speed to early.


    Using John Parkers advice as you work your way back from injury should have you running stronger and longer with less injuries before you know it. Aim for slow and steady progress There's no rush, you have the rest of your life :))

  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭
    65% seems pretty low Michael. Most people that are running the sorts of times I would like to be seem to be training at a higher intensity than that most of the time. I'm not saying go eyeballs out every run but you to push yourself.
  • MK
    Why the need to walk? I have been running for just over a year would slowing down help me?
  • popsider,

    as I state at the bottom, I'm not saying that this presented evidence is correct but I'm just printing it as my understanding having read the quoted sources

    Having read both JL Parker (HR training for the Compleat Idiot), and Noakes (Lore of Running - P301) on Basing and Sharpening, there is no doubt that speed work is necessary for peak performance. However, Noakes suggests a long period of Long Slow Distance running, ie, at 60-70%WHR (JL Parker), followed by a short period (8weeks pre-race) of sharpening, ie, high intensity, low-volume to build speed on top of a strong aerobic base. Both these sources appear to complement each other in theory, but there are contradictions. Parker suggests some speed training throughout the week all the time in the main schedules. Noakes suggests no speed training during the base training stage. I think this is because Noakes is really targeting the higher levels of performance runner who run a limited number of races per year and at set times of the year so they have time to fit base training into their schedule as they're not racing every w/e or so, whilst I think Parker suggests *some* speed training throughout for us mortals that run every w/e or so.

    Thats the evidence. As above, I'm not saying that its necessarily correct, but I present it here anyway and quote the sources.

    (John L Parker - Heart Rate Training for the Compleat Idiot)
    (Tim Noakes, MD - The Lore of Running
  • EP,

    You said you hit 199 up a hill during a race. Until you attain a value higher than this using a designated professional or self test, then 199 is ur HRmax. If you're following Parker's advice to train most of the time between 60-70%WHR, and ur under no obligation to do so, then you need to work out ur HRrest. Do this by sticking on ur HR monitor b4 u get out of bed in the morning and relax for a few mins. Get an average over a few mornings. Heres the formula to work out ur training zone::

    For 60%WHR
    HRtraining = (HRmax-HRrest)x0.6 + HRrest

    or for 70%WHR
    HRtraining = (HRmax-HRrest)x0.7 + HRrest

    just fill in ur attained values for ur HRrest and HRmax(199) to find ur training zone limits
  • the zone I've been training in is 149->165, so pretty similar, I've found that I'm almost jogging on the spot starting out on the program and I AM walking quite a few times, but in theory sticking to the program should raise aerobic efficiency to a point that ur actually going quite fast in that zone. It takes about 6weeks for any noticable difference so I'll report back after then.
  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭
    I'll have to get hold of the Lore of Running I think.
  • EP - you really need to work out your real maximum, forget about the theoretical ones if they seem too low. I've recorded heart rates of 210 bpm in adrenaline fueled sprint finishes, so that's what I use for the basis of my percentages, and it's bang on.

    Best way of finding your real maximum is see what you get up to at the end of a hard race (need a HRM that records max HR for a session for this), or Parker's book suggests a hill reps based session that you can try. Finding the max in a non race environment is going to take some discipline though, as it's going to hurt working out that hard!
  • I use mine purely for curiosity, i have no idea what my max is, my HRM doesnt record time of over 200 bpm but it has reached that a couple of time doing reps on the cross trainer, is this dangerous?

    How do i work out my max heart rate?

    I have no idea how to set up the different zones

    I havnt been able to try it out running as ive been injured on and off since i got it
  • Your max heart rate according to everything I have read is genetic. I know lots of people who record heart rates of over 200 when they are training.

    Basically Parkers book just states
    1.find your max heart rate by doing hill reps or hard interval session. (maxHR)
    2. find your resting heart rate by taking your heart rate in bed over a week as soon as you wake up. (minHR)
    3. use formula
    (maxHR-minHR)* 0.7 + minHR to work out your 70% working zone
    (maxHR-minHR)* 0.85 + minHR to work out 85% zone.
    Stay under 70% zone on your easy days and aim to go over 85% zone on hard days.
    4. just aim to set the 70% zone in your heart rate monitor but remember you 85% ceiling.
  • I use mine to make sure I work hard enough, otherwise I run every run at conversation pace.

    Just out of curiousity, how did you work out your max RR? Only 90% WGR sounds unsustainable for a 15 mile run, being akin to nearly 10K pace, making me wonder if your max isn't in fact higher than whatever you're using.

  • Laura,

    My HRmax is 211 - I first calculated using the treadmill test, ie, 2 reps of 3mins and got 208, but this was when I had only just started running so I don't think that I went as hard as I could have. I got 211 during a 5k race when I started off waaaaaay too quick and really suffered for it later. I doubt that a laboratory test would put my HRmax much higher than 211 which is already quite a high HR I believe.

    However, note that I didn't sustain 90%WHR for the entire duration of the 15miles - I varied between 75% and 95%, but a significant proportion was in the 85-90% range. Checking my graph afterwards, it was like the Alps! No uniformity because no effort to control my HR and my body did that for me, ie, slowing me a lot when I was knackered and picking up for a short while again and so on
  • Further to my earlier post referencing Noakes and Parker, where I said that there were some contradictions, I have just checked Parker, and there is a chapter towards the back dedicated to periodization (basing and peaking) so as far as I can see, both authors appear to completely complement each other.

    There is an online journal which pretty much describes the intricacies of LSD base training and peaking if you don't want to buy Parker. This article is by 'Hadd' and again appears to complement both Noakes and Parker whilst giving a slightly different perspective (thanks to Michael Keeley for pointing me and others in the direction of this journal in an earlier thread)
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