Heart Rate Monitors

Hello all,
I'm thinking of buying a HRM - should I? What one? Where can you buy online? Do they really help training for a marathon?

Do you have to wear a strap around your chest on all models?


  • I rather like the idea of actually knowing precisely how hard I am training, but others may feel differently.

    You may want to spend a little time browsing on the net to learn more about them. Personally I want no interference with the HRM of other runners (i.e. a coded transmitter), at least 3 zones, a legible display (yes, the eyes are getting old...) and the ability of changing the batteries myself (I don't fancy forking out EUR 25 every so often for the manufacturer to do a simple job).

    By elimination it looks like I will be buying a Timex Ironman Triathlon. A friend kindly lent me his old Polar HRM (a very basic model) which allows me to familiarize myself with HRMs and take my time in finding what I really want.


    Re your PS: Yes you do.
  • LaceUp,

    I am also currently looking for an HRM. Check out the manafacturers websites for specs etc, but try buying from Ebay if you want a bargain.
  • I`ve recently upgraded to a Polar S410 and I gotta say its the dogs danglies!! This HRM connects to your PC and you can download all your training stats or upload an interval session. It came with PC Coach which is a computorised training schedule/diary thingy, which gives loads of fancy graphs and charts of your heart rate and targets etc. Its also coded so it won`t interfere with your training partner`s HRM. The only thing I don`t like is the age old problem of it not working on a treadmill as the electrics of the treadmill seem to interfere with the transmission of the signal, but that`s happened on my previous HRM`s. RRP is £150 (not cheap I know) but I got mine for £130 This is where I got mine.
  • LaceUp, do a search on the forum and you'll find the debate over the usefulness of HRMs has a longstanding pedigree! Personally it has helped me structure my training, and also helped pace me in a marathon.
    When I got mine (basic Polar A3 model) I realised that I was running all my runs at the same low intensity, meaning I had good endurance and running economy at slow speeds, but rarely ran anaerobically. I used it for my marathon training, and to help pace me in my first marathon which was great.
    The downside possibly, is that it doesn't help you develop pace judgement.
    In a nutshell, if you're going to use one be clear what you're going to use it for, and most important, work out your personal true maximum heart rate, rather than relying on the age formulas. Most HRM's work out the % on the basis of the date of birth you programme in at the start so if yours turns out to be different (and most people's do) you either need to use the absolute numbers or set up a fictitious birth date.
  • Why are people going crazy on buying heart rate monitors?
    All this gadgetry is taking the fun out running. I don't use one, but I still manage to train effectively.
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